A former marijuana farm will officially become the newest Tennessee wildlife management area Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Justice is handing over about 600 acres of land on Short Mountain in Cannon County. The land, near Woodbury, will be managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and known as the Headwaters Wildlife Management Area.
The land was forfeited as part of the 2007 federal criminal convictions of Morris Roller and Jeffory Carl Young for distribution of marijuana. The transfer was made under a law that allows the Justice Department to convey forfeited property to states for public use for recreation or conservation purposes. The federal criminal investigation leading to the forfeiture included the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Warren County Sheriff's Department, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the Chattanooga Police Department.
âThis historic conveyance of forfeited property, which is the largest transfer for conservation purposes in the past 15 years by the federal government to a governmental entity, will leave a lasting legacy of this wildlife management area for the state of Tennessee and its citizens. Now, rather than being used for growing marijuana or violating other laws, it will be used for recreational activities such as hiking, fishing and hunting. Russ Dedrick, my predecessor as U.S. attorney, is to be congratulated for arranging this donation of land,â U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said.
As a critical habitat for plant and animal species and containing the headwaters for three Tennessee watersheds, the land will be open to the public for hunting, hiking and wildlife viewing.
On Thursday and Friday, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission will officially designate, name and set hunting seasons for the new wildlife management area.