North Chickamauga Creek headwaters protected

Authored By Staff Report

North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy and W. A. Bryan Patten have finalized a significant land deal on Walden’s Ridge, Tenn., that will protect nearly six miles of frontage along North Chickamauga Creek and provide a prime corridor for extension of the Cumberland Trail.

The agreement between NCCC and Patten allows for immediate transfer of ownership to the state of Tennessee, and the parcel encompassing 194 acres will be managed by the State Parks Division of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Gregory Vickrey, director of NCCC, said, “Working with Mr. Patten over the last year on this project has been an absolute joy. From the outset, we shared common goals and aspirations for the property along North Chickamauga Creek, and thanks to Bryan’s vision and determination to protect this corridor, we have finally managed all the details to make it a reality.”

Beginning at the headwaters of North Chickamauga Creek where Standifer and Brimer creeks join together near Old Anderson Pike on Walden’s Ridge, the corridor weaves through six miles of extraordinary gorge terrain with massive hemlock, stunning rock formations and scutteleria montana-an endangered species. The corridor itself is 200 feet wide or more throughout the entire length and includes a large spread of acreage near Old Anderson Pike ideally suited for trailhead parking and potential camping.

Patten said, “A substantial portion of the waterfront land and the entirety of the trailhead acreage involved it this transaction was acquired by my father, Z. Cartter Patten Jr., a noted conservationist. The establishment of this extension of the Cumberland Trail is entirely consistent with his devotion to the beauty of the streams and ridges of ‘The Horseshoe,’ as he referred to his land holding on Walden’s Ridge.”

Features of the property include four superior lookout points high above the creek, an uncatalogued number of waterfalls, and a spectacular gorge view at Raven Point, just north of Seed Tick Branch. North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy intends to inventory the entire six-mile corridor this summer as part of a broader comprehensive effort to catalogue the entire watershed.

“My father would be greatly pleased with this conveyance of land to the state of Tennessee and even more pleased when the trail and trailhead become a reality, opening this beautiful land to hikers and campers of all walks of life,” Patten said.