Although this article is not directly associated with Civil War battlefield preservation, the program discussed could potentially be used to aid battlefield preservation.
Mansfield, Duncan. “Farmer is first in Tennessee to use preservation program.” Tennessean.Com, September 9, 2004. http://www.tennessean.com/local/arch...nt_ID=57250551 (accessed 9 September 2004).
From The Tennessean:
Farmer is first in Tennessee to use preservation program
By DUNCAN MANSFIELD
KNOXVILLE — Dairyman Earl Cruze yesterday became the first farmer in Tennessee to use a new federal program to ensure the preservation of his farmland forever.
''Well, see, I grew up on a dairy farm, which is now part of an industrial park,'' Cruze said. ''It is kind of lonesome to lose where you grew up. It really is.''
The 61-year-old's boyhood home was flattened to make way for Knox County's Forks of the River industrial park. To make sure his three children don't suffer a similar loss, Cruze signed over the development rights to his 425-acre farm along the French Broad River.
Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program will reimburse Cruze for half of the property's value — about $900,000. Through a land sale, Knox County will provide another $450,000.
The nonprofit Land Trust for Tennessee, which has been able to preserve about 6,000 scenic and historic acres mostly in Middle and West Tennessee since its creation in 1999, will hold the conservation easement on the Cruze farm.
''They will still own their farm. They will still work their farm. They will be able to pass their farm on to their wonderful daughters. They will even be able to sell it if they want,'' said Byron Trauger, chairman of the Land Trust for Tennessee.
''But because of the conservation easement that we celebrate today, they will know that this land forever will look much like it looks today. Forever.''
State and local officials say it could be only the beginning.
''We hope this will be a landmark decision where other landowners would take advantage of the program,'' said state conservationist James Ford.
According to a 1997 National Resources Inventory, Tennessee is losing prime agricultural land to urban development faster than most states. There are about 6 million acres of farmland in Tennessee. About 124,000 acres were lost to urban sprawl from 1992 to 1997.
The Cruze farm and its 6,000 feet of waterfront is on a bend in the middle of a 15-mile French Broad River corridor running from Douglas Dam to the confluence with the Holston River at Knoxville, forming the Tennessee River.
Two upscale residential developments have popped up along the corridor in recent years. But so have a 400-acre Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge and a 600-acre Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.
''There are some areas where we need to have logical, planned development. Other parts of our community, we need to make very certain that they stay in their natural pristine condition,'' Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale said. ''This project moves us a step toward doing that.''
''I just enjoy farming a lot and I would rather see it as a farm (than) as an industrial park,'' Cruze said. ''Once you develop anything, it is gone forever. It's hardly ever you see them tear down factories and start back farming.''
''It is very exciting,'' said Cruze's daughter, Colleen, 17. ''All three of us (her sister Frances and brother Glenn) want to keep farming it.''