Nothing is certain…

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Benjamin Franklin


It can be added that you can’t fight the Tennessee Valley Authority aka: the *TVA.


Very recently we went back up to work on the Mountain Farmlet to find that the TVA had been there to clear for the power lines that traverse the length and breadth of our property.  We knew they would have to come sooner or later because the trees had begun to grow through the lines.  We further knew that this is a dangerous condition, a safety hazard for our property and the folks who live in and around our hollow.

Knowing this did not prepare us for the reality of what they did.


This can be made to look good again, but it will require a tremendous amount of work and a tractor which we do not have and cannot afford at the moment.

Things that I have found out in my research are mind-boggling.

  • Loss of timber is not reimbursed to the landowner.
  • The TVA can clear out anything you plant there if it is not on their list of approved plantings (and in some cases they cleared it anyway).
  • You can hire someone to do the work of trimming, but because they can’t count on the homeowner to “… keep it up.” they may still mow it all down anyway.  Your loss for hiring of the tree surgeon.
  • They can come in and spray **chemicals to keep the plants from growing back.

The TVA, as I understand it, is supposed to do the following:

  • Notify you of their intention to cut down and remove the growth on their right of way.
  • Protect animal habitat.
  • Protect Native American artifact sites.
  • Allow you to plant their preapproved list of native plants.  (this is iffy)

They have had the right to many of the rights of way for as far back as 1933.  If you are a home/land owner the onis is on you to research the legalities of any right of way through your property.  It is opined that you should go back at least 100 years.

Nobody tells you this stuff.

Our thoughts to ease the look of this harsh gash through the property is to hire a tree buyer to come in and cut down much of the pine.  I will have to interview the tree buyers to find one I can trust to not just mow as he goes!  And, although most of it is non native and should go anyway, I will have to do some bushwhacking over the next two years to mark the trees I want to keep, and of course, ALL the hardwoods stay!

I want to keep the largest of the native pines in stands and eliminate all the dense saplings that are constantly rotting and falling down due to lack of sunlight.

My ideal is to have lovely pasture, surrounded by native woods that have been thinned for their health.  I wish to keep our walking path around the outside of the property and to use one of the gashes as an access road to the new pasture in the middle.  I hope that the tree buyer will do his work for the cost of the trees he removes.  Some will, but I still have a trust issue about how they will accomplish the job.  At least now they have an easy access route to get into the woods and do the work. (read that last line with deepest sarcasm)

This will take a very long time.

In the meantime, I am heartened to know that the deer are apparently happy with the TVA’s new super highway they made for them; tracks are everywhere!

Want to know more about the TVA and their zero tolerance policy on power-line under growth? 

Look here:

Activist Larry Silverstein’s Battle With TVA’s Tree-Cutting

TVA Frequently asked questions

FERC –  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Help: Tree Trimming and Vegetation Management Landowners

Filed under Cr@p – This just in on TVA tree removal policy… Grrrr…!

* The TVA has about 15,900 miles of transmission lines and services about 9 million people in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

**At this time the TVA says they can spray “Environmentally safe chemicals” (their assertion as to the safety) onto the right of way to keep the growth from growing back.