Alabama’s Forever Wild Program purchased the 12,500-acre Alabama section of the property from The Nature Conservancy. It is now known as the Skyline Wildlife Management Area and is open for public access. The protected area encompasses the headwaters of the globally significant Paint Rock River.
In 2006, The Nature Conservancy also transferred the 8,900-acre Tennessee tract to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to be the Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The State Natural Areas Program of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation co-manages 750 acres of the Walls of Jericho and its surrounding creek basin within the Bear Hollow Wildlife Management Area. The Walls of Jericho site is designated as a Tennessee State Natural Area. The entire 8,900-acre area is open for public access.
The Walls of Jericho area was originally owned by the Texas oil magnate Harry Lee Carter, who acquired 60,000 acres in Franklin County, Tenn., and Jackson County, Ala., in the 1940s.
For years, up until 1977 when the Walls of Jericho were closed to the public, the Tennessee property had been open to the public for recreational use and managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Now, this special place is once again open to the public.
The Carter Lands region lies in the heart of the Southern Cumberlands and totals 60,000 acres.
About the Walls of Jericho
The Walls of Jericho tract links large, protected, intact forestlands within the Southern Cumberlands, for a total of more than 50,000 acres of protected lands.
Nearby protected areas include Franklin State Forest, Carter Caves State Natural Area, University of the South at Sewanee, The Nature Conservancy’s David Carter tract, Skyline Wildlife Management Area.
This project protects the headwaters of the Paint Rock River.
Work on this property is a joint effort between the Tennessee and Alabama chapters of The Nature Conservancy and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The Southern Cumberlands and the Paint Rock River
Jackson County, Ala., has the highest concentration of caves of any county in the United States. This area is the epicenter of the rare Tennessee cave salamander.
The upper Paint Rock River watershed, including the Walls of Jericho area, is one of the few intact large functional landscapes remaining in the Southeast.
The Paint Rock River is home to 100 species of fish and about 45 mussel species:
- Five globally imperiled mussels and 12 globally rare mussels are found in the Paint Rock River and its tributaries.
- Two of the mussel species (pale lilliput and Alabama lampshell) are found nowhere else in the world, and one fish species (palezone shiner) is confined to the Paint Rock River and one stream in Kentucky.
- Three globally imperiled fish (sawfin shiner, blotchside logperch and snail darter) occur in the Paint Rock River.
The area provides important habitat for migratory songbirds, such as the cerulean warbler, and for non-migratory birds, such as ruffed grouse.