Red sunset reflecting on Doe Mountain TN
The valley formed by the Watauga River was known for hundreds of years by the local Native Americans for its fertile soil and clear abundant water sources. Legend has it when Daniel Boone stopped in this fertile valley he shot a doe for food and so named the valley Doe Valley and the creek where he quenched his thirst became Doe Creek. Today it still provides water and fishing for the local inhabitants.
Reaching over 3000′ high on one side of the Watauga River was a mountain soon to be known as Doe Mountain. For many years this 8600 acre mountain was used as a wildlife management area as well as a place for the local hunters of Johnson County to hunt deer, turkey, and bear. In about 2006 it was sold to a developer who planned to turn it into high end homes on secluded lots, build a large 20 acre pond for fishing and there was even talk about making a golf course on the mountain.
Then the recession arrived and the market fell out for second homes, especially high end ones and the developer went bankrupt. Rumor had it that he had turned down $35M for the property a few months before the bottom dropped out. Oops!
There the mountain sat. Not bringing any tax income to the county which could have used it, not being used for hunting, hiking or anything else due to insurance concerns, just sitting there waiting for someone to buy it from the bank. Along came a timber company which offered the bank $1.5M with the intention of clear cutting the mountain. ARGH!
Although this is a protected quarry, this is what the mountain might look like once all the trees were cut down and the stumps removed.
Luckily our county Mayor, Larry Potter, was not going to let this happen to an important natural resource right in the center of the county.
And so he began to search for funding to purchase the mountain and save it from destruction. Soon the Nature Conservancy became involved and agreed to purchase the mountain with the stipulation that the State of Tennessee would purchase the mountain from the Nature Conservancy and create a new entity, a Recreational Area which is not a state park to be run by a Board of Directors.
After many hours of hard work by many diverse groups of citizens working together, the mountain was saved. Now it is well on its way to becoming an area for outdoor enthusiasts from hiking to ATV riders; from mountain bikers to horseback riders; from recreational bike riders to walkers in a rehabilitation program.
Hard work by a dedicated group of volunteers, grant writers and the working together by a diverse group of people will soon bring the dream of those involved to reality. This beautiful mountain has been saved for many future generations.
Come, share the magic of the mountain with us. In every season a reason to visit Northeastern Tennessee.
Thank you volunteers!