Swan Conservation Trust has targeted its primary focus to span a six-county region: Lewis, Lawrence, Hickman, Maury, Perry, and Wayne counties. However, it will help protect forest land anywhere on the Western Highland Rim of Tennessee through educational outings engineered to bring greater awareness and attention to the ecosystems of the region.
The Big Swan Headwaters Preserve is part of a much larger and relatively undeveloped area, about 10,000 acres with no paved roads, near Summertown. The numerous headwater streams, seeps, and springs of Big Swan Creek and Big Bigby Creek arise in this land. Three springs contribute to Mt. Pleasant’s water supply, and the remaining forest is an important recharge area for groundwater, replenishing the wells of the Summertown Utility District and all the private wells in the area.
In the 1930’s, this forest was slated to become Maury State Forest, according to the Scenic Resources of the Tennessee Valley (TVA, 1938). However, funds allocated by the State legislature were diverted by World War II, and for many years much of this forest has been in the hands of large timber companies.
With the liquidation of the Weyerhaeuser holdings in 2004, much this forest has been subdivided and logged to assist the new owners in paying for their land acquisitions.
The Big Swan Headwaters Preserve is one part of a patchwork of protected lands in the Big Swan and Big Bigby watersheds. About 1000 acres have been set-aside as wildlife habitat by The Farm Community and are connected to one end of the Preserve. Other protected lands in the vicinity include Swan Trust’s 100-acre Highland Woods Preserve; a 23-acre tract owned by Julia James and protected by conservation easement and the 92-acre Stillhouse Hollow Falls property.
Like pieces of a puzzle falling into place, little by little, we can counteract the deforestation of our planet by “thinking globally and acting locally.” You can help us by becoming a member of Swan Trust today. Your donations go directly to the monthly payments that are allowing us to establish the Big Swan Headwaters Preserve.