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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. May Prairie
 2. Barnett's Woods 44. Meeman-Shelby Forest
 3. Bays Mountain 45. Montgomery Bell
 4. Beaman Park 46. Morril's Cave
 5. Big Cypress Tree 47. Morrison Meadow
 6. Bone Cave 48. Mount View Glade
 7. Burgess Falls 49. Natural Bridge
 8. Campbell Bend Barrens 50. North Chickamauga Creek
 9. Carroll Cabin Barrens 51. Old Forest
10. Carter (Harry Lee) 52. Overbridge
11. Cedars of Lebanon 53. Ozone Falls
12. Chimneys 54. Piney Falls
13. Colditz Cove 55. Pogue Creek Canyon
14. Couchville Cedar Glade 56. Powell River
15. Crowder Cemetery 57. Radnor Lake
16. Devil's Backbone 58. Reelfoot Lake
17. Dry Branch 59. Riverwoods
18. Duck River Complex 60. Roundtop Mountain
19. Dunbar Cave 61. Rugby
20. Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade 62. Savage Gulf
21. Fall Creek Falls 63. Sequatchie Cave
22. Falling Water Falls 64. Short Mountain
23. Fate Sanders Barrens 65. Short Springs
24. Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens 66. Sneed Road Cedar Glade
25. Frozen Head 67. Stillhouse Hollow Falls
26. Gattingers Cedar Glade 68. Stinging Fork Falls
27. Ghost River 69. Stones River Cedar Glade
28. Grundy Forest 70. Sunk Lake
29. Hampton Creek Cove 71. Sunnybell Cedar Glade
30. Hawkins Cove 72. Taylor Hollow
31. Hicks Gap 73. Twin Arches
32. Hill Forest 74. Vesta Cedar Glade
33. Honey Creek 75. Vine Cedar Glade
34. House Mountain 76. Virgin Falls
35. Hubbard's Cave 77. Walker Branch
36. John and Hester Lane Cedar Glades 78. Walls of Jericho
37. John Noel at Bon Aqua 79. Walterhill Floodplain
38. Langford Branch 80. Washmorgan Hollow
39. Laurel Snow 81. Watauga River Bluffs
40. Lost Creek 82. William B. Clark
41. Lucius E. Burch Jr. Forest 83. William L. Davenport
42. Manus Road Cedar Glade 84. Wilson School Road Forest and Cedar Glades


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