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Walker Branch Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area

Swamp_Walker

Walker Branch is a 225-acre natural area located three miles south of Savannah in Hardin County. The property was purchased with wetland acquisition funds by TWRA who cooperatively manages the site with the Natural Areas Program. It is located in the West Tennessee Uplands, a subunit of the Coastal Plain Physiographic Province. The preserve “straddles” the immediate floodplain of the Tennessee River with its steep hills rising abruptly 225 feet and forming the adjacent uplands. Seeps occur along the lower and mid slopes and drain into the many small spring feed sand and gravel bottomed creeks at the base of the hills. These seep-fed creeks flow in and out of the marshes and swamp forests.

Undisturbed examples of a bald cypress forest emerge at the base of these hills grading into mature tupelo gum (Nyssa aquatica) forest in the floodplain. A mesic forest comprised of northern red oak, American beech, tulip poplar, and white oak is found on lower to mid slopes. Southern red oak and short leaf pine are dominant species that occur on drier slopes and ridges. The many forest types at Walker Branch provide a colorfully diverse shrub layer ranging from indigo bush, deciduous holly, American beautyberry, big-leafed snowbell, hearts-a-bustin, wild azalea, and blueberries.

The seeps and wetlands provide significant breeding habitat for dragonflies and damselflies. An astonishing 44 species of these taxa have been identified at Walker Branch. Examples include Laura’s clubtail, arrowhead spiketail, harlequin darner, great blue skimmer, and the treetop emerald. State rare and endangered plant species that are protected at this preserve include the American featherfoil (Hottonia inflata), waterpod (Hydrolea quadrivalvis), and lamance iris (Iris brevicaulis). There is a vast diversity of sedges, rushes, and ferns in this wet, lush natural area. Hunting is allowed. Contact TWRA for more information.

Site Management

Division of Natural Areas, Jackson 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. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Region I Office, 200 Lowell Thomas Dr., Jackson, TN 38301, phone 731-423-5725.

Public Access

Open to the Public - Limited Access
A small parking lot is provided off of Pittsburg Landing Road. There are no designated trails on the property.

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

Directions

From Hwy 64 in Savannah, take Hwy 128 south for approximately 2.8 miles and turn right onto Diamond Island Road. Stay left as the road splits at McGinley Loop. Diamond Island Road becomes Pittsburgh Island Road at the intersection of Musselers Lane. From this intersection go approximately 2,000 feet on Pittsburgh Island Road to the natural area parking lot on the left.

Details & Map

  • Map to Walker Branch
  • Owned by the State of Tennessee
  • Pittsburg Landing 7.5-minute quadrangle
  • West TN Uplands Physiographic Province
  • Designated in 1997