An area near Dog Cove and Fall Creek Falls State Park will now be under state protection.
TDEC and the State Land Trust added the Beecher Wallace Homestead to the state park system Wednesday.
Stuart Carroll is a park manager who oversees Lost Creek, Dog Cove, and Virgin Falls State Natural area. He said the new addition will benefit the entire area historically and environmentally.
“We are hoping that area will become a window into that late 1800’s period of White County history and I think between the natural beauty and the history it will have an impact,” Carroll said. “A lot of the areas down there are in open fields and we are going to manage those fields to bring back some of the biodiversity.”
Carroll said the state plans to look at birds, butterflies, and flowers that are naturally found in the area.
The historic homestead lies approximately 20 miles north of Fall Creek Falls State Park and will be managed by park staff and open to the public.
“First off, we have to bring a few aspects of the home up to code,” Carroll said. “At that point, we are going to open it up and want people to come in and visit it. We may even rent it out for the weekend.”
Carroll said there’s about six or seven miles of trail surrounding the home, which will provide hiking opportunities to visitors.
The property adjoins 750 acres acquired by the state in recent years with the assistance of The Land Trust, Open Space Institute and Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.
This conservationis now part of a network of protected lands across the Plateau, including Fall Creek Falls State Park, Lost Creek State Natural Area, Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Bledsoe State Forest, and Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness Wildlife Management Area. Adjoining those are the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain and Latimer High Adventure Reservation. All together this corridor accounts for roughly 60,000 contiguous acres of significant protected forested habitat.