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Map to Carroll Cabin Barrens

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COUNTY: Decatur ACREAGE: 200
7.5 QUADRANGLE: Bath Springs OWNERSHIP: State of Tennessee


Carroll Cabin Barrens is a 200-acre natural area located near the Tennessee River in Decatur County. It was previously owned by Weyerhaeuser Company and was designated as a natural area in 2002. The State received the property from Weyerhaeuser as a donation. Carroll Cabin Barrens is a series of dramatic Silurian aged limestone glades and barrens. The glades and barrens are well developed and occur in longitudinal bands on the hillsides above the Tennessee River. Little bluestem (Schizachrium scoparium) dominates the open, gravelly portions of the glades as well as the margins. Forbs, unique to the glades and barrens complex, grow sporadically in open glades and congregate around the barren periphery. The surrounding woods are a mixture of hardwoods of varied ages with the edges of the glades dominated by stunted eastern red cedars (Juniperus virginiana). The most common forest is an oak-hickory with short leaf (Pinus echinata) and Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana).

Carroll Cabin Barrens is located in the Western Valley of the Tennessee River, which is recognized by some experts as a separate physiographic region with a unique flora. The Silurian glades and barrens are floristically similar to but lacking the endemism associated with Middle Tennessee glades. There are several state rare plants considered disjunct from the Southern Great Plains and Ozarks found at Carroll Cabin that give an interesting western affinity to the flora. Rare plant species found at Carroll Cabin Barrens include the state threatened barrens silky aster (Aster pratensis), hairy fimbristylis (Fimbristylis puberula), and slender blazing star (Liatris cylindracea), and state special concern blue sage (Salvia azurea var. grandiflora). The Silurian limestone outcroppings in the Western Valley are considered some of the most extensive in the un-glaciated United States. This glade/barrens complex is classified as a Western Valley Limestone Hill Barren community and is considered a globally imperiled community.


There is a joint cooperative agreement in place between the Decatur County Parks and Recreation department 190 Civic Lane, Parsons, TN 38363, phone (731) 847-6225 and the Division of Natural Heritage, Jackson Environment Assistance Center, 362 Carriage House Drive, Jackson, TN 38305, phone (731) 512-1369. Division of Natural Heritage, 14th Floor, L&C Tower, 401 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37243-0447, phone (615) 532-0431.


A parking area is provided at the trail head entrance located at the corner of Smith Gravel Pit Road and Carroll Cabin Road. Visitors may Hike the two mile trail to enjoy the scenic beauty of the park. There is an information Kiosk located at the trail head adjacent to the parking lot to give visitors an overview of the park and its boundaries.


From Interstate 40, exit at U.S. Hwy 69/641 (exit #126). Continue south through Parsons (crossing Hwy 412) and Decaturville (crossing Hwy 100). From the 4-way stop at Hwy 100, go approximately 11 miles. Turn left on Bob's Landing Road and continue for about 1.5 miles then turn right on Smith Gravel Pit Road. The natural area is on the right hand side of the road after the first curve to the left.


Brian Bowen
Natural Areas Program Administrator


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