Volkswagen of America and The Conservation Fund Join Together In Efforts to Protect 1,500 acres Within Cherokee National Forest

October 13th, 2021 by

Photo credit: Volkswagen

Volkswagen of America and The Conservation Fund have finally announced the completion of a multi-year effort to buy, conserve 1,500 acres of land in the Cherokee National Forest. They will transfer approximately 1,500 acres of land to the U.S Forest Service to be used for inclusion in the Cherokee National forest. The main goal is the protection of the land, separating the land in three separate tracts closely located to the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant located in Tennessee. The statewide efforts will help preserve wildlife habits and cultural resources. Not only that, improving water quality, while providing additional recreation access and environmental education for all of its visitors. 

“We are proud of the environmental strides we have made with The Conservation Fund and believe this work is integral to our endeavor of giving back to a community where more than 3,800 of our colleagues live,” said Hein Schafer, senior vice president, product marketing and strategy, Volkswagen of America. “Working with The Conservation Fund underscores our sustainability commitments to bolster the positive impacts in the communities where we work and live.” 

The conserved lands will be located in Monroe, Polk, and Cocke counties and are now open for the public to enjoy. The conserved land provides recreational areas, hunting, wildlife viewing, and fishing. The Cherokee National Forest stretches for a huge 660,000 acres, the newly conserved areas will provide enhanced protection for ecologically important waterways, including the French Broad River, Little Toqua Creek, and the Conasauga River. The Conasauga River serves as one of the most diverse rivers in the state that contains critical habitats for 11 federally endangered fish and mussel species. Volkswagen donated 1.25 million to the conservation fund to help make this plan happen.

“Forests are one of the most important life-sustaining systems on the planet because they play an integral role in cleaning the air we breathe and water we drink, absorbing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and offering natural habitat for wildlife to thrive as well as opportunities for people to explore the outdoors,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “Our collaboration with Volkswagen continues to deliver tangible benefits for forests and wildlife while supporting local communities.”

A portion of Volkswagen’s 1.25 million donation to the Conservation Fund was used towards the purchase and protection of the land. The protection of these lands as part of the National Forest was also made possible with funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and private contributions provided through the Tennessee chapter of The Nature Conservancy from The Tucker Foundation and the Lyndhurst Foundation. The Nature Conservancy was an acquisition partner with The Conservation Fund in this initiative. Many different groups came together to create a safer place for our wildlife and for our residents to enjoy. Interested in more of Volkswagen’s plans for a better future?

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