Conservation easements protect 800 acres near Smokies

Posted on March 29, 2005

TOWNSEND — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and several neighbors have donated conservation easements protecting 800 acres adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Foothills Land Conservancy said Wednesday. Together with easements for 773 acres donated in 2002 by some of the same families, some 2 1/2 miles of park boundary in Blount County and the principal view of the Smokies from the Foothills Parkway will be protected from development, said Randy Brown, conservancy executive director. "Open space and good clear views of the Smokies are rapidly disappearing," Alexander said. "It is our hope that others who live in Blount County and the foothills of the Smokies will contribute easements protecting their land. "Contributors still own the land," the Tennessee Republican said, "but the landscape and the views are protected forever for everyone to enjoy." Among the dozen donors joining Alexander were Saks Inc. chairman and CEO Brad Martin, Ruby Tuesday Inc. chairman and CEO Sandy Beall and his mountain resort Blackberry Farm, and Dee and Crissy Haslam, the wives of Pilot Travel Centers president Jimmy Haslam and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, respectively. The easements in the West Millers Cove area will be held by the land conservancy, a nonprofit group headquartered in Maryville that has protected 14,949 acres in East Tennessee, including 4,376 acres in conservation easements. Copyright 2005, Associated Press. All rights reserved.