Mainspring Conservation Trust has added to their conserved Tessentee Bottomland Preserve property in southern Macon County through a purchase of adjacent farmland owned by Teresa Seay and her sister, Susie Seay Woleslagle.
The 43 acres joins the Preserve’s bottomland and river bluff land to now total more than 112 acres. The Preserve, which is open to the public, has grown in sections through the years, totaling four transactions beginning in 1999.
The Seay pasture includes 3,900 combined feet of Little Tennessee River and Tessentee Creek frontage. In 2015, Mainspring and the Seay family worked to restore more than 2,000 feet of Tessentee Creek that lies between both properties, including reconstructing the stream channel to a more stable sinuosity and cross section, followed by sloping, matting and replanting the banks with suitable native shrub and tree species.
“Our father and mother, Roger and Bobbie Seay, purchased the Tessentee tract in the early 1990s, when their beef cattle operation required more pastureland,” Teresa says. “We both can remember him being particularly proud of the hay production from this beautiful piece of land.”
Executive Director Sharon Taylor said she was thrilled that Teresa Seay reached out to Mainspring. “Many times we don’t learn an important conservation property is for sale until it’s too late,” she says. “We’re honored the family initiated the conversation with us first, so we could explore conservation options for the land.”
Currently leased to a farmer and home to a herd of beef cattle, Mainspring will continue to contract the land for that purpose on a year-to-year basis. Taylor says she’s glad the land will always be conserved, either as farmland or, in the years to come, in a more natural state for the public to visit and enjoy. “Our goal is to conserve the waters, forests, farms and heritage of the region, so either use of this beautiful floodplain property fulfills our mission,” she says.