Dry Branch Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area

Dry Branch_Aug 25 2010_AJT

Dry Branch is 2,169-acre natural area in Lewis County on the Western Highland Rim. Previously a registered state natural area owned by International Paper, The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee purchased the property in 2006 and sold it to the State in 2007. That same year it was designated a state natural area. There are no parking lots or trails on the property.

The natural area is significant because it contains the globally rare Highland Rim Grass-of-Parnassus Seepage Fen. This community contains a number of rare plants including the federally endangered Tennessee yellow-eyed grass (Xyris tennesseensis). Worldwide, Tennessee yellow-eyed grass only occurs in fourteen sites in five localized areas. Tennessee’s seven populations all occur in Lewis County, but the species also occurs in Alabama and Georgia. Dry Branch protects the largest and least disturbed population of Tennessee yellow-eyed grass known in Tennessee. Other rare plants in the fen include hairy umbrella sedge (Fuirena squarrosa), smallhead rush (Juncus brachycephalus), largeleaf grass of Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia), and low nutrush (Scleria verticillata).

The natural area also protects small-scale examples of seeps, glades and barrens. These communities are found along Dry Branch (the stream) and its tributaries. One of Tennessee’s rarest spike-rushes, twisted spike-rush (Eleocharis tortilis) occurs in an acidic seep upslope from a limestone seep. Upland communities at Dry Branch contain oak-hickory and mixed pine-hardwood communities common to the Western Highland Rim. Loblolly pine plantations, planted before natural area designation, also make up a portion of the uplands. Due to the rich diversity of rare species and plant communities, Natural Heritage Methodology ranks Dry Branch’s biodiversity as B1 or “outstanding,” the highest biodiversity rank.

Site Management

Division of Natural Areas, Jackson Environmental Field Office, 1625 Hollywood Drive, Jackson TN 38305, phone (731) 512-1369. 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

Closed to the Public
There is no public access to this area.

Parking: No

Trail: No

Dogs on Leash: No

Hunting: No

Fishing: No

Camping: No


Directions are not provided
since there is no public access. Click on the map link to view its location.


Details & Map

  • Map of Dry Branch
  • Owned by the State of Tennessee
  • Graves Spring 7.5-minute quadrangle
  • Western Highland Rim Physiographic Province
  • Designated in 2007