Tennessee’s Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) consists of approximately 8,943 acres in which the Walls of Jericho is located. Contiguous to the Bear Hollow Mountain WMA is the Skyline WMA located in Alabama for a total acreage of 21,453. These lands, acquired by The Nature Conservancy, were once the hunting grounds of Davy Crockett. Does this Spark an idea?
In the 1940’s Texas oil magnate Harry Lee Carter originally owned the Walls of Jericho, acquired through a purchase of 60,000 acres in Franklin County, Tennessee and Jackson County, Alabama. Until 1977 the property was managed through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and open to the public for recreational use. The Nature Conservancy subsequently acquired the acreage in both Tennessee and Alabama, totaling approximately 21,453 acres including the Walls of Jericho. The Tennessee tract was transferred to the TWRA in 2006 and renamed the Bear Hollow Mountain WMA with the Walls of Jericho contained therein. The 750 acres of the Walls of Jericho and the surrounding Turkey Creek basin area is co-managed by the State Natural Areas Program of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation. The Nature Conservancy opened the Walls of Jericho and surrounding area to the public after its acquisition.
The Walls of Jericho is a natural geological limestone formation shaped like a large bowl similar to an amphitheater. Bowling ball size holes are embedded in the limestone forming water spouts and drips, creating an impressive water feature. Located on the Turkey Creek, the walls of the natural amphitheater rise to 200 feet with the waters of the creek draining through these holes. Turkey Creek may have played a part as a geological force in the formation of the Walls of Jericho.
The Turkey Creek drainage bisects the natural area from north to south. By doing so, it supports the endangered limerock arrowwood or viburnum bracteatum, a rare species. Downstream from Turkey Creek is the Upper Paint Rock River watershed which is protected by the creek. The Paint Rock River is the natural habitat of numerous rare fish species and mussels.