August 03, 2015

Wolf River to Benefit Public

By:  Tom Charlier
Commercial Appeal
Another large, densely forested tract of land will be added to the inventory of acreage along the Wolf River that’s protected from development.
Boyle Investment Co. announced Wednesday that it is donating a 290-acre site to the Wolf River Conservancy. The property, north of the river about halfway between Germantown Parkway and Houston Levee Road, represents the largest donation to the group since a nearby 318-acre parcel was acquired in 1996.
Encompassing a mile of frontage along the Wolf, the newly protected tract contains old river runs lined with cypress, as well as numerous wetlands and large, old-growth hardwood trees.
The acreage, valued at $2 million and owned by Boyle for some 35 years, had been part of a larger tract that included land that was developed for residential use. But the company had no interest in developing the remaining acreage, preferring instead for the public to use it, president Henry Morgan said.
"I think it’s more broadly enjoyed if it’s in the hands of the conservancy," he said.
Boyle has conducted some timber harvesting on the property, but it’s been very limited, Morgan said.
"All the good timber is still there, and it’s beautiful."
The donation will give further momentum to the effort to establish a protected "greenway" along the Wolf, said conservancy CEO Steve Fleegal, who described the acreage as containing "incredibly beautiful landscapes."
Already, vast tracts from the Shelby Farms area all the way to Collierville-Arlington Road have been preserved through various initiatives, and the city of Memphis is developing a multiuse trail eventually leading to the Mississippi River.
The Boyle gift "is huge in terms of consolidating this land," Fleegal said.
The public will be able to use the property once the conservancy develops a management plan for it, he said.