John Noel is a person who deserves a personal thank-you from everyone who loves Southern forests,
especially those of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. John, along with his wife, Melinda Welton, have committed time, money, intelligence, community connections, heart and sweat to the conservation of special places for decades.
In June, John Noel got a big thank you from the state of Tennessee when a state natural area was named in his honor. The John H. Noel State Natural Area, formerly known as Bon Aqua Woods, is home to a remnant of “old growth” white oak forest with trees that are more than two or three centuries old.
John and Melinda have been long-time supporters of Dogwood Alliance’s challenge to business-as-usual practices and as members of our Vista Circle of donors have invested in our long-term vision of real and lasting protection for Southern forests. We know how much these forests mean to them both. It is with great pleasure that we join with the state of Tennessee in applauding John Noel for his decades of work to protect special places in his home state.
To reach the John H. Noel State Natural Area from Interstate 40, take the Highway 46 exit and proceed south 4.8 miles, turning right past the post office on Church Road. You then continue 1.5 miles to Bon Aqua, and turn left at the railroad crossing before proceeding approximately one mile to the natural area on Old Highway 46.