Our Mission: To protect, preserve and promote the natural integrity of Radnor Lake through land acquisition, environmental education and park support.
This acquisition is the final step in the Harris Ridge Trail Project, a six-year, $4 million initiative to acquire 89 acres, and guarantee the preservation of this unique property along our southeastern boundary forever.
Your support for this important project creates the opportunity for Radnor Lake to better serve the community by protecting the land from future development. In addition, this new land is the final piece of a 3 phase land acquisition partnership with the State of Tennessee, Friends of Radnor Lake and the Harris Family. Completion of this acquisition will enable us to:
Please consider giving as you are able. We greatly appreciate your generosity as we all work to protect this special land that provides so much for so many.
With a gift of $2,500 or more, your generosity will be recognized on a display at the Radnor Lake Visitor Center. With a gift of $25,000 or more, your generosity will be recognized on a kiosk panel at the new trail head.
To see this new property, the park ranger staff at Radnor Lake have been conducting a series of land acquisition hikes starting in March 2016 thru the Fall of 2016. To date, we have had over 50 hikes with hundreds of visitors coming to see these beautiful pieces of property we are trying to preserve with the State of Tennessee. To learn more about these hikes and upcoming opportunities, please check our program schedule and newsfeed on our website.
By Steve Ward, Radnor Lake Park Manager
Many of our visitors would be surprised to learn that not all of Radnor’s unspoiled acreage is protected from development; much of the view you enjoy from our hiking trails is actually privately owned and not officially part of the park. Thanks to a unique, three-way partnership between our adjoining landowners, Friends of Radnor Lake and Tennessee State Parks, we’ve spent many years working together to extend that protection to additional land around the natural area.
We are finalizing the protection of two additional acres of ridgetop moving closer to protecting the viewshed and watershed at the natural area for future generations. Landowner Ed Yarbrough has worked patiently with Friends of Radnor Lake and Tennessee State Parks over the last year to orchestrate the sale and generous in-kind donation of this beautiful piece of land in honor of long-time Radnor supporter and friend John Hollins Sr.
Every land acquisition project must start with a landowner like the Yarbrough Family who is willing and able to work with us to acquire these properties. Together, we then combine and leverage state and private dollars to protect these last great pieces of land. The Yarbroughs’ relationship with Radnor Lake dates back to the 1930s, sparked by the mutual interest in bird watching. Since that time, good stewardship and partnership with the family has resulted in three parcels of land north of the lake being placed under state protection.
We are thrilled to announce this critical piece of land is be saved from development forever thanks to the generosity of the Yarbrough Family who support our mission to protect and preserve our vital oasis in the heart of an ever-growing city.
On July 8th, 2016 Friends of Radnor Lake was awarded a generous grant of $175,000 from The Heritage Conservation Trust toward the acquisition of two critical acres along the northwestern boundary known as the Yarbrough Tract. Friends of Radnor Lake would like to thank the Heritage Conservation Trust Board for their consideration and approval of these grant funds which will result in a total of 13 new acres of protected land transferred to the State of Tennessee along this northwestern boundary since 2010.
Written by Liz McLaurin, President, The Land Trust for Tennessee
Photos by Robin Conover
On September 13th, 2015 Kay Cheek joined Friends of Radnor Lake, The Land Trust for Tennessee and the State of Tennessee to celebrate a capstone collaboration that conserves forever an additional 20 acres visible from the trails of Radnor Lake, walked by over one million visitors each year. This land could have been sold – along with its multi-million-dollar-view – to the highest bidder. The sale could have included towering development over the tree line, obstructing the scenic view of any hiker at Radnor. This land and the view will forever remain as it is today through a conservation agreement with The Land Trust for Tennessee, with 15 of those acres acquired by the Friends of Radnor Lake, soon to be transferred to the State of Tennessee for the natural area.
“Working with Friends of Radnor Lake, The Land Trust of Tennessee and Radnor Lake Park Manager Steve Ward over the last 15 years has allowed me to fulfill the wishes of my husband, John Jr. and my son, John III – this precious land that they loved so much will be this way forever,” says Kay Cheek, looking out over the place where she and John built their life and where their son and daughter enjoyed climbing trees and swimming with friends.
Over a period of 14 years, a total of 75 acres of land has been added to Radnor Lake because the Cheeks generously offered the land at about 20% of market value. Those 75 acres, along with the five acres that remain in private ownership conserved through a conservation agreement, are protected forever in memory of John Hancock Cheek, Jr. and John Hancock Cheek, III.
“The Cheek’s steadfast commitment is as awe-inspiring as the landscapes they have protected,” proclaimed Jeanie Nelson, founder of The Land Trust for Tennessee. “The Cheeks are conservation heroes and in a city that is growing at a pace among the fastest in our nation.”
“Their vision is transformational for Radnor, for our state,” said Nan Adams, President of Friends of Radnor Lake. “Now, this vast land is protected as an urban sanctuary for wildlife and waterfowl and a place of peace and tranquility for people from all walks of life.”
This is the fourth project on which the State of Tennessee, Friends of Radnor Lake and The Land Trust for Tennessee has collaborated – protecting a total of 93 acres through acquisitions and conservation agreements around Radnor Lake State.
On December 30, 2012, Friends of Radnor Lake (FORL) and The Land Trust for Tennessee (LTTN) purchased a 40-acre parcel along Radnor Lake’s southeastern boundary. This large acquisition is a critical piece of the overall puzzle to protect Radnor Lake. The land was secured by FORL and LTTN, with assistance from The Conservation Fund, then purchased by the state of Tennessee in May 2013, protecting it forever as part of Radnor Lake State Natural Area. “Partners working together” has been a common theme throughout Radnor Lake’s history. With the protection of 653 acres in 1973, more than 550 additional acres have been protected, saving vital watershed and viewshed. Keeping Radnor Lake as we have all come to know it takes partnerships, vision and dedication.
In October 2011, The Frist Foundation granted an unprecedented $500,000 to help in the expansion of the Radnor Lake State Natural Area. “The First Foundation sees Radnor Lake as an exemplary public-private partnership,” says Pete Bird, Frist Foundation President. “We saw this as a rare opportunity to enhance a crown jewel in Nashville’s urban landscape.” This generous donation from Th e Frist Foundation makes it possible to take advantage of targeted land opportunities as they become available. “It’s now or never,” says Paul Buchanan, Board VP of Land for Friends of Radnor Lake. “Having the support of The Frist Foundation will give us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect this land forever.”
Friends of Radnor Lake (FORL) has received two substantial grants from the Andrea Waitt Carlton (AWC) Family Foundation totaling $325,000. AWC Family Foundation awarded the Land Acquisition Opportunity Grant of $25,000 in September of 2011 for use in land surveys, appraisals, and options for land acquisition and preservation. In November of 2012, Steve Rasmussen, executive director of AWC Family Foundation, informed us that we were awarded with a $300,000 matching grant for the purpose of land acquisition. Th e award is a multi-year gift . Friends of Radnor Lake has been actively raising money and will undertake a major fundraising campaign, starting in August 2013, towards matching this generous grant on the next targeted land acquisition. “Having these funds allows us to act quickly when land opportunities become available,” said Greer Tidwell, President of FORL.