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The Land Trust for Tennessee Secures Addition to Cumberland Trail for Recreation, Habitat, Carbon Storage | Press Release

Property adjacent to the Laurel-Snow State Natural Area now owned by the State of Tennessee

RHEA COUNTY, Tenn. – The Land Trust for Tennessee is pleased to announce the protection of nearly 130 acres in eastern Tennessee adjacent to the Laurel-Snow State Natural Area. The Land Trust assisted the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in acquiring this property. Made possible with support from the Open Space Institute (OSI), the success of this project secures a scenic viewshed from the Cumberland Trail, protects forests for carbon storage, and safeguards habitats for rare plants. The property is not currently accessible to the public.

Photo Credit: Joel Houser, Southeast Field Coordinator, Open Space Institute.

The Crane-Tumlin property, located approximately 35 miles northeast of Chattanooga and 40 miles southwest of Knoxville, is home to undisturbed sandstone glades and pristine forests that attract hikers and rock climbers alike. Acquisition of the land protects the scenic viewshed of the Cumberland Trail to the east and the adjacent Laurel-Snow State Natural Area. The 2,259-acre Laurel-Snow State Natural Area is located on the Walden Ridge of the Cumberland Plateau. Stretching across four states — Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama — the Plateau, one of the longest hardwood forested plateaus in the world, is a biodiversity hotspot with a long history of aggressive deforestation and resource extraction. 

Upon completion, the Cumberland Trail will be an extensive 300+ mile foot path, beginning at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky and stretching south to the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park in Signal Mountain, TN. As outdoor tourism continues to grow into one of the region’s largest industries, this area is poised to become one of high importance. The extra buffer — for both wildlife habitat and recreation enthusiasts — will add to the draw of the region and enhance the recreational experience. 

The Land Trust for Tennessee worked with the property’s conservation-minded seller to ensure their intentions aligned with the State’s long-term goals. The Land Trust secured supplemental funding from OSI to ensure the benefit to the general public and wildlife for future generations. 

The protection of 129.76 acres of the property was funded in part through the Open Space Institute’s Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund. OSI’s Fund supports land protection along the Appalachian Mountain range, an area that is home to the world’s largest broadleaf forest, stores most of the nation’s forest carbon, and provides essential refuge for plants and animals at risk of habitat loss from climate change. The Fund is made possible thanks to major support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Lyndhurst Foundation, Riverview Foundation, Footprint Foundation, and the McKee family from Collegedale, TN. 

Photo Credit: Joel Houser, Southeast Field Coordinator, Open Space Institute.

“The Land Trust for Tennessee was thrilled to work with a willing landowner and key conservation partners to ensure the protection of the Crane-Tumlin property,” said Emily Parish, Vice President of The Land Trust for Tennessee. “Conservation of the property’s mature hardwood forest, native grasslands, and sandstone glades is a success for the Cumberland Trail, Laurel-Snow SNA, and all current and future Tennesseans. We thank our partners at the State for their interest in this opportunity and OSI for their unwavering support of conservation in the Southeast.” 

“The protection of this property is an exciting achievement in the long-term efforts to safeguard the fragile forests of Tennessee against a changing climate,” said Joel Houser, OSI’s Southeast Field Coordinator. “We thank The Land Trust for Tennessee for its outstanding efforts to protect this land, forever.” 


The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands, and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, OSI has been a partner in the protection of more than 2.3 million acres in North America, including 20,000 acres in Tennessee. Visit OSI online at