The Tennessee River Gorge Trust, The Land Trust for Tennessee, The Conservation Fund, Harvey Cameron and The Southeastern Climbers Coalition announced April 4, that Castle Rock, Marion County’s most iconic view, and renowned rock climbing venue, will be protected and accessible for generations to come.
The Land Trust for Tennessee holds a conservation easement on the 30-acre, Castle Rock property that will protect it in perpetuity while allowing access for recreational use. Through a lease agreement with the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, The Southeastern Climbers Coalition will continue to manage the property for rock climbing enthusiasts and other recreational needs, which they have done since 2005.
Castle Rock sits atop the Cumberland Plateau in Marion County. The forested property contains nearly a half mile of bluff line, clearly visible from the valley below, which is popular among local and travelling rock climbers. The south-facing sandstone turret forming the bluff offers breathtaking views of the scenic Sequatchie Valley.
The Castle Rock property was previously jointly owned by Harvey Cameron, an attorney from Jasper, and the late Bud (Sam) Werner, an honored veteran and conservationist. Werner’s ownership was bequeathed to The Conservation Fund, a national organization dedicated to creating land and water protection strategies that balance environmental stewardship with economic vitality; and together the Fund and Cameron donated Castle Rock to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust.
“My wife, Emily, and I are very pleased this pristine area is protected in perpetuity, allowing the preservation of one of the most scenic views in this area,” says Harvey Cameron, donor of a portion of the Castle Rock acreage. “Through the efforts of The Tennessee River Gorge Trust and the teamwork of others the project has been successfully completed allowing Castle Rock to remain in its natural and beautiful state for which my wife and I are very appreciative.”
Thanks to the hard work of The Southeastern Climbers Coalition, Castle Rock, portions of which rise up to 120 feet, are now marked and equipped with nearly 100 sport and traditional climbing routes. The crag is known for having one of the hardest routes in Tennessee (Apes on Acid 5.13d) offering a challenge to even advanced climbers.
Joel Houser, Southeast Regional Director for The Land Trust for Tennessee said, “Castle Rock provides a shining example of how conservation organizations can come together to protect our unique landscape, ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy the land that we do.”
Rick Huffines, Executive Director of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, “The Tennessee River Gorge Trust is proud to collaborate with a dedicated team of conservationists who have worked hard to conserve this iconic Tennessee landscape feature in Marion County for generations.”