Pocket Wilderness Areas
Pocket Wilderness Areas are part of a conservation program involving a corporate-state partnership. Beginning in 1970, the Hiwassee Land Company of the Bowater Southern Paper Corporation developed in Tennessee four pocket wilderness areas, defined as “a pocket of land set aside for preservation in its natural state, with no logging or development other than hiking trails permitted within its boundaries.” (1) The areas contain national and state recreational trails and are designated state natural areas. The first pocket wilderness area was the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, which contains 317 acres along the Caney Fork River in White County. Its most spectacular attraction is the 110-foot Virgin Falls. Laurel-Snow State Natural Area, located near Dayton in Rhea County, contains 710 acres. It includes two stunning waterfalls, Laurel Falls and Snow Falls. The Stinging Fork State Natural Area has 104 acres near Spring City; it features the 30-foot-high Stinging Fork Falls. The Honey Creek State Natural Area in Scott County is within the Big South Fork National Recreational Area. Honey Creek’s 109 acres lie along the creek’s gorges at the junction with the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and the area has a rugged five-mile trail. Many groups have commended the pocket wilderness program, including the Tennessee General Assembly, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Tennessee Conservation League, and the Tennessee Trails Association.