Vesta Cedar Glade Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area

Vesta Cedar Glade is a 150-acre natural area in Wilson County. It is in the Central Basin of Middle Tennessee and is located in the southwest corner of Cedars of Lebanon State Forest. The natural area is cooperatively managed with the Tennessee Division of Forestry with about 60-acres of the property included in the state forest. Vesta is comprised of cedar glades, barrens and cedar-hardwood forest communities. It is a flat landscape with exposed limestone outcropping and sinkhole features that are characteristic of the karst topography that influences cedar glade ecology.

Vesta is most noteworthy because it supports a large abundance of Tennessee coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis), which was delisted as a federally endangered species in September 2011. It primarily occurs within a ten-acre fenced in area. It also occurs where there are pockets of glades surrounded by cedar-hardwood forest within the state forest, and in a less pristine open grassland outside the fenced area where prescribed burning is being used to restore barrens. In addition to Tennessee coneflower, other rare species include southern prairie dock (Silphium pinnatifidum), purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea), and glade cleft phlox (Phlox bifida ssp stellaria).

This globally rare Middle Tennessee cedar glade is associated with exposed limestone outcropping and shallow soils. The deeper soil barrens support perennial bunch grass like little bluestem. Woody plants invade barrens in the absence of management. These areas are maintained by mowing and prescribed burning. A two-mile loop trail provides a view of cedar glade and barrens habitat.

Site Management

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

Public access is allowed. A parking area and hiking trails are provided.

Directions

Vesta is located on Moccasin Road in Wilson County. From I-840 exit on to Couchville Pike and go east approximately two miles on Couchville Pike which turns into Vesta Road then turn left on Moccasin Road and go approximately one mile to the parking area on the left. From I-40 exit at Hwy 231 and proceed south for approximately nine miles and turn right on Vesta Rd. and go approximately two miles and turn right on Moccasin Road.

Details & Map

  • Map to Vesta Cedar Glade
  • Owned by the State of Tennessee
  • Gladeville 7.5-minute quadrangle
  • Central Basin Physiographic Province
  • Designated in 1986
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