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Cedars of Lebanon

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.

Cedars of Lebanon State Forest Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area

Cedars of Lebanon State Forest Natural Area is a 1,043-acre natural area in Wilson County and is part of the 9,420-acre Cedars of Lebanon State Forest. The land was first acquired under the Federal Resettlement Administration during the depression in 1935. The Forest is presently owned and managed by the Division of Forestry. The natural area is part of the largest contiguous cedar glade-barren complex in public ownership and was one of the first natural areas designated in 1974. Its significance was recognized in the 1950's as a result of early cedar glade research conducted by Dr. Elsie Quarterman and her students at Vanderbilt University. In 1979, the National Park Service recognized Cedars of Lebanon State Forest as one of eight National Natural Landmarks in Tennessee.

The landscape scale size of the natural area and surrounding area encompasses nearly all the plant communities associated with the karst topography in Middle Tennessee that supports cedar glades and barrens ecosystems. Cedar glades are commonly associated with limestone outcropping and shallow soil while barrens are prominent in deeper soils. Because of the presence of deeper soils and past fire suppression, many barrens that should be grassland have undergone succession and become cedar thickets and forests that require restoration using prescribed burning. Cedars of Lebanon also provides many excellent examples of cedar and cedar-hardwood forest community types, particularly where topography varies and there are rolling hills.

These ecologically significant glade and barrens complexes support many rare and endemic plants including the federally endangered Tennessee coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis) and the federally endangered leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosa). Some of the rare state species found here include Tennessee milk vetch (Astragalus tennesseensis), evolvulus (Evolvulus nuttallianus), limestone flame flower (Talinum calcaricum) and yellow sunnybell (Schoenolirion croceum). There is much of this area's ecosystem that is fire dependent, particularly the barrens. Barrens become successional forests if not burned.

The natural area is located in the northwest section of the Forest. Its south boundary is Cedar Forest Road with its east boundary Hwy 231. The 831-acre Cedars of Lebanon State Park is adjacent to the Forest and is located to the west of Hwy 231.


Division of Forestry, Cedar Forest Road, Lebanon, Tennessee 37090, phone (615) 443-2768; Division of Natural Areas, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor, Nashville, TN 37243, phone (615) 532-0431.


Public access is allowed, parking and trails are not developed.


Approximately nine miles south of I-40 at Lebanon on Highway 231 then west on Cedar Forest Road across from the entrance to Cedars of Lebanon State Park.



COUNTY: Wilson ACREAGE: 1,043
7.5' QUADRANGLE: Gladeville, Vine OWNERSHIP: State of Tennessee