Tennessee River Gorge Trust Announces New Executive Director

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Rick Huffines
Rick Huffines

Tennessee River Gorge Trust, a Chattanooga-based nonprofit conservation organization which protects more than 17,500 acres in the Tennessee River Gorge, announced that it has hired Rick Huffines, 50, as its new executive director.  Mr. Huffines succeeds Jim Brown, who is retiring after having led the organization successfully for the last 18 years. 

Mr. Huffines currently serves as the Deputy Regional Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Atlanta, Georgia.  He will be joining the Tennessee River Gorge Trust on Jan. 7, 2013 after retiring from a 26-year career of public service where he has worked throughout the Southeast in five different states in various capacities.   

Daniel Carter, chairman of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust Board of Directors said, “Rick Huffines is the ideal candidate to lead the Trust into the future while building on the solid foundation that Jim Brown and his team have built during the last several decades.  Rick is a seasoned leader who has extensive scientific and land management experience.  He has worked on numerous complex national conservation initiatives which required a determination for collaboration.  Rick will be a great asset to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust and to the conservation community at-large.”

Mr. Huffines spent his youth in Old Hickory, Tn., roaming the banks of the Cumberland River where he was inspired at a young age to follow his passion for conservation.  He attended Middle Tennessee State University and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plant and Soil Science with an emphasis on Wildlife Management. 

He has been married to his wife, Judy, for 23 years. Ms. Huffines is also an alumna of Middle Tennessee State University and works for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Program Analyst.  She is originally from Beech Grove, Tn.  They have a 20-year old son, Gus, who is a sophomore at the University of Georgia studying Biological Engineering.  Gus is an accomplished violinist and has been playing for over 14 years.  The family enjoys spending time with their extended families in Tennessee and participating in a myriad of outdoor activities – hiking, outdoor photography, camping, hunting and fishing.

The Huffineses are very excited about this new opportunity, as well as their upcoming move to Chattanooga. Mr. Huffines said, “When I was 16 years old I was inspired by Ron Raines, a Tennessee Conservationist who taught me I could do something I loved for a career and mentored me in that process.  I educated myself and launched into a 26-year career that has taken me on special assignments to Alaska, Cuba, the Caribbean and all over the Southeast.  On my journey I have captured American crocodiles in Florida, participated in scientific expeditions on uninhabited Islands in the Caribbean, apprehended and prosecuted wildlife poachers across the South, researched some of the rarest birds on earth and worked with some of the brightest and finest people in the process.  I could not have imagined these kinds of things as a young Tennessean and it is for this reason I want to give back to my State and bring my experience and collaborative spirit to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust.  In the process, I also hope to inspire other young Tennessee conservationists in the same way I was inspired, to carry this important work forward into the future.

“I am honored to have been selected to follow behind another great Tennessee conservationist, Jim Brown, who has served the Tennessee River Gorge Trust and the community of Chattanooga as a founder and leader of the organization for three decades.  I am looking forward to carrying on the legacy that has been established by Jim and the Trust.  I want to start by listening to what the Trust supporters, volunteers, the community, and the Board of Directors have to say about the future.  I also look forward to discussing ideas with my new colleague, Sarah Quattrochi, and meeting with other conservationist and community leaders in the area.”


Land Trust For Tennessee And Mountain Goat Trail Alliance Host Sneak-Peek Hike

The Land Trust for Tennessee and the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance are co-hosting  a summer hike to give locals a sneak peek of a soon-to-be protected property that adds 20 miles to the Mountain Goat Trail (MGT) project.  The hike will also celebrate the enhancement of local outdoor recreation, the conservation of our natural wonders and the way of life on the ... (click for more)

Crabtree Farms Offers Fall Gardening Workshop

In response to a growing interest in fall backyard gardening, local non-profit, Crabtree Farms is offering educational opportunities and affordable, healthy plant starts to help Chattanoogans grow their own food this fall.   “While most people are excited to plant their gardens in spring or summer, there is a growing number of people who realize that they can enjoy ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Requests For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Graham Says County School-City Lawsuit Settlement "Stinks," But County Commission Approves It

The County Commission on Wednesday approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Hamilton County Schools against the city of Chattanooga, though several commissioners said they were not happy with the deal and Commissioner Joe Graham said it "stinks." Commissioner Graham was the lone no vote. He was joined by Commissioner Tim Boyd in a failed effort to defer it a week. ... (click for more)

The Truth From Weston’s Sister - And Response (3)

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oscar Brock’s True Passion

I don’t pay much attention to the Hamilton County School Board. Once the moon and the stars aligned behind Superintendent Rick Smith, you hear very little, if anything, from the nine-member council that oversees an annual budget of almost $400 million and employs 4,480 people. So chew this for a minute: approximately 2,000 of those people are not teachers. Yes, there are 78 principals ... (click for more)