Rotary Club Welcomes Tennessee Greenways &
by Bob Augustin Jr.
Steve Walsh, Director of the Tennessee Greenways & Trails Foundation, was the featured speaker at the June 6, 2008 meeting of the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club. The Tennessee Greenways & Trails Foundation was formed in 1998 to conserve Tennessee's natural treasures and link these together with a system of greenways. Walsh explained that the Foundation is a private non-profit organization, not a state agency, that relies on private donations to support its endeavors.
According to the Tennessee Greenways & Trails brochure, the Foundation has conserved more that 7,500 acres and awarded more than 150 small grants to encourage greenways and trails through donations from the private sector. Recently, Governor Phil Bredesen created an additional organization, the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust, to fund and encourage the conservation of greenways. Since 2005, the Trust has invested $10 million per year and, in 2007 alone, awarded grants for the acquisition of 22,500 acres.
Of local interest, the Foundation purchased Stillhouse Hollow Falls just over the Maury County line, right off U.S. Highway 43. The Stillhouse Hollow Falls is located on the west side of Highway 43. According to Walsh, Stillhouse Hollow Falls, which is in the Duck River Watershed area, is the most biologically diverese area in the United States. The Foundation is currently looking to obtain Rattlesnake Falls which is directly across Highway 43 from Stillhouse Hollow Falls.
According to Walsh, the Foundation has purchased many other widerness areas throughout Tennessee. The Bridgestone Corporation donated 10,000 acres and the Foundation purchased an additional 3,000 acres to aquire Virgin Falls, north of Fall Creek Falls. The area includes four waterfalls, two which fall into caves and the other two which fall out of caves.
In East Tennessee, the Grassy Cove side of Brady Mountain was donated to the the Tennessee Greenways & Trails Foundation. Cave art by early American inhabitants was discovered in one of the caves. In Cheatam County, American Indian burial grounds at Mound Bend on the Harpeth River have been conserved and, near Laurel Hill Lake, the foundation received a conservation easement, which prevents any future private development of the land.
Walsh said that if anyone knows of a parcel of land that should be conserved, particularly one with a cave and stream on it, to contact him. Walsh can be contacted on line at email@example.com or by phone at 615-386-3171. Pictured above are, L to R, Rotary Club President Bill Phillips, Steve Walsh, and Rotarian Jane Jennings.