Below is a news release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held recently to commemorate the opening of the newly reconstructed elk viewing tower on Hatfield Knob of North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.
TWRA Executive Director Jason Maxedon and the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission joined the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association, The Nature Conservancy, Clinch Powell, the National Wild Turkey Federation, local dignitaries, and several others to celebrate the event.
During the ceremony, the tower was named in honor of Terry and Jane Lewis, a local couple who are long-time Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers that dedicated countless hours and resources to promote Tennessee’s elk herd. Terry and Jane led the construction of the new, handicap-accessible tower, as well as the original tower constructed in 2005.
“It’s been a long journey. We certainly want to thank all of the volunteers that helped put this tower together and this viewing area for all the people to come and see,” said Mr. Lewis. “One of our efforts was to create a high probability of viewing opportunities and I think you have it right here.”
The elk viewing tower and NCWMA have been longtime attractions of Campbell County, which boasts 48 percent of its land as public property. A University of Tennessee study found that around 16,000 people visit the tower annually and thousands more enjoy viewing elk live through the TWRA elk camera also located at the tower.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has also been a strong partner in Tennessee’s elk restoration, which began in the year 2000 when the first elk were released onto Horsebone Ridge of the now NCWMA. To date, 201 elk have been released onto the area.
(Video credit: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency)