Group Wants To Protect 25,000 Acres Around Smokies

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A nonprofit group that has been working for more than two decades to protect land from development near the Great Smoky Mountains has a special goal for its 25th anniversary.

The Foothills Land Conservancy wants its preservation total to reach 25,000 acres by the time the organization celebrates its first quarter century in 2010.

The "25 in 25" initiative will require the group to add about 8,000 acres to the 17,000 acres it has already preserved.

Over the years, the conservancy has acquired more than 10,000 acres outright in several East Tennessee counties, then turned them over to the state and federal governments to manage for public use. That includes the 4,500-acre Foothills Wildlife Management Area near Chilhowee Lake bordering the Smokies national park.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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