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Land Between the Lakes:  Grassroots Protectors







Deprived of their homes, the Between the Rivers people and their descendents became the land's advocates.  They eventually forced TVA to turn over the land to the Forest Service, creating the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.  However, mismanagement of the land began immediately, with heavy logging and an ill-advised "oak-grassland restoration" project, which infamously become known as "the 8600", after the number of acres of logged and burned scrublands that have produced nothing resembling an oak-grassland.  

Locals began to organize to bring reform to the LBL, bringing together Between the Rivers natives, hunters, conservationists, and the full support of many county and state officials.  A day of a "Tour of the 8600" brought hundreds of citizens to the LBL to see the true effects of mismanagement.  Eventually, with the support of Senators Paul and McConnell, the Forest Service began a multi-year moritorium on its timber program to get a fresh start.















On the Tennessee-Kentucky border lies a peninsula that was called the Land Between the Rivers.  The community had lived there since the end of the Revolutionary War and had maintained a strong connection to the land.  Its 50,000 acre commons served as the source for the replenishing of game animals in the 1930's, as it was one of the few places in the region that had not depleted itself of wildlife.  In the 1960's, however, the entire community, consisting of thousands of families, was forceably removed by the federal government.  Coinciding with TVA's (Tennessee Valley Authority) creation of Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, a mixture of government officials and land speculators used the power of immenant domain to claim the entire peninsula, with the eventual goal of selling it off for waterfront develpment.

"The 8600"   hundreds of logged briars and scrub 

Caravan protest at the LBL

Since then, local LBL activists continue their advocacy for the forest, with the most recent accomplishment being a successful passage of amendements to the LBL Protection Act in Congress.  From the courts, to Congress, to the court of public opinion, citizen groups have been among our National Forest system's most important protectors.  

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