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Gov. Lee & Gov. Dunn Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Tennessee State Natural Areas

May 4, 2021  |  Permalink

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

CONTACT: Kim Schofinski (615) 571-3165 




NASHVILLE – Today, Gov. Bill Lee and former Gov. Winfield Dunn marked the 50th anniversary of legislation creating the Tennessee State Natural Areas, a bill with bipartisan support Dunn signed on May 4, 1971. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) hosted the event at Radnor Lake State Natural Area.

Lee proclaimed May 4, 2021 as Tennessee State Natural Areas Day.

“We are blessed with remarkable natural resources across our state, and Tennessee State Natural Areas preserve these sites for generations to come,” Lee said. “I am especially pleased that Governor Dunn could be with us to celebrate this outstanding work and achievement for our state.”   

“We take pride in protecting the environment in Tennessee, and this anniversary is an example of the lasting results of the Natural Areas program,” David Salyers, commissioner of TDEC, said. “We view this not only as a celebration of 50 years of State Natural Areas but as the state’s commitment to continue this important mission.”

Victor Ashe, former state senator, representative and Ambassador to Poland, who authored the legislation, was also at the event, as well as Roger McCoy, director of the TDEC’s Division of Natural Areas.

The Tennessee Natural Areas Preservation Act protects nearly 130,000 acres of unique natural areas and habitat in 84 State Natural Areas throughout Tennessee. Under the designation process, the program recommends new natural areas for designation, the Tennessee General Assembly amends the act, and the governor signs the legislation making the natural area protected by law. 

The intent is to provide long-term protection for Tennessee’s rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal life. Designated natural areas are publicly owned or are private lands encumbered by a conservation easement. A map and list of Natural Areas throughout the state can be found online. Most designated natural areas are managed by TDEC. Some natural areas are managed through cooperative management agreements with local, other state and federal agencies, and with non-governmental organizations. 

Events were held across Tennessee in April for Natural Areas Week and on May 1 to celebrate the anniversary of the legislation. 



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