The need for a regional land conservation initiative began when Appalachian RC&D Council members working in Northeast Tennessee started to notice the accelerating disappearance of farmland in the area, and the desire for many residents to take action and protect their family landholdings before it was sold and developed. The Tennessee Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy had been active in the region for many years, but had specific missions that focused on conservation of the high mountain areas and unique and imperiled ecosystems. There was no organization working to protect the family farm.
The Appalachian RC&D Council approached the Land Trust for Tennessee to create a satellite office in Northeast Tennessee to serve land owners in Northeast Tennessee to address to disappearance of farmland and open spaces in the region. In the partnership agreement, The ARC&D staff would work on the ground with landowners and communities and raise their own operating costs, while Land Trust for Tennessee would provide the technical and legal expertise needed to complete conservation easement agreements.
The Lands of Boone and Crockett program provides landowners options for voluntary protection of farmland, open space, and natural areas in Northeast Tennessee. The program seeks to educate landowners and communities about their options for permanent farmland and open space conservation before irreversible changes occur. Our goal is to work with these communities to keep their lands in private ownership and on the tax rolls while preserving the rural character that makes this region special.