KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Governor Bredesen calls it the largest land conservation initiative in Tennessee since the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was dedicated in 1940.
The state has completed a complex land deal that will preserve for public use 127,000 acres on the northern Cumberland Plateau in Morgan, Scott, Anderson and Campbell counties.
The $135 million package was financed with $82 million from the state, $13 million from the Nature Conservancy environmental group and $40 million from two forest investment companies interested in conservation.
The package connects and adds to Frozen Head State Natural Area and the Sundquist Wildlife Management Area through acquired parcels, timber rights and conservation easements.
The area is twice the size of Knoxville and considered one of the most biologically rich regions in the world. It is home to rare birds and other wildlife. Elk have been reintroduced nearby.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)