In October 2021, TennGreen Land Conservancy and Circling Cranes Community Land Trust (CCCLT) completed a conservation easement on 81 acres of land north of Cookeville, Tennessee. This collaborative success ensures permanent protection of the property’s forest and creeks and enables CCCLT to pursue its vision of passive communal living using ethical farming and forestry practices.
Located on a peninsular ridge, Circling Cranes is a unique and diverse outdoor haven. The land contains lush forest surrounding an open pasture, Dave’s Falls—a waterfall surrounded by folklore, and approximately a half of a mile of Pole Bridge Branch which flows to Spring Creek State Scenic River. Spring Creek is a designated Class I Natural River Area, meaning it’s free-flowing, unpolluted, and includes scenic vistas mostly inaccessible except by trail.
Showcasing an impressive diversity of fish and wildlife, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation recognizes the particular section of Spring Creek that Pole Bridge Branch flows to as “Exceptional Waters of Tennessee.” Protection of the Circling Cranes property is essential to ensure that the area’s waters remain clean and its views stay picturesque for generations to come.
Four rare species have been documented within five miles of the Circling Cranes property, including butternut (Juglans cinerea), smoky shrew (Sorex fumeus), Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister), and ashy darter (Etheostoma cinereum).
This conservation easement allows CCCLT to pursue its vision of coexisting with the land while farming and managing its forests, per Menominee tribal ethics. Additionally, the easement limits threats to the natural environment, such as excessive development, clear-cutting, and intentional introduction of invasive and pest plants. The easement will remain with the land forever, so TennGreen staff will visit the property each year to ensure the agreement’s terms are upheld.
The protection of Circling Cranes expands TennGreen’s conservation footprint in Jackson County, which, as of 2021, includes the following successes:
- Hidden Springs conservation easement (adjacent to Circling Cranes)
- Spring Creek Cabin conservation easement
- Blackburn Fork Wildlife Management Area conservation easement
- Cummins Falls acquisition and establishment as a State Park
If you’re interested in conserving your land for future generations, trust TennGreen’s proven environmental stewards to guide you through your options. To learn more about conservation easements, click here.