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 »
Mechanical Fuel Reduction
Mechanical fuel reduction is the removal of downed fuel from a treatment area by hand and with small equipment. Great care is taken to ensure the area is minimally impacted.
When areas with high fuel loads are found near urban and smoke sensitive areas (such as major roads), mechanical fuel reduction is used. This is of particular importance for the Natchez Trace Parkway, since there is a considerable amount of interface with neighboring communities.
In 2009, eight high-value acres were treated with a GyroTrac, a specially designed implement that removes unwanted brush while creating little disturbance to the soil. The acres were treated to restore native blackbelt prairie, reduce non-native Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), or decrease heavy fuels in the wildland urban interface.
A GyroTrac uses aluminum tracks that have minimal impact on the soil. The "drum" on the front end spins, and the many teeth on the drum shred vegetation in its path. The drum can be raised and lowered, which allows the operator to remove trees and shrubs up to 8-10 inches in diameter. The result is a bed of shredded mulch where unwanted vegetation once existed. Parks frequently conduct prescribed burns or follow up with specified chemical treatments to ensure the unwanted vegetation does not come back. The GyroTrac used is owned by the NPS's Southeast Region, and is available to parks throughout the region on request.
Did You Know?
The Mount Locust Inn and Plantation, dating back to the 1780's, is one of the oldest original structures along the Natchez Trace Parkway.