Nature Conservancy Acquires Key Obed River Property

Purchase of Lilly Bluff’s view protects scenic river from development.

Nashville, TN | January 31, 2014

The Nature Conservancy has purchased 63 acres of cliff-top lands protecting an iconic Obed River view. The acquisition preserves the broad bluff that can be seen directly across from the National Park Service’s popular Lilly Bluff Overlook platform. The property also borders protected National Park Service lands along the Obed Wild and Scenic River corridor.

Just as importantly, the purchase safeguards a natural buffer and cliff-line above the pristine waters of Clear Creek and the Obed River as well as the rare plants and animals that live in the vicinity. Rare aquatic animals in these waters include the spotfin chub (a fish) and the purple bean (a mussel). Rare plants include large-flowered Barbara’s buttons and Eggert’s sunflower.

The $175,000 acquisition was made possible by a Nature Conservancy donor who has requested to remain anonymous. The newly acquired property is located directly above the Conservancy’s 73-acre Clear Creek Preserve and is also adjacent to protected land owned by Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning.

Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning (TCWP) volunteers and members played an instrumental role in the Conservancy's acquisition by alerting the Conservancy to the property's threatened status. “TCWP is excited to be able to assist in protecting the Lilly Bluff viewshed,” said Jimmy Groton, president of TCWP. “It is a precious treasure. We were lucky to connect some very generous donors with The Nature Conservancy, and they were able to work out a satisfactory arrangement with the owners.”

The National Park Service also owns property in the scenic river corridor both upstream and downstream from the Conservancy’s newly owned land.

“This important acquisition by The Nature Conservancy forever preserves the beautiful view of the bluff across from the National Park Service’s Lilly Bluff Overlook platform,” said Niki Nicholas, superintendent of the National Park Service’s Obed Wild & Scenic River and Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. “We at the Park Service are grateful, and I know our thousands of Obed Wild & Scenic River visitors will be too.”

“We are thrilled to be able to conserve this key tract in the Obed River area,” said Gina Hancock, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. “We could not have done this without the extraordinary generosity of our anonymous donor, who came forward right before the holidays to arrange the tax-deductible donation. We are very grateful for their timely gift.

“This acquisition will join our other preserves in this area to keep the Obed Wild and Scenic River landscape truly rugged and beautiful for people and nature. The National Park Service has done wonderful work in protecting these lands and waters for the public, and we are honored to help them in their efforts with this purchase.”

The Nature Conservancy’s Clear Creek Preserve has long been popular with expert rock climbers known as “sport climbers.” These newly acquired acres on the cliff-top above the Clear Creek Preserve will safeguard the wild and rugged character of this popular climbing destination.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Paul Kingsbury
Communications Manager
21021 21st Avenue South
Suite C-400
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 383-9909
(615) 383-9717

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