Nestled in Jasper, Tenn., near the Tennessee River is a small gravel parking lot with a TVA sign that marks one of the utilities newest public natural areas—Glover Branch. Greeting visitors is an old tree-lined farm road. Unlike other roads, when you walk this path you’ll be traveling the memories of a lifelong Jasper resident who knows this land well.
“There has been a Boyd in Marion County, Tenn., since the late 1800s,” says Clyde Boyd, age 93, of Jasper, Tenn. Boyd owned the property before TVA purchased it. “I farmed that land for over 50 years—raised a family and planted corn and soybeans and built up a sizable dairy herd…and grew old.”
Looking across the fields where Boyd’s crops grew and cows grazed, you can tell why this land will always hold a special place in his heart.
“It’s some of the best soil in the county—the finest bottom land,” Boyd says. “I’m proud that my family could grow food to feed our community.”
In 2006, TVA acquired some of Boyd’s farmland along the Tennessee River to offset the loss of lands available to the public with the private development of Nickajack Shores near Nickajack Dam. Recently, TVA opened the Glover Branch Recreation Area to the public; it’s named after a seasonal creek that runs through the property. But the locals still call it “Boyd’s Farm.”
The 284-acre parcel features two ponds, woodlands and open fields that are still used to farm crops.
As a young man Boyd remembers building one of those ponds from a natural spring that flowed on the property. “I stocked it with brim and catfish. Haven’t been able to get there in years, so I don’t know if they [the fish] are still there.”
According to Marty High, TVA Natural Resources program manager, a variety of biological communities can be found on the property because of the open and wetland habitats that are dominated by bottomland hardwoods, shrubs and riparian species.
“Glover Branch is well worth a day trip,” says High. “It’s a beautiful spot to birdwatch, swim or drop a line in the river.”
Walking the area you can appreciate the steep, beautiful hills that surround the town of Jasper. “It is picture perfect,” says High.
Squirrels and mourning dove abound in the fields and old oak trees. Wood duck and great blue heron are common as you get closer to the river.
For over 100 years the Boyd family has been giving back to the Jasper community. Glover Branch, with TVA’s careful management, will continue the Boyd family’s legacy for generations to come. Enjoy the day there hiking, swimming, fishing, picnicking and relaxing, and create new memories of your own.
“I spent most of my life on the farm and the land has been good to me and my family,” says Boyd. “I hope everyone who visits will enjoy it as much as I do.”
It’s always a good time for fun on the Tennessee Valley’s lands and waters. Not sure where to start? We have you covered! Check out some of the best recreational activities on our reservoirs. While you’re enjoying the lakes, trails, picnic areas and campgrounds, share your own stories and photos on Instagram using #TVAfun.
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