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Molpus deal helps extend Trail

JACKSON — The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced that it is helping the State of Tennessee extend the Cumberland Trail corridor another 19 miles, while protecting priority land for the public with the purchase of a key tract in the trail’s development.

TPL bought 1,388 acres in Claiborne and Campbell counties from a client of The Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC, of Jackson. It includes a ridgeline overlooking the scenic Powell Valley and property running 200 feet north of the ridge along the trail route, said Rick Wood, director of TPL’s Chattanooga office. The route also protects McLean Rock, a natural landmark where the founding of the Cumberland Trail was announced in 1965.

TPL purchased the property for $2.08 million. The state will purchase the land from TPL. The state’s participation in the purchase was funded in 2003, using money from the stateside funding pot of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the State Lands Acquisition Fund and the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Dick Molpus, president of Molpus Woodlands Group, said, “We are pleased to have closed another transaction with The Trust for Public Land involving the Cumberland Gap region. It is gratifying to see the preservation of such an important conservation and recreational use area while balancing working forest and client investment objectives. This transaction ensures that a significant part of the Cumberland Trail will be enjoyed by generations to come.”

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