DOE and TWRA sign pact that will lead to the transfer of 3,500 acres to the state

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has signed a tentative agreement with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) that lays the groundwork for the transfer of more than 3,500 acres of scenic eastern Tennessee land to the state .

“The transfer of these federally owned lands will increase natural resource management and designate green space and mixed-use recreation opportunities for the public,” an official press release from the DOE said.

“The conservation of this essential piece of the East Tennessee landscape is vitally important. I am grateful for the partnership between the Department of Energy and TWRA that will make this possible, ”Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said in the statement.

“This agreement will cultivate collaboration and support the long-term vision of creating an asset for the community and the region,” the statement said.

“The East Tennessee region is unique and we are excited to be working with the DOE on these transfers of ownership that will allow us to expand our services in the region,” said Bobby Wilson, Executive Director of TWRA, in the press release. “We will be able to increase recreational opportunities, prioritize wildlife habitat management, and introduce new programs that will benefit both the community and the environment.” “

The DOE and TWRA will complete the transfer process under federal law, which requires regulatory approvals and typically takes one to three years.

“This partnership between DOE and TWRA is a great opportunity for the two organizations to act together in the preservation of areas of the Oak Ridge Reservation,” said Johnny Moore, director of the DOE ORNL site office. “We are delighted to be part of an effort to expand access to the exceptional natural assets we possess.

Once completed, the community will benefit from better connectivity to the region’s abundant natural assets. The ultimate vision is to provide open spaces where residents and visitors can experience and enjoy nature. The terrain of these areas offers many opportunities for fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing.

“This is an exciting step forward in our efforts to transfer land that can be reused and that benefits the community,” said Laura Wilkerson, Acting Director of DOE’s Oak Ridge Environmental Management Office. . “Our program has always focused on advancing conservation and sustainability, so finding new and diverse opportunities to connect people to the environment is a great achievement. I would like to thank our entrepreneurial partner, UCOR, for their incredible support and contribution to making this agreement a reality.

The statement said the deal is part of a larger effort by the Oak Ridge EM office of the DOE and its cleaning contractor UCOR to transform the East Tennessee Technology Park into a multi-purpose industrial park for the community. To date, the DOE has transferred nearly 1,300 acres to attract new economic development, built facilities that share the site’s unique history, and set aside thousands of acres for conservation. The latter will be under the supervision of TWRA through these future transfers.

The DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation is located on approximately 32,000 acres. It sits in the Great Appalachian Valley of eastern Tennessee, between the Cumberland and Great Smoky Mountains, and is bordered by the Clinch River which eventually joins the Tennessee River. Since the 1940s, the site has played a vital role in energy, technology and defense missions around the world.

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