Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area


The Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade is a 185-acre natural area in Rutherford County. It is a part of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE) Percy Priest Reservoir and is also managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency as a Wildlife Management Area. The natural area is contiguous with US ACE land to the north and south, and the lake is the west boundary. The natural area is significant because it protects a globally rare cedar glade and is a recovery site for the Tennessee coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis), which was delisted as a federally endangered species in September 2011.

A very large cedar glade characterized by limestone outcropping and extremely shallow soil is a prominent feature here. A small number of barrens occur intermittently where deeper soils support perennial grasses like little bluestem and side oats grama. A cedar-hardwood forest can be seen on the south part of the natural area. Some glade plants or endemics associated with this glade include limestone fame-flower (Talinum calcaricum), Tennessee milk-vetch (Astragalus tennesseensis) and glade onion (Allium stellatum). Seeds from a population of Tennessee coneflower from private land were planted here in 1989 to aid in the recovery of this very rare species. These seeds were taken from an unprotected population of Tennessee coneflower. Major colonies of the four other populations are protected in state natural areas.

This natural area is named in honor of the late Dr. Elsie Quarterman (1910-2014), professor emerita of Vanderbilt University. Dr. Quarterman pioneered cedar glade research in the early 1950's and did much research at this site. She was an advocate for natural area protection throughout her distinguished career. Her efforts helped Tennessee in 1971 become one of the first states to pass legislation to protect natural areas in the U.S.

Site Management

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 3737 Bell Rd, Nashville, TN, 37214 phone (615) 889-1975; 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

Open to the Public - Limited Access
This site is part of the Percy Priest Wildlife Management Area and is open for public hunting under TWRA rules. Public parking and trails are not provided

Parking: No
Trail: No
Dogs on Leash: Yes
Hunting: Yes
Fishing: Yes
Camping: No


From Nashville go south on Murfreesboro Rd past the Rutherford Co. line in LaVergne. Turn left on Stones River Rd. and go about three miles. Elsie Quarterman Natural Area is on your left.

Details & Map