North Chickamauga Creek Gorge SNA Closed in June

Tennessee State Parks Announces Temporary Natural Area Closure

Portion of the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area will close during July and reopen on July 1

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

North Chickamauga Closure release

2 Responses to North Chickamauga Creek Gorge SNA Closed in June

  1. I’m glad that an effort is being made to rejuvenate and protect the parks but I would have done it at a different time of year. These parks that have the blue holes and fishing areas and the hiking trails are places where kids and families go to have fun and be outside and active. Now that the parks are closed for half of the summer, all of those people that visit the blue holes and hike the trails will have to go elsewhere. I personally think the closure should have been done in the spring before school was out. This summer closure is ridiculous.

    • The Friends of the Cumberland Trail

      Katie, we understand your frustration– North Chick is one of our favorite places too and it was not easy for anyone to have it closed during the month of June when everyone is ready for a dip in the creek. The reason June was chosen as the month of closure is that it is the critical time of year for the protected species that are the reason North Chickamauga Creek Gorge is under management as a State Natural Area. Those species were being trampled and destroyed by foot traffic that was straying from authorized paths. Hopefully, now that the land has had a bit of a rest and paths to the creek banks are more clearly-delineated, those federally and state-listed species will have a better chance of persisting into the future.

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