Jan. 23, 2019 – The Beecher Wallace Homestead in the Dog Cove area near Fall Creek Falls State Park has been added to Tennessee’s public lands, announced today by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and The Land Trust for Tennessee.
The historic homestead, which lies approximately 20 miles north of Fall Creek Falls State Park, will be managed by park staff and open to the public. The 4.8-acre homestead will serve as a connection point for visitors to the Cumberland Plateau, which features nearby recreational areas including Lost Creek and Virgin Falls State Natural Areas.
“This will be a valuable addition that has natural and historical value,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill.
The homestead addition is located on the southern end of Dog Cove and features a barn, sheds, and a farmhouse originally constructed in the late 1800s. Tennessee State Parks will protect the integrity of the home to help interpret the area’s history to visitors, Hill said.
“Here you’ll find caves, sinks, seeps, creeks, and bluffs that all provide tremendous scenic and biological diversity,” said Park Manager Stuart Carroll, who also oversees the Lost Creek and Virgin Falls State Natural Areas. “This homestead will give visitors a glimpse into the pioneer life of the late 1800s.”
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.
“Dog Cove is a magical place,” said Liz McLaurin, president and CEO of The Land Trust. “The conservation of this swath of land is an example of the way, over time, land trusts and partners can build relationships that stitch together special places for the enjoyment of Tennesseans and visitors now and forever.”
Dog Cove is a day-use area with eight miles of trails known for its creeks. A large portion of Dog Cove was privately owned by descendants of the Wallace family for more than 100 years. Members of the family worked with the state and The Land Trust to make the land accessible to the public and bring it under state protection.
“This place has meant a lot to my family for generations,” said former landowner Tom Lee. “We are grateful to know others will have the opportunity to enjoy it and that it will always be cared for.”
This conservation success is now part of a network of protected lands across the Cumberland 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.
Altogether, this corridor accounts for roughly 60,000 contiguous acres of significant forest lands under the protection of the state.
Photos by Chuck Sutherland.