KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Several changes are coming to the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced new trails, safety regulations and mapping initiatives for Off-Highway Vehicle use in the area.
The trail additions will bring the total amount of Off-Highway Vehicle trails to 300 miles within NCWMA. In the past 25 years, NCWMA has grown from 53,000 acres to almost 204,000 acres. TWRA has expanded its managed OHV trail system to accommodate the increase in recreational use.
Currently, TWRA is developing 100 miles of new trails on the New River Unit and 100 miles of new trails on the Ed Carter Unit. The work on the New River trails is expected to be completed by 2025. TWRA has partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to lay out the Ed Carter Unit trails. The management plan in place between the agency and TNC allows for a maximum of 150 miles of trails and roads.
TWRA also received grant funding to create a 20-mile connector trail through the Royal Blue Unit. This trail will link the Sundquist Unit with the New River Unit.
“Our goal is to have a sustainable, managed trail system that can be enjoyed by all users for years to come while focusing on the primary objective of the WMA, which is wildlife management,” said NCWMA Manager Keith Thomas. “It is always the priority of TWRA to place the safety of our sportsmen, conservation of our lands, and the wellbeing of our wildlife resources at the forefront of our efforts.”
To address safety concerns, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to restrict alcohol use on WMAs to designated locations such as agency-maintained campgrounds. The provision will be applied to alcohol use with using OHVs. TWRA also wanted to remind riders that DUI laws apply on state-managed trails and public roads.
TWRA has also launched a new initiative to improve the digital mapping of the WMA to offer more resources for properly navigating trails. The maps will be available online once they are finished.
A valid permit is required for OHV use on the WMA. For more information on licensing, visit North Cumberland WMA | State of Tennessee, Wildlife Resources Agency (tn.gov).