Throughout North and South America, Bridgestone Americas donates land, time, and funding to groups working to improve the local habitat for both people and wildlife.
In September 1998, Bridgestone Americas donated 4,000 acres of virtually untouched land near Sparta, Tennessee, to the State of Tennessee. In April 2000, then chairman and CEO Masatoshi Ono donated an additional 6,000 acres to the people of Tennessee, in honor of the Centennial of The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, to create the Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness. This land is one of the last large untouched wilderness areas east of the Mississippi.
Known locally as Scott’s Gulf and managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the Wilderness is a tract of untold complexity and magnificent beauty. It is located near Bledsoe State Forest and Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park and Natural Area, includes a 16-mile stretch of the Caney Fork River, and encompasses the watershed of Virgin Falls State Natural Area. The area contains hardwood forests, river gorges, scenic overlooks, waterfalls, wildflowers, unexplored caves, and many rare or endangered flora and fauna.
The Wilderness is open for limited, low-impact public use, including fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and hunting. Due to the desire to maintain the land as wilderness, no manmade structures will be built in the river gorge, motorized vehicles are prohibited from all but a few authorized areas and no timber will ever be commercially harvested.
To find out more about the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness, please visit here.
In addition to the Centennial Wilderness area, Bridgestone Americas has established 10 other wildlife habitat areas. The campuses of our tire plants in Warren County, Tennessee; Wilson County, North Carolina; and Aiken County, South Carolina, include sizeable refuges for native plans and animals.
In Cecil County, Maryland, Bridgestone Americas assumed responsibility for a municipal landfill with a groundwater contamination problem. Together with the Wildlife Habitat Council, Bridgestone Americas transformed the site into “The New Beginnings Woodlawn Wildlife Area.” The restoration program included planting native wildflowers, planting shrubs and trees on and around the landfill cap, and placing raptor perches on the landfill. Additionally, we purchased 58 acres of land adjacent to Woodlawn, for the purpose of encouraging community involvement and environmental education. The success of the Woodlawn project led to a similar landfill restoration in Akron, Ohio, at The Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL).
It doesn’t stop there. In 2007, our tire manufacturing plant in Oklahoma City was shut down. Bridgestone Americas doated 60 acres of land there for wildlife habitat and community use. Twenty acres are now used by the Western Heights School District, where ground has been broken for a new elementary school and multiple outdoor learning settings. The remaining forty acres is set aside for wildlife habitat restoration and open space.
To see a complete list of the habitats developed by Bridgestone Americas, click here.