In 2016 The Conservation Fund and The Land Trust of Tennessee, in partnership with the State of Tennessee, helped protect 4,061 acres of forestland in the South Cumberland region. This scenic landscape features more than eight miles of streams in the Crow Creek Valley and important habitat for the threatened snail and other rare and vulnerable species such as Morefield’s leather flower.

Funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, leveraged significant public and private funding from the Tennessee State Lands Acquisition Fund, the Open Space Institute’s Resilient Landscapes Initiative and South Cumberland Landscape Fund, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.

Supporting The Local Economy

In early 2016, The Conservation Fund, with transactional support from The Land Trust for Tennessee, purchased 3,893 acres from a private mining company, which retained the rights to mine limestone underneath the property for the next 50 years. This allowed the company to continue operations and maintain local mining jobs. In agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the company donated an additional 168 acres to mitigate for impacts to the painted snake coiled forest snail habitat.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry will manage a portion of Sherwood Forest as part of Franklin State Forest, expanding hunting access. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will manage the rest as part of Carter State Natural Area and South Cumberland State Park, adding hiking and other recreational access. 


“Nowadays, conservation cannot be an either-or choice. This private-public partnership demonstrates how we can work together to find solutions that protect the environment and natural resources, while supporting local economies and jobs.” 

Ralph Knoll, Tennessee Representative, The Conservation Fund

Why This Project Matters

The permanent protection of Sherwood Forest, one of Tennessee’s most diverse and important lands, is a major milestone for the conservation community. Because of this effort was made possible by the cooperation of many public and private partners, future generations will be able to enjoy recreational activities, witness a habitat for rare and endangered species, connect to wildlife and learn about climate resiliency.  In addition, the protection of Sherwood Forest will bring economic benefits to local communities and protect drinking water quality for the downstream community of Sherwood.

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