Yanahli Wildlife Management Area
"The Yanahli Wildlife Management Area (WMA), within the Duck River watershed, is one of the most diverse destinations in Tennessee. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has set aside this magnificent wilderness to be used by everyone from hikers to anglers to hunters to horseback riders to mountain bikers.
"In April 2002, the state of Tennessee transferred 12,600 acres of land near Columbia, Tennessee, to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). This land would eventually become the Yanahli WMA. There are 2,100 acres included as state natural areas. Yanahli is located in southern Middle Tennessee, about an hour's drive south of Nashville. It is one of close to 90 WMA's across the state" ("TWRA Trail Ride").
"A 2004 donation by General Motors to The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee will support that agency's work within the Duck River. Some of the funds will be used to develop trails, parking, signs and kiosks within the 800 acres of Cheek's Bend in the Yanahli Wildlife Management Area" ("GM Donates to The Nature Conservancy," 2004).
GM Donates to The Nature Conservancy. General Motors Corporation, 2004. Last available from the World Wide Web <http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/environment/partnerships/conservancy/tnc_110904.html>.
"TWRA Trail Ride." Tennessee's Wild Side Episode 507. Last available from the World Wide Web <http://www.tnwildside.org/stories.asp?Story=284>.
Duck River Complex: Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area
"The Duck River Complex is a 2,135-acre natural area complex in Maury County that consists of six natural areas within the 12,800-acre Yanahli WMA. It is managed by the TWRA as a WMA. These natural areas nested within the WMA support federal and state listed species often associated with cedar glades, significant native plant communities or natural features such as subterrain karst caves, sinkholes, barrens, forests, and streams.
"Included are 1): Columbia Glade (327-acres); 2): Moore Lane Glade (331-acres); 3): Sowell Mill (306-acres). All of which are cedar glade ecosystems. Rare plants found here include the federally endangered leafy prairie-clover (Dalea foliosa), limestone blue star (Amsonia tabernaemontana var. gattingeri), limestone fame-flower (Talinum calcaricum), Tennessee milkvetch (Astragalus tennesseensis), and glade cress (Leavenworthia exigua var. exigua); 4): Howard Bridge Glade (321-acres) is comprised of cedar glade habitat, woodlands, and karst topography. Duck River bladderpod (Lesquerella densipila) occurs here. 5): Rummage Cave (50-acre) supports a rare woodrat population and the federally endangered gray bat (Myotis grisescens). It is a short horizontal cave that terminates in five successive oval rooms about 15 feet high and 30 feet wide. 6): Cheek Bend (800-acres) includes high quality representative cedar glades, scenic bluffs overlooking the Duck River, and extensive cedar and hardwood forests.
"The importance of the Duck River Complex is also enhanced because of its association with the Duck River State Scenic River. There are thirteen miles of the 30-mile state scenic river corridor that flow through this 12,800-acre public land. The Duck River is noted for rich faunal diversity, particularly the several federal endangered mussel species that occur there. These natural areas were designated to assure that federal and state listed species were protected when TVA transferred the Columbia Dam lands to the state for public use. There has not been public access developed for any of these six natural areas to date."
Duck River Complex: Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Last available from the World Wide Web <http://www.state.tn.us/environment/nh/natareas/duckriv/>.
Facts About the Yanahli Wildlife Management Area
A Land of Cultural Heritage
"'Yanahli' is a Chickasaw word meaning "to flow," as in a river. The name was chosen to reflect the Chickasaw heritage and the tremendous impact the river and the people who lived and camped along it have had on the region. In the 18th century, the Chickasaw language was the primary language used for inter-tribal communication by all tribes along the lower Mississippi River. (Original Source <www.chickasaw.net>.)
"Evidence of every cultural period in the Southeast has been found along the river--from the end of the last Ice Age through the early statehood of Tennessee. People have lived, hunted, and farmed along the river for at least 11,000 years.
"Archaeological investigations conducted by the University of Tennessee under contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority revealed that a pre-historic Indian site at Cheek Bend Cave revealed that small bands of hunters and gatherers had used the cave for over 10,000 years. (Original Source: TDEC Division of Archaeology archives.)
"In the late 1800s and early 1900s, settlers moved to the area and began farming the land. Remnants of mills such as Holland's Mill and Branch's Mill remain as monuments to the lives that were built along the Duck River. Much of the land through which the Duck River flows today is agricultural, reflecting this long-standing heritage.
"Columbia and the Duck River were the site of Civil War actions during November and December of 1864. General John Bell Hood took Columbia during a skirmish with Union Major General John Schofield in November, and Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest defended the river crossings here in December. (Original Source: <www.americancivilwar.com>.)
Globally Significant Natural Treasure
"According to The Nature Conservancy, the Upper Duck River watershed, including the section that flows through the new wildlife management area, contains the second highest number (33) of at-risk fish and mussel species, as well as the second highest number (13) of federally endangered fish and mussel species in the nation. Over 500 species, including aquatic plants, fish and invertebrates, have been documented in the Duck River, including at least 39 mussel and 84 fish species.
"The endangered birdwing pearly mussel is found in great numbers in only the Duck River. Due to its declining numbers and increasing threats, this small mussel species was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1976 and was included on a 1980 list of the 'ten most endangered' species. (Original Source: Tennessee Conservationist Magazine.)
"University of Tennessee researchers found that a species of owl had been using the Cheek Bend Cave for up to 16,000 years. By tracking evidence of changes in the owl's diets over time, the researchers found that the climate of Middle Tennessee 12,000 and 16,000 years ago was similar to modern-day Minnesota, and that the Columbia area was an open, grassy plain, much different from what had been previously believed. Today, the Duck River flows through forests, cedar glades, and agricultural lands. (Source: TDEC Division of Archaeology Archives.)
"Governor Don Sundquist worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority to secure the return of the 12,800 acres originally slated for construction of Columbia Dam to the people of Tennessee. Under the agreement with TVA, the state will manage the land for preservation, recreation, community use, and water supply.
"Hunting opportunities are available at the Yanahli River Wildlife Management Area, and camping is available on the Duck River at nearby Henry Horton State Park, located upstream of the scenic river section in Marshall County. Fishing on the Duck is always popular, yielding catches of small-mouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, and catfish from both boat and bank along the river. (Source: Columbia Daily Herald.)
"The Duck River offers canoeists a relaxing and peaceful float. There are sand and gravel bars along the way, providing an opportunity to step out of the canoe and view the sycamores and willow trees that line the river's banks and see the herons and wild turkeys that live nearby. The river in this area alternates between long stretches of deep-flat water pools with occasionally shallow shoals to hurry canoes along." (Source: Bob Duncan, Maury County Historian.)
Interesting Facts about the Yanahli Wildlife Management Area. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Last available from the World Wide Web <http://www.state.tn.us/environment/columbialands/Yanahli1.pdf> and <http://www.state.tn.us/environment/columbialands/Yanahli2.pdf>.