Protecting Denny Cove

In 2011, local climbers excited by the quality and quantity of Denny Cove’s cliff line contacted the Access Fund and Southeastern Climbers Coalition. These organizations were joined by the South Cumberland State Park, The Land Trust for Tennessee and The Conservation Fund in a multiyear, multiparty effort to purchase the property from a private timber owner for permanent protection and climbing access. The Fund provided timely bridge financing to the Southern Climbers Coalition to enable the acquisition of the property. The land, which was at risk of development, is now protected and open to climbing—a resounding win for climbers and wildlife alike.  

"It took all of our organizations coming together to protect Denny Cove. It's a testament of what climbers can do when we team up with the state and other like-minded conservation groups."

                                                        —Cody Roney, Executive Director, Southeastern Climbers Coalition 

Why This Project Matters

In addition to being one of the Deep South’s largest new climbing areas, the 685-acre wildlife haven will eventually offer hiking trails to scenic overlooks, a three-mile trail to a 70-foot waterfall and primitive campsites. At least 20 rare plants and animal species have been documented in the Denny Cove area.

This conservation effort preserves scenic views, water quality and critical plant and wildlife habitat, and builds on the work that has been already done in the Fiery Gizzard area. The Fund has assisted with the protection of more than 6,200 acres in one of the most intact, biologically diverse natural landscapes remaining in the eastern United States. In addition, the area is considered “climate resilient,” meaning that it has the ability to provide diverse wildlife habitat in the face of an uncertain climate. 

Enjoy this short film on the Denny Cove acquisition:

“This is an enduring place that truly merits permanent protection, given its remarkable role as a haven for wildlife under a changing climate.”

                                                        —Peter Howell, Executive Vice President, Open Spaces Institute

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