Historic transfer of Chestnut Mountain is celebrated
by Kim Swindell Wood | July 5, 2018 5:32 am
Bridgestone Americas leadership and The Nature Conservancy staff and board gathered with Denny Wayne Robinson, county executive for White County; Chris Dorsey, city manager of Sparta; and Marvin Bullock, president of the Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the recent transfer of Bridgestone’s ownership and title of 5,763 acres of the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain property. The historic transfer is the largest land donation in the history of The Nature Conservancy, in Tennessee.
Bridgestone’s gift will protect and enhance biologically significant habitat for a range of endangered plant and animal species, and will provide connectivity to adjoining protected forests, including the 10,000-acre Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness previously gifted by Bridgestone Americas to the state of Tennessee. Protecting this property also maximizes the potential for mitigating climate change through the land’s ability to capture carbon into the future. The 5,763 acres are so robust that even a portion will be sufficient remove the carbon dioxide from the air to offset the carbon footprint of the Bridgestone Tower, the company’s corporate headquarters in downtown Nashville, for years to come.
“At Bridgestone, we’re pleased to help make our communities stronger, particularly in the state we call home,” said Christine Karbowiak, chief administrative officer and executive vice president for Bridgestone Americas. “Today recognizes and celebrates an important milestone, not only for the state of Tennessee, but for our company as our commitment to ensuring a healthy environment for future generations comes to life. Today’s celebration is the culmination of hard work from many people and organizations, and we are proud to have a partner in The Nature Conservancy as it manages this important land moving forward.”
The reserve’s most notable natural feature, Chestnut Mountain, is the highest peak in White County, with an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet. The acreage includes Billy Branch Lake, mixed hardwood and pine forests, wooded mountain bluffs, as well as various caves and streams. The area is home to rare species, such as the golden eagle, Eastern slender glass lizard, and barking tree frog, along with rare plants, including the Cumberland Rosemary and Michigan Lily. The area is also a known habitat for wild turkey, quail, deer, bobcat, red and gray foxes, timber rattlesnake, and beaver. These elements combine to make Chestnut Mountain a very high conservation priority.
“We applaud Bridgestone for its commitment to the environment,” said Terry Cook, state director for The Nature Conservancy, in Tennessee. “We are honored that it has entrusted The Nature Conservancy to manage this important forest. Bridgestone is setting an example for how local, regional and national corporations can proactively protect the planet in collaboration with the environmental community. The Nature Conservancy intends to make the Bridgestone Nature Reserve accessible to the local community and the general public once we have completed a master plan for public access.”