Contact:  Michael R. Cooper, Molpus Woodlands Group, 601.948.8733, ext. 21 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is helping the state of Tennessee extend the Cumberland Trail corridor another 19 miles, while protecting priority land for the public with the purchase of a key tract in the trail’s development, TPL announced Sunday.

TPL bought 1,388 acres in Claiborne and Campbell counties from a client of The Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC (Molpus Woodlands Group).  It includes a dramatic ridgeline overlooking the scenic Powell Valley and property running 200 feet north of the ridge along the trail route, said Rick Wood, Director of TPL’s Chattanooga office.  The route also protects McLean Rock, a natural landmark where the founding of the Cumberland Trail was announced in 1965.

“The proposed route of the Cumberland Trail is more than 300 miles long.  So far, about half of the trail is completed, so this is a chance to extend the trail, protect some of Tennessee’s most stunning landscape and keep it open for the public,” said Wood.

TPL purchased the property for $2.08 million.  The state will purchase the land from TPL. The state’s participation in the purchase was funded in 2003, using money from the stateside funding pot of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the State Lands Acquisition Fund and the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

“We appreciate the work of The Trust for Public Land to help protect the priority lands this new section of trail will traverse,” said Governor Phil Bredesen.   “Partnering with organizations like TPL, we have been able to extend the reach of the Cumberland Trail considerably since 2003.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the ranking Republican on the Interior Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, “The Cumberland Trail highlights some of the most beautiful parts of our state and I’m glad to see the trail being extended further. This project again shows how important the Land and Water Conservation Fund is to Tennessee’s parks, trails and open spaces.”      

Dick Molpus, President of Molpus Woodlands Group, said, “We are pleased to have closed another transaction with The Trust for Public Land involving the Cumberland Gap region. It is gratifying to see the preservation of such an important conservation and recreational use area while balancing working forest and client investment objectives. This transaction ensures that a significant part of the Cumberland Trail will be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., said, “Tennessee has many advantages including open space and beautiful scenery. The Trust for Public Land, working alongside conservation-minded leaders, continues to protect our assets while encouraging smart growth and a balance of regulation. The Cumberland Trail is historic and scenic. This new addition is an important piece of our heritage and our future.”

TPL, founded in 1982, is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks, historic sites, gardens, and greenways.  Nationwide, TPL has protected more than 2.5 million acres in 46 states.  In Tennessee, TPL is working to protect Stringer’s Ridge in Chattanooga and it has also helped expand Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

Upon completion, the Cumberland Trail, the state’s only linear park, will be 300 miles, cutting through 11 Tennessee counties from the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park on the Tennessee-Virginia-Kentucky border, to the Signal Point near Chattanooga.  One hundred fifty miles of the Cumberland Trail is currently open and ready for exploration. For more information on the Cumberland Trail State Park and Scenic Trail, visit

The Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, was founded in 1996 as a Timber Investment Management Organization (TIMO).  With its sister operating company, Molpus Timberlands Management, LLC (collectively, Molpus), Molpus, operating since 1905, is one of the oldest timber-related companies in the nation, with experience in all facets of timber management, manufacturing and marketing.  Molpus is one of the few TIMOs that is vertically integrated (all core business and forestry functions handled or supervised by in-house experts).

Molpus employs 66 people in its 14 offices located in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, and Oklahoma.  Molpus acquires, manages and sells timberland as an investment vehicle for pension funds, college endowments, foundations, insurance companies and high net-worth individual investors. The company focuses on ensuring long-term optimum cash returns on investments while practicing responsible forest stewardship. For more information, visit