Public use restricted to non-motorized use only

Nashville – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry (TDF) is amending and extending the temporary restrictions of Franklin State Forest located in Franklin and Marion Counties.

Public motorized vehicle use will continue to be prohibited while nonmotorized traffic, such as hiking, horseback riding, and mechanical bicycles will be allowed through Jan. 4 2024.

“Damage from motorized vehicles, especially in non-designated areas, is extensive at Franklin State Forest,” State Forester David Arnold said. “We have been assessing conditions since March and have determined significant impact to erosion control, water quality, forest health and other forms of recreation. This extension of some restrictions will provide our forest staff time to make repairs and consider future use on all forest roads and trails to adequately protect, conserve, and enhance this public forest for future generations.”

Under the amended restrictions for Franklin State Forest, all motorized vehicle use including, but not limited to, motorcycles, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and off-highway vehicles is prohibited. This restriction is mandated pursuant to Tennessee Comp. R. & Regs. 0080-07-01-.05 for the protection of Franklin State Forest and the safety and welfare of visitors. Motorized vehicles are allowed to access the three designated parking areas on the forest.

Failure to comply with this use restriction is a violation of state law and may result in civil penalties and/or criminal charges. This order expires January 4, 2024, unless extended or otherwise rescinded by the State Forester.

Law enforcement with the department’s Agricultural Crime Unit (ACU) have continued to patrol Franklin State Forest. One arrest was made following multiple notices of violations. ACU will continue to enforce restrictions.

Foresters are working to rehabilitate damaged roads and trails. So far, TDF staff have worked nearly 1,000 hours to repair 6 miles of roads damaged by motorized vehicles.

Another 30 miles of roads and trails remain for repair and improvement.

Photo provided.

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