Local historian and writer Ray Smith will discuss the Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Management Refuge Area of the Oak Ridge Reservation during a meeting next week.
Smith will be the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation, or AFORR, on Thursday, March 24.
There will also be a roundtable discussion about the cultural and historical values of the Solway, Freels, and Gallaher bends, a press release said.
The meeting, located in the City Room at the Roane State Community College campus in Oak Ridge, is free and open to the public.
The Three Bend area was the site of traditional farming for many decades. When the Manhattan Project started, the farm became home to cattle from Alamogordo, New Mexico. Those cattle and their descendants were studied for long-term radiation effects, the press release said.
A 1999 agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency formalized that the 3,000 acres will be managed as a wildlife management area. The area provides an important habitat and home for numerous threatened, endangered, and rare animal species, including bald eagles, ospreys, and migrant songbirds. The parcel contains an 80-acre recreational area known as Clark Center Park and the historic Freels Cabin, built in the 1820s and one of the earliest settlements in the area.
The Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Management Refuge Area contains a combination of open fields, hedgerows, woodlots, wetlands, and water—a combination that is becoming increasingly rare in the region, the press release said. State-listed rare plants include the Canada Lily and Tall Larkspur. The area also includes recognized special habitats such as Chestnut Oak-Tuliptree-White Oak Hickory Forests; White Oak-Northern Red Oak-Hickory Forests; Limestone Sinkholes; Limestone Barrens and Oak-Hickory-Ash Limestone Woodlands. The City of Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board and Recreation and Parks Advisory Board have both unanimously recommended that these areas should be included in the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
Networking with refreshments will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the March 24 annual meeting; the formal meeting will begin at 7.
Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation was founded in 1999, and it works to support the preservation of the natural resources of the Department of Energy’s 20,000-plus acre Oak Ridge Reservation and Research Park for the long-term benefit of DOE, the local community, and national and international interests, the press release said.