CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced that Catoosa Wildlife Management Area located in Cumberland, Morgan, and Fentress counties will be re-opened to public access effective Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011.
Catoosa WMA has been officially closed since Aug. 8, 2011 due to vandalism in the form of nails, spikes, and nail boards placed in secondary roads and fields across the area. The WMA was closed for public safety concerns related to the vandalism.
Throughout the 12-day closure, TWRA personnel have worked to find and remove the dangerous materials. As a result of the cleanup effort, TWRA officials have made significant efforts to find and remove the hazardous material and now are reasonably assured that the WMA is safe again for public use.
According to Kirk Miles, TWRA Region III Wildlife Program Manager, the re-opening of the WMA comes earlier than expected.
“When we began our cleanup efforts we set a target date of Aug. 27 to re-open Catoosa,” said Miles. “It is a testament to the dedication and diligence of Catoosa WMA personnel, who worked to find and remove the nails and spikes, that we are able to re-open the area earlier than we originally anticipated.”
As the WMA re-opens, visitors should be aware that some danger may still exist on the WMA, particularly when travelling on secondary roads and trails.
“The closure and the circumstances that led to the closure were unfortunate,” said Miles. “The actions of these vandals negatively impacted a lot of recreational users of Catoosa and negatively impacted the local economies of surrounding counties. It will be a good feeling to see Catoosa reasonably safe and open again.”
The earlier than expected re-opening of Catoosa WMA will allow the area to be accessible to the public for Tennessee’s Annual Free Hunting Day on Saturday, Aug. 27. Free Hunting Day in Tennessee is when state residents may hunt without a license. The event coincides with the opening day of squirrel hunting season.