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DMRA wins environmental award for Johnson County

A rider (front) confirms his pass on Doe Mountain, in Johnson County, TN ATV trail last Sunday. The passes were checked by a Trail Ambassador.  Johnson  County recently made history by being the first to win the new Natural Resource category in the 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards for the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority (DMRA), also known as the Doe Mountain Recreation Area.   Photo by Dennis Shekinah.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Johnson County made history by being the first county to win the new Natural Resource category in the 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards for the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority (DMRA), also known as the Doe Mountain Recreation Area. Johnson County competed with 81 other nominees for the honor. Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers announced the award winners on Wednesday, June 3.

“We were honored to be selected as the winner of one of the 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship awards. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish here in Johnson County, cooperating with DMRA,” Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor said in a statement to The Tomahawk.  We will always strive to balance tourism with protecting our county’s greatest natural resources.”

According to officials, the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program focuses on acknowledging entities that go above and beyond in their work to improve or protect the environment. DMRA became the center of Johnson County’s Adventure Tourism District in early 2020 and continues to grow. According to MTRA (Mountain Trail Riders Association) Vice President  Bobby Richards, social media and word of mouth are a large part of that growth. Richards also attributes the growth to the Adventure Tourism District bringing in more people and funding.

Doe Mountain Recreational Area features approximately 8,600 acres of protected mountain terrain. The Nature Conservancy calls DMRA globally significant for its biodiversity, multi-species migration corridor, and watersheds. DMRA officially became a Forest Carbon Project in 2019, which lead to over $300,000 in carbon credit sales revenue.

“Johnson County’s partnership with DMRA has not only provided our community with one of the best adventure tourism spots in the region but has also maintained an environmental standard that seeks to preserve the integrity of the mountain. It is simply a win-win situation,” said Mayor Taylor.

Doe Mountain Recreation Area started phase one of reopening to the public at the end of May. Visit DMRA at 1203 Harbin Hill Road in Mountain City. Find out more information on DMRA recreation opportunities, projects, and accomplishments at doetn.com or Facebook (@doemountain.org).