Community Land Trust

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The Narrow Ridge Community Land Trust was established on the premise that our community includes more than humans and extends beyond any borders we create. We celebrate our kinship to all life,  as well as all that supports life on Earth. We are guided by our vision of justice for all that makes up Earth and sustainability in the way we live our lives. The Narrow Ridge vision is in alignment with the values articulated in The Earth Charter, which Narrow Ridge formally endorsed in (YEAR).

The Place

Narrow Ridge Community Land Trust is situated within 500+ acres of Appalachian countryside held in conservation by Narrow Ridge.

Narrow Ridge is located in the Valley & Ridge region of East Tennessee.  This area is characterized by numerous elongated ridges, and intervening valleys and creeks. It is bordered by the  Great Smoky Mountains to the east and the Cumberland Plateau to the west.

Norris Lake borders the northern boundary of the land trust. 

“99-year” Lease

In an effort to preserve the land beyond a single human’s lifespan, Narrow Ridge Center (a 501c3 nonprofit organization) retains title to the land in the community land trust.

“99-year” lease sites are available for a one-time lease purchase price to folks who agree to abide by conservation restrictions outlined in a lease agreement. The lease is transferable to an heir, provided that the heir agrees to the terms of the lease agreement.

45 sites averaging between 2 to 5 acres in size have been set aside for residential purposes.


Leaseholders covenant to construct their homes and relate to the land in such a way that honors the integrity of the community of life, whether human or nonhuman, near or far. Conservation restrictions include limits on home size and prohibition of clearcutting, mining, hunting, and nonorganic fertilizers and pesticides

Summary of Terms of Lease


Homes in the land trust incorporate a variety of sustainable features including:

  • Natural building materials such as straw bale
  • Reclaimed materials
  • Solar or wind energy
  • Passive Solar Design
  • Composting toilets
  • On-demand water heaters
  • Rainwater collection
  • Energy efficiency

Wilderness and Hiking

Narrow Ridge has set aside over 150 acres as wilderness that will never know human habitation.

Trails have been established in our Black Fox Wilderness, across Little Ridge, and throughout Narrow Ridge landholdings. Leaseholders may enjoy hikes through the wilderness at their leisure or take part in guided hikes led by foresters or naturalists

Community Garden

While many leaseholders enjoy growing food on their lease sites, some prefer to participate in the community garden.

Leaseholders may elect to have a small growing space of their own in the community garden or to contribute their labor to the community gardening effort in exchange for produce. The community garden also serves as a demonstration  garden for our Earth literacy programs and provides food for meals served to program participants

Earth Literacy Programs

Many leaseholders enjoy interacting with participants in Narrow Ridge programs through shared activities such as gardening, building projects, community potlucks, film nights, yoga, and meditation.

 In keeping with the old adage, “We are all teachers, and we are all learners,” the interactions between leaseholders and program participants have proven to be mutually beneficial.

Community Offerings

Throughout the year, Narrow Ridge offers a variety of community events including:

  • Community Potlucks
  • Film Nights
  • Solstice and Equinox Celebrations
  • Music Gatherings
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Hogskin History Day (annual fall festival)

fall mountain view with Round house