• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

    Parkway AL,MS,TN

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Short Construction Delays Possible Near Tupelo, MS (milepost 264.4)

    Repairs on a bridge will require one-lane closures of the Parkway for about 1/4 mile near Tupelo. Work is expected to be completed in fall of 2014. Please use caution due to construction traffic around the work area. More »

  • Portion of National Scenic Trail Near Tupelo Closed to Hikers

    Part of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (NOT the Parkway) near Tupelo, MS, has been closed until 2015 due to construction under Tupelo's Major Thoroughfare Construction Project. Parkway travelers may expect delays, but no detours are expected. More »

  • Ammendments to the Superintendent's Compendium

    Launching, landing or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Natchez Trace Parkway is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent. More »

Fire Effects Monitoring Data

Monitoring Data

The NPS has established the Fire Management Handbook, a standardized protocol for collecting data (download it at http://www.nps.gov/fire/fire/fir_eco_mon_fmh.cfm). In general, the following data is collected before and after the fire:

  • Photographs--to capture the general appearance of the area
  • Tree data--diameter, height, condition
  • Fuel load--amount of woody debris and litter on the ground
  • Cover of non-woody species
  • Density of seedlings and shrubs
  • Plant diversity--occurrence of different plant species
  • Burn severity, char height, and scorch height data--immediately after the fire,

In addition, weather and fire behavior are monitored during the burn. This includes such data as:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Cloud Cover
  • Flame length
  • Rate of spread
  • Smoke column characteristics
  • Torching, spotting, or crowning

What are the monitoring results?

Although 80 monitoring plots along the Parkway have been installed, the datasets are not complete for all plots, and not all monitoring plots have been burned. Therefore, the sample size is too small to make definitive conclusions about the effects of fire. However, some trends in fuel load and small tree density reduction are evident. These trends are beneficial for the health of this ecosystem. Differences in the structure of the forest can be seen from photographs.

Photo of a monitoring plot before the area put into a burn rotation.
Preburn photos of loblolly pine forest along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
NPS Photo
Photo taken of monitoring plot one year after a prescribed burn.
Postburn photo of loblolly pine forest along the Natchez Trace Parkway taken one year after the burn.  Note that large diameter woody debris remains, but that litter layer and small diameter debris have been reduced.
NPS photo.

Did You Know?

Boatmen from the Ohio River Valley walked along the Natchez Trace.

The "Kaintucks", or boatmen from the Ohio River Valley, would walk approximately 500 miles from Natchez to Nashville along the Natchez Trace in about 30 days.