Public wildlife management areas (WMAs) managed by the state agency are a valuable asset to Tennesseans and Tennessee’s rural economies, and Yanahli is one of the state’s most popular.
Hunters and anglers are concerned that should this become law, these properties will be diverted to other uses not compatible with hunting and angling, or will be poorly managed.
H.B. 1674 by Rep. Cepicky, and S.B. 1839 by Senator Hensley, if passed, will transfer ownership of the 12,800-acre Yanahli Wildlife Management Area from the state of Tennessee to Maury County government.
Hunters and anglers are concerned that should this become law, these properties will be diverted to other uses not compatible with hunting and angling, or will be poorly managed. The reason for this concern is well founded because of efforts over the past two years in Maury County to develop up to 500 acres of protected land within the WMA to build an agricenter.
We know of no county in Tennessee that has the expertise or resources to manage a state wildlife management area of this size and importance. In Tennessee, counties do not have the legal authority to manage fish and wildlife. This authority is reserved for the state, as is indicated in the Tennessee Constitution.
Yanahli represents only 3% of Maury County’s land base but provides a disproportionate positive economic impact. According to University of Tennessee research, Yanahli generates visitor spending estimated to support 137 full or part time jobs, contributes $6.92 million to the GDP of the counties in the area, and helps generate $867,327 in local and state taxes—while costing the county nothing to operate.
Yanahli is also a critically important area for outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing, and is recognized as one of the state’s top producing WMAs. WMAs in general have 140,000 annual users, are utilized by 64% of sportsmen’s license holders, and provide 3.44M recreation days per year for the public.
Public lands are critical, and in middle Tennessee where public lands are limited, we should be seeking opportunities to expand these lands, not remove them. In 2001, the 12,800-acre Yanahli WMA was gifted to the state of Tennessee and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Help us maintain the original intention of TVA and their donation by making your voice heard.
Join us in the effort to stop the erosion of our state’s critical wildlife public lands. Here’s what you can do: