Dixson Acquisition adds 1000+ acres to the Fiery Gizzard area of the Park
The Dixson Tract fills in a key piece of the "park puzzle" in the lower Fiery Gizzard Basin, adding over 1,000 acres to South Cumberland State Park.
South Cumberland State Park continues to grow at a remarkable pace, as the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced the addition of 1,058 acres to the park in the Fiery Gizzard in mid-April. The acquisition from Dr. George and Ruby Dixson fills in a key piece of the “jigsaw puzzle” in the southern portion of the Fiery Gizzard gorge, conserves forestland and cove habitat, and will protect an additional segment of the Fiery Gizzard trail.
The newly acquired land is adjacent to the Fiery Gizzard trail, which has been ranked as one of the top 25 backpacking trails in the United States by Backpacker Magazine. Nearly 700,000 visitors enjoy South Cumberland State Park annually, with many attracted to the 12-mile Fiery Gizzard Trail. However, many large sections of the trail and surrounding bluffs remain in private ownership.
As part of the announcement TDEC plans to relocate a nearby portion of the trail that is on private land to the newly acquired land. “As quickly as our rangers and Friends volunteers can complete the Denny Falls trail at nearby Denny Cove, we’ll move over to the Dixson Tract and begin relocating the adjacent portion of the Fiery Gizzard trail onto this new park land,” said South Cumberland State Park Manager George Shinn. “We continue to be able to do amazing things in this rapidly-changing park because of the dedicated support of the Friends of South Cumberland.”
The Conservation Fund, with transactional support from The Land Trust for Tennessee, purchased the 1,058 acres from the Dixsons in late 2016. The State of Tennessee, in turn, acquired the land from the Conservation Fund in April. The acquisition now puts South Cumberland State Park
The Dixson acquisition continues the State’s recent efforts to conserve land in the Fiery Gizzard basin. In March 2017, South Cumberland State Park celebrated the dedication of Denny Cove, a 685-acre climbing destination just a quarter mile from the newly acquired tract.