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Big Cypress Tree

Natural Areas Contact

Brian Bowen, Program Administrator
State Natural Areas Program
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor
(615) 532-0436
brian.bowen@tn.gov
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Big Cypress Tree Class I Scenic-Recreational State Natural Area

Big Cypress is a 270 acre natural area occurring adjacent to a section of channelized Middle Fork of the Obion River (MFOR) in Weakley County. The natural area is primarily forested with bottomland hardwood and bald cypress forest). A bald cypress forest is present in the many sloughs and the depressional areas along the river.  Bald cypress forest is comprised of bald cypress, river birch, sweet gum, sycamore, overcup oak, water oak, willow oak, and cherrybark oak. The bottomland hardwood forest that occurs at higher locations includes green ash, swamp chestnut oak, red maple, and slippery elm with some white oak.

The natural area includes the remains of the largest bald cypress tree in the United States and largest known tree species east of the Mississippi River. The stately cypress, historically referred to as the “Tennessee Titan”, stood at 175 feet tall, 40 feet in circumference, 13 feet in diameter, and was estimated to be 1350 years old. Unfortunately, the tree was struck by lightning in July 1976.

The bottomland and the sloughs surrounding the Middle Fork of the Obion River provide habitat for wildlife and opportunities for bird watching. Swainson’s warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii), a bird deemed in need of management in Tennessee, is known from the natural area and surrounding bottomland. Persistent wet conditions have closed the Big Cypress Tree trail. The MFOR must be forded to reach the site of the big cypress tree and at this time no signage exists for direction. Crossing the MFOR is not recommended. Contact the Division of Natural Heritage or Tennessee State Parks for access information. Future trail development is pending. More information about Big Cypress can be found at: http://www.tnstateparks.com/BigCypress/

Site Management

Big Cypress Tree State Park, 295 Big Cypress Rd., Greenfield TN 38230, phone (731) 235-2700. Division of Natural Areas, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor, Nashville, TN 37243, phone (615) 532-0431. Division of Natural Areas, Jackson Environmental Field Office, 1625 Hollywood Drive, Jackson TN 38305, phone (731) 512-1369. Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, 200 Lowell Thomas Drive, Jackson TN 38307, phone (731) 423-5725.

Public Access

Limited public access; parking area is provided but hiking trails in the forested river bottom are not open at this time.

Directions

From Jackson, take U.S. Hwy 45E north through Greenfield: then just north of Greenfield, turn left on Kimery Store Rd., and follow the road for approximately 8 miles to the state park entrance on the right.

 

 

COUNTY: Weakley ACREAGE: 330
7.5' QUADRANGLE: Rutherford OWNERSHIP: State of Tennessee
PHYSIOGRAPHIC PROVINCE: Coastal Plain YEAR DESIGNATED: 1973