East Tennessee's Mountain Views

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P.O. Box 209

Vonore, TN 37885


Citico Wildlife Wilderness

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

East TN Mountain ViewsHis closest neighbors, the Butlers, might describe Cleve Tedford as a transplant, saying, “He moved down here from up there.” The unusual part of that description is that “up there” doesn’t refer to somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, but to Rafter, an isolated mountain community above Tellico Plains.

After 30 years living in what many in Monroe County refer to as “Deliverence Country,” Tedford moved down last November to his farm just off Citico Creek. His closest neighbor by car or truck is more than two miles away. The Butlers prefer the trails through the woods, which shortens the distance to ¾ mile.

Growing up on the old family farm in West Knox County, his fondest memories are of hours spent in the woods, climbing the bluffs, and exploring caves along the banks of the Tennessee River. Today, most of the woodland has been replaced by houses, and multi-million dollar homes line the river banks and sit atop the bluffs. Hardly a place to “live deliberately;” so, like Thoreau, he sought a quieter, simpler life deep in the woods.

“Deep in the Woods” is a description no visitor to Tedford’s newly opened Citico Wildlife Wilderness will challenge. The last power or telephone pole you will see is more than two miles away. What electricity he needs is powered by the sun. His “central heat and air” is his wood pile and windows that stay open all summer.

The residence is on one of the highest peaks on the property. Visitors are speechless, enjoying the breathtaking views of mountains within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Cherokee National Forest. The house is constructed entirely of nine species of wood from trees Tedford logged and hauled himself to local saw mills during the past quarter century.

For years, people around Tellico Plains referred to Tedford as “that feller up there with the Deer Farm.” On weekends, the road around the farm would be busy with vehicles driving by hoping to catch a view of a herd of deer that at one time numbered more than 1,000 Fallow, Sika, Axis, Pere David’s, and Elk. He always welcomed anyone who wanted to look, but economic realities helped him conceive a plan of how he might better cover his feed bill.

Then, his livelihood consisted of supplying his deer to other animal operations all across America and working as a fencing contractor. During that time he became known as an “expert” in his field, serving as a consultant and supplying animals to many State and Federal research facilities. He also represented Deer Farmers and presented papers at national and international meetings. Many articles Tedford has written have appeared in publications in Europe and New Zealand as well as the United States and Canada.

His fencing work included some of the most successful zoos and wildlife parks in America, providing the opportunity to learn how the experts operated and also a source for the wide variety of species that now populate Citico Wildlife Wilderness. Aside from a herd of very unusual cattle, visitors can observe other animals native to Europe, Africa, South America, China, India, Sulawesi, and Java.

Tedford’s first adventure up Citico Creek was in 1963, when he joined some cousins on a bear and boar hunt. He carried fond hope of returning all through university and jobs in the cities of Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, and Guatemala City. Having travelled extensively to more than 20 countries and 44 states, he is convinced that there is no better place in the world to live than East Tennessee.

Citico Wildlife Wilderness is a product of his dreams, decades of hard labor, and his desire to share his blessings with folks who couldn’t conceive that a place like this exists.

Tours are available by reservation only. Call (423) 253-2353.

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East Tennessee's Mountain Views

P.O. Box 209

Vonore, TN 37885

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