"The plan to clear forest for quail habitat is raising the ire of hunters and hikers, as well as a bipartisan group of state lawmakers"
"SPARTA, Tenn. — It’s a pretty bird, easily recognizable by dark stripes on rust colored feathers and a distinct two-syllable chirp that announces its name: “bob” (the high note) then “white” at a lower pitch — also known as the Northern Bobwhite, a species of quail.
The otherwise unassuming bird is now at the center of a fight over public lands in White County, Tenn., pitting the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency against an unlikely coalition of hikers, hunters, cavers, local business leaders and state lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.
Internal TWRA documents leaked to a local hunter last month revealed plans to clearcut 2,000 acres of old-growth hardwood forest in the Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness Area to establish quail habitat and a research center focused on the birds, whose steeply declining populations have spurred national efforts to restore grasslands where the species thrive."
Anita Wadhwani reports for the Tennessee Lookout October 4, 2021.