North Cumberland WMA
You’re Looking At: The Cumberland Mountains on a foggy autumn morning.
The North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area sprawls across nearly 200,000 acres in five Tennessee counties (Morgan County, in addition to Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne and Scott counties), making it the Volunteer State’s largest contiguous tract of public property, outside Cherokee National Forest.
The North Cumberland WMA is one of the United States’ premiere destinations for ATV riders and off-road enthusiasts. A growing number of businesses in the region cater to these ATVs, including supply stores, campgrounds, AirBnB rentals, outfitters, and more.
The WMA is also home to the second-largest free-ranging elk herd east of the Mississippi River (the largest being in eastern Kentucky). A select number of elk hunting permits are awarded through a quota system each year.
While hunting on the North Cumberland WMA isn’t recognized as being as good as hunting on the Catoosa WMA, the North Cumberland is home to big game animals that include whitetail deer, wild turkey, black bears and feral boar. Other game animals include squirrels, upland game birds like ruffled grouse, and raccoon.
The North Cumberland is perhaps best-known among wildlife enthusiasts for its rare or endangered species. Many migratory species of songbirds inhabit the mountainous forests, including the rare Cerulean and golden-winged warblers, as well as scarlet tanagers. Birdwatching is a popular activity on the WMA. Among aquatic species are the green salamander, rainbow darter, scarlet shiner and upland burrowing crayfish.
Endangered species include the Indiana bat, Northern Long-eared bat, Allegheny wood rat, Werhle’s salamander, Emerald darter, Cumberland arrow darter, black-sided dace and more.
Please note that entry to the WMA requires a valid Tennessee hunting license and WMA permit (Type 001 plus Type 093 or 094), or a Type 220 or Type 221 usage permit. These are available wherever hunting licenses are sold.
The WMA is also home to the Cumberland Trail.