Hunting News

Seized Marijuana Grow Operation Land Opens Up 1,000 Acres for Hunting, Hiking and Habitat Conservation

In the mountains of central Tennessee, Short Mountain. Spring 2011

The fields are ripe for hunting. Almost 1,000 acres of land in Tennessee used to cultivate marijuana plants for more than a decade were seized several years ago from two people running a million-dollar multi-state wholesale drug distribution ring and are now open for use by outdoorsmen and women of all pursuits.

In 2006, Jeffory Carl Young, 55, of Cannon County, Tennessee and Morris Roller, 59, of Warren County were arrested in a sting by five law enforcement agencies, including local, state and federal authorities.

They were convicted in 2008 and since that time, debate had ensued as to what should be done with the reclaimed land on Short Mountain in Cannon County. The pristine land on one of Tennessee’s tallest mountains in a remote part of the state is home to certain species of wildlife not found elsewhere. Two species of crayfish, salamanders and beetles are unique to the area.

After the pair’s arrest, Neal Appelbaum, president of the Stones River Watershed Association immediately set in motion conservation propositions for the land. Keeping former marijuana-growing land open for the public and free from development following seizure is an unusual outcome (except for when the land-owners are unaware of the operation). It has no precedent in Tennessee.

“It’s irreplaceable land, it’s irreplaceable habitat, it’s unique to Tennessee,” said Neal Appelbaum to 9News. “The idea that this would have been sold off and developed never really made sense. But everybody had to come to the agreement that this is the right thing to do. Lots of people could have had reasons not to.”

Preservation of the land was not guaranteed until all agreements were made and deeds were signed April 10. Designation of the land as state land was the culmination of five and a half years of discussion, debate, negotiation, paperwork, process and ownership. In the end, state wildlife, environmental officials, sportsmen and conservationists alike were pleased with the outcome.

Now, all but a few parcels of the land already designated to a bible camp and a farming collective is open to hikers and hunters.

View the report from 9News along with scenery from the reclaimed land on Short Mountain below.

Photo: Hunter Desportes (flickr)

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • Scott

    I would like people to question whether someone losing their land and having their life destroyed is actually helping us live in a better world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hangfire68 Chesmore Mike

    if you’re going to play with big dogs, learn to pee on tall trees,

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Snapbrim-Hand-Crank/100000960047322 Snapbrim Hand-Crank

    Looks like a conspiracy between “law enforcement” and UNAgenda21-types for land confiscation merely because marijuana was grown on it. Slowly but surely eliminating all private property is the long term goal. Quotes- “We reject the idea of private property.” Peter Berle, President of the National Audubon Society; “If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.” Prince Phillip of Great Britain, leader of the World Wildlife Fund

  • Afraid of YOU

    Sounds as though the pot farmers managed this land, probably better than you as these endimic species are still intact. How many people were put out of work and how much money was taken out of a seriously economically depressed part of the country? Oh well send that money to the cut throat cartels, they thrive on your idealology. Fill our prisons with more hard working Americans, and enjoy the financial rewards I’m sure you aloted for yourself over the last five years of litigation. Shame on you for your short sightedness. It kind of looks like you endorse the theft of private land. Help make this world a better place by ending the slaughter going on in Mexico (a beautiful place with wonderful people). Proabition escalated crime in this country to the point it had to be repealed, so should our archaic pot laws. Yes those wetbacks are real people caught in the middle of a truely senseless war. The cartels make more money off pot than they do off hard drugs. “Reefer Madness” isn’t real, but the damage being done is. Demanding my email address to post is also scarey. So much for freedom of speech.