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Natural Areas

Cave Closure Notice

Due to the occurrence of bats with white nose syndrome (WNS) in Tennessee, caves on state owned lands are closed to the public until further notice. Cave closures are in effect at this and all other state natural areas where caves are located. View more information about white nose syndrome.

Pogue Creek Mist

Natural Areas Spring Celebration - April 5-13, 2014

The Division of Natural Areas in the department’s Bureau of Parks and Conservation is dedicated to restoration and protection of plants, animals, and natural communities that represent thenatural biological diversity of Tennessee. The Bureau’s Division of Natural Areas oversees the following program areas: Natural Heritage Inventory Program, Natural Areas and Scenic Rivers Program, and administers the Tennessee Natural Areas Preservation Act of 1971, the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, the Rare Plant Protection and Conservation Act of 1985, the Ginseng Dealer Registration Act of 1983, and the Ginseng Harvest Season Act of 1985.

The Division of Natural Areas, with a staff including professional biologists, botanists, zoologists,ecologists, natural resource management specialists and data managers, conducts a wide variety of programs and activities focused on the conservation, restoration and management of Tennessee's vast diversity of natural resources. These activities include providing technical assistance and educational programs for governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, industrial and other private landowners, and educational institutions, as well as managing a statewide system of State Natural Areas and Scenic Rivers.

The Division of Natural Areas is a member of the Natural Heritage Network, a consortium of Natural Heritage Programs from each state in the U. S., and similar programs from Canada, Central and South America. The division receives technical support from, and cooperates with, Natureserve, the science and data affiliate of The Nature Conservancy.  The division’s Natural Heritage programs and Natureserve together provide a scientific basis for effective conservation and serve as a trusted source for information about rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems.