Tennessee State Parks Announces Temporary Natural Area Closure
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Tennessee State Parks would like to inform the general public that the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area, which is a portion of the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, will be closed for the month of June, and will reopen on July 1.
The temporary closure will block off the park entrance at Montlake Road in Hamilton County, along with the trailhead. Maintenance, construction, visitor protection, and resource protection projects are scheduled in response to damage from years of unauthorized parking, trampling and erosion.
Volunteers are needed to assist with the rehabilitation efforts on June 6, 9, 14, 17, 21, 25 and 28. Five new trails will be developed as designated access points to the banks of Chickamauga Creek. All of the current rogue trails will be closed, so the natural area grounds can be improved. Volunteers should bring gloves, food and drink, insect repellant and wear pants and boots.
“In an effort to preserve and protect the fragile environment in this section of the park, our Division of Natural Areas has recommended a temporary closure in order for these significant species to rejuvenate,” said Brock Hill, Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Conservation. “During this time, our park staff will be enhancing the trail system, as well as making efforts to provide a safe and fun experience for park guests at ‘North Chick’.”
The North Chickamauga Creek Gorge acquisition was completed using a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Land Acquisition Grant. The objective of this grant-funded land acquisition project was to protect and conserve the habitat and known occurrences of three federally listed species: large-flowered skullcap (Scutellaria montana), Virginia spiraea (Spiraea virginiana), and bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).
Volunteer registration is available by contacting (423) 566-2229 or Marcianne.Oday@tn.gov. For more information about the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, please visit http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/cumberland-trail.
Tennessee State Parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. There is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in the state, offering a variety of recreational, lodging and dining choices. For more information about Tennessee State Parks, visit http://tnstateparks.com/, https://www.facebook.com/tennesseestateparks or https://twitter.com/TennStateParks.