Tennessee State Parks will be conducting timber harvests and sales at Mousetail Landing State Park and Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park due to storm damage over the winter and spring. This action will necessitate the temporary closing of some trails.
Park officials plan to clear tracts of salvage timber damaged by storms in order to best establish uniform new growth in the affected areas and remove any hazards from the trail systems.
“These steps are designed with the long-term health of the parks in mind,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. “We understand this will mean a temporary inconvenience for some of our visitors, and we ask for their understanding as we address the needs of our parks.”
At Mousetail Landing State Park, the work is expected to last from June through September. All hiking trails on the park will be closed. The backcountry shelters at the park will also be closed, as well as the primitive group camp.
At Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, the work is expected to last from June through August. All trails north of Pilot Knob will be closed as well as the group campground.
The timber sale at each park will be overseen by the park manager and a consulting forester to ensure best practices are observed throughout the process. A detailed bid and selection process will be used, and the contractor will clear the trails system and affected surroundings of hazardous trees for the safety of park guests and the re-establishment of a healthy forest. Each park will implement a plan for growth of hardwood forest with early successional habitat established in the next few years.
June 1, 2020 Update: Tennessee State Parks are open for day-use visitors and overnight guests. Park hours may vary from normal operations in response to COVID-19. Availability of inventory for online booking may be lower than normal as the park pursues social distancing. Certain parks or areas of parks may close if they reach capacity.
Most state park boat rental operations will open this summer. Hours and operating procedures will vary by park. Each park will implement additional safety and sanitation protocols to protect park staff and visitors and encourage social distancing.
Boaters are encouraged to bring their own life jacket or approved personal floatation device (PFD).
Tennessee State Parks is allowing park-hosted events for groups of 50 people or less. Large community events held within Tennessee State Parks will be assessed based on the ability of each event to meet social distancing guidelines. Special Use Permits will continue to be required with additional plans made in regard to how specific events can accomplish social distancing, hygiene, and cleaning requirements as outlined by the CDC.