Nearly 320 acres of forestland protected in Hardin Co. after nonprofits team up

HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — Nearly 320 acres of forestland in Savannah is now protected through a new conservation easement announced by TennGreen Land Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee.

Courtesy: Kristen Hanratty

According to a press release, the easement will protect drinking water quality for nearby communities, as well as safeguard important wildlife habitat and preserve the area’s rural and natural character.

The conserved land is known as “Neill Forest,” and includes impressive forest diversity along with a handful of natural springs, waterfalls and streams.

The release states the land is privately owned, however completion of the conservation easement means the area will remain protected even if ownership changes.

The easement restricts subdivision, development, and unsustainable forestry and agricultural practices, but it does allow for a number of landowner rights including the right to hunt, build trails, construct roads for approved forest management activities, and more.

Courtesy: Kristen Hanratty

“This conservation easement marks our first project in Hardin County, and we hope there will be many more!” said Alice Hudson Pell, TennGreen Land Conservancy’s Executive Director. “This is a purposeful step toward protecting our southern forests and waterways that are so important to us all. We hope more landowners in the area will reach out to discuss what’s possible with a conservation easement. Easements can give landowners lasting peace of mind, and also ensure that their land will enrich people’s lives for generations to come. A win-win!”

“Neill Forest is now permanently protected due to the conservation ethic of the late John M. Neill, who lovingly managed the forest here for decades before donating the property for conservation in his estate,” said Gabby Lynch, Director of Protection for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. “Mr. Neill, who supported The Nature Conservancy as well as other conservation groups during his lifetime, left a legacy in Neill Forest that will benefit the people and nature of Hardin County forever.”

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