Doe Mountain Deal Done

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the Nature Conservancy say they expect an $8.8 million purchase of undeveloped property in Johnson County to be a boost to tourism and create jobs.
The state and the conservation organization announced Thursday that they have acquired the 8,600-acre Doe Mountain, just southwest of Mountain City.
Doe Mountain, which contains miles of existing roads and trails, is one of the largest remaining blocks of forest in private ownership in the Southern Blue Ridge region. It will be open to the public.
“Doe Mountain offers a great opportunity for outdoor recreation and the benefits that come with opening up space for people to enjoy, such as healthier communities and new jobs from tourism,” Haslam said in a news release. “I’m pleased we as a state could contribute to this lasting legacy for all Tennesseans.”
Gina Hancock, director of the Tennessee chapter of the Nature Conservancy, told The Associated Press that the property is a failed development project that fell into bankruptcy about five years ago.
She said her organization has been working with the state for about a year to acquire the property, which she expects to help tourism regionally.
“The goal is to … work with North Carolina and Virginia on kind of having a triangle for visitation,” Hancock said.
Portions of Doe Mountain are expected to allow outdoor recreation such as mountain biking, horseback riding and scenic touring by all-terrain vehicles, officials said.

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