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Natural Areas Program

Natural Areas Contact

Brian Bowen
Program Administrator, State Natural Areas Program
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor
(615) 532-0436
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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.

Link to Natural Areas Program

The Natural Areas Program was established in 1971 with the passage of the Natural Areas Preservation Act (T.C.A. 11-14-101). Since passage of this act, the General Assembly has designated 83 State Natural Areas. Management and use of State Natural Areas is governed by this act and the Rules for the Management of Tennessee Natural Resources Areas. Many of these Natural Areas are managed through Cooperative Management Agreements with other local, state and federal agencies as well as with non-governmental organizations.

In addition, the Natural Areas Program administers the Natural Areas Registry Program which develops non-binding voluntary agreements with private and public landowners to protect sites of ecological importance. There are presently over 30 such Registered State Natural Areas. The Natural Areas Program seeks to include adequate representation of all natural communities that make up Tennessee's natural landscape, and provide long term protection for Tennessee's rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal life.

The National Natural Landmarks Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of our country's natural history. It is the only natural areas program of national scope that identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership nationwide. National Natural Landmarks (NNLs) are designated by the Secretary of the Interior, with the owner's concurrence. To date, fewer than 600 sites have been so designated. The National Park Service administers the NNL Program. Thirteen NNLs have been established in Tennessee, 6 of which are designated State Natural Areas (Bone Cave, Cedars of Lebanon Forest, May Prairie, Piney Falls, Reelfoot Lake, and Savage Gulf) and 1 is a registered State Natural Area (Sinking Pond and Goose Pond at Arnold Engineering and Development Center). View more information on the NPS National Natural Landmark Program. (Rules for Management of Tennessee Natural Resources Areas)

Natural areas represent some of Tennessee's best examples of intact ecosystems and serve as reference areas for how natural ecological processes function. Research activities that provide greater knowledge of these processes are permitted upon approval of the Division of Natural Heritage. Applications for Scientific Research Collecting Permits may be obtained and submitted to the Division of Natural Areas for considerations. Upon approval, a Permit will be returned to the applicant and must be in the applicants possession when conducting permitted research activities. State law prohibits any collection of plant, animal or mineral from State Natural Areas without a valid Scientific Research-Collecting Permit.

State Natural Areas
 1. Auntney Hollow 43. Meeman-Shelby Forest
 2. Barnett's Woods 44. Montgomery Bell
 3. Bays Mountain 45. Morril's Cave
 4. Beaman Park 46. Morrison Meadow
 5. Big Cypress Tree 47. Mount View Glade
 6. Bone Cave 48. Natural Bridge
 7. Burgess Falls 49. North Chickamauga Creek
 8. Campbell Bend Barrens 50. Old Forest
 9. Carroll Cabin Barrens 51. Overbridge
10. Carter (Harry Lee) 52. Ozone Falls
11. Cedars of Lebanon 53. Piney Falls
12. Chimneys 54. Pogue Creek Canyon
13. Colditz Cove 55. Powell River
14. Couchville Cedar Glade 56. Radnor Lake
15. Crowder Cemetery 57. Reelfoot Lake
16. Devil's Backbone 58. Riverwoods
17. Dry Branch 59. Roundtop Mountain
18. Duck River Complex 60. Rugby
19. Dunbar Cave 61. Savage Gulf
20. Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade 62. Sequatchie Cave
21. Fall Creek Falls 63. Short Mountain
22. Falling Water Falls 64. Short Springs
23. Fate Sanders Barrens 65. Sneed Road Cedar Glade
24. Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens 66. Stillhouse Hollow Falls
25. Frozen Head 67. Stinging Fork Falls
26. Gattingers Cedar Glade 68. Stones River Cedar Glade
27. Ghost River 69. Sunk Lake
28. Grundy Forest 70. Sunnybell Cedar Glade
29. Hampton Creek Cove 71. Taylor Hollow
30. Hawkins Cove 72. Twin Arches
31. Hicks Gap 73. Vesta Cedar Glade
32. Hill Forest 74. Vine Cedar Glade
33. Honey Creek 75. Virgin Falls
34. House Mountain 76. Walker Branch
35. Hubbard's Cave 77. Walls of Jericho
36. John and Hester Lane Cedar Glades 78. Walterhill Floodplain
37. John Noel at Bon Aqua 79. Washmorgan Hollow
38. Langford Branch 80. Watauga River Bluffs
39. Laurel Snow 81. William B. Clark
40. Lucius E. Burch Jr. Forest 82. William L. Davenport
41. Manus Road Cedar Glade 83. Wilson School Road Forest and Cedar Glades
42. May Prairie  


Brian Bowen
Program Administrator, State Natural Areas Program
(615) 532-0436