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Blythe Ferry

History and habitat abound at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge, making it a key area for conservation in Southeast Tennessee.  The Land Trust for Tennessee and The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) successfully partnered to purchase 68 acres of critical wildlife habitat located adjoining the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge near the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers in 2012.

Blythe Ferry – Hiwassee Corridor

This piece of land and other properties along the Hiwassee River corridor are an essential part of the Sandhill Crane’s natural migration pattern. More than 48,000 of the birds descend on the refuge for up to three months each winter. In addition to the annual the Sandhill Crane Festival, Blythe Ferry was a site for Cherokee camps and major departure point for the Trail of Tears. Proposed development would have threatened the spectacular wildlife special to this region. It also would ruin the historic context for visitors experiencing the land adjoining these 68 acres, including the old wagon road leading to the ferry and to the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park.

Blythe Ferry Birds

From the Ground Level: Conserving Blythe Ferry

The Land Trust for Tennessee often works in partnership with government agencies and partners to save important landscapes. This peaceful stretch of tall grasses was about to become a wastewater treatment facility for a high-density residential development. When the project fell through, The Land Trust for Tennessee spent two years in negotiations to protect the property from development. It is now part of the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Meigs County, which increases the size of the refuge and adds incremental revenue for tourism and recreation.

Through a federal wildlife habitat grant, TWRA committed $250,000 toward the project, and The Land Trust for Tennessee raised the remaining private funds necessary to purchase this land. Generous support poured in from foundations and wildlife enthusiasts across Tennessee and beyond, including a large gift made by an anonymous donor through the International Crane Foundation.