Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

A wooden walkway over some water, extending into a stand of green trees.
Raised walkway, Natchez Trace Parkway, 2014.

NPS Photo.

Natchez Trace Parkway revisits the path that was once used as a historic travel corridor by American Indians, boatmen known as "Kaintucks," European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. It passes through urban and undisturbed forested and natural areas in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The parkway supports a great variety of plants, plant complexes, and forest associations, and a great variety of vertebrate animals.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is surrounded by a mosaic of natural and human-altered landscapes.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2014

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes within the Natchez Trace Parkway, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2014. National Park Service representatives evaluated park needs and available data and chose 10 resource topics to assess:

- Ozone

- Fish assemblages

- Weather and climate

- Bird assemblages

- Water quality

- Herpetofauna assemblages

- Terrestrial vegetation

- Wildlife damage

- Forest pests and disease

- Adjacent land use

Overall, the resource conditions within Natchez Trace Parkway were in fair condition. Three resource topics were in good condition to moderate concern (forest pests and diseases, bird assemblages, herpetofauna assemblages); five resource topics were rated as having a condition of moderate concern (ozone, water quality, terrestrial vegetation, fish assemblages and adjacent land use); and two resource topics were not ranked due to lack of reference data/difficulty finding a ranking method (weather and climate and wildlife damage). A number of threats are present in the parkway, including damage by feral hogs and beavers, adjacent landscape change, and invasive plants. Managers will continue to address these challenges well into the future.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: June 30, 2022


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