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The Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
(also known as the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
or simply the Trace) is a National Parkway
National Parkway
in the southeastern United States that commemorates the historic Old Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
and preserves sections of the original trail. Its central feature is a two-lane parkway road that extends 444 miles (715 km) from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. Access to the parkway is limited, with more than fifty access points in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The southern end of the route is in Natchez at an intersection with Liberty Road, and the northern end is northeast of Fairview, Tennessee, in the suburban community of Pasquo, Tennessee, at an intersection with Tennessee
Tennessee
State Route 100. In addition to Natchez and Nashville, the larger cities along the route include Jackson and Tupelo, Mississippi, and Florence, Alabama.[5][6] The All-American Road is maintained by the National Park Service, to commemorate the original route of the Natchez Trace.

Contents

1 Maintenance 2 History

2.1 Footpath 2.2 Civilian Conservation Corps 2.3 Gaps and completion

3 Historical sites on the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway 4 Parkway
Parkway
highlights

4.1 Natchez to Jackson 4.2 Jackson to Tupelo 4.3 Tupelo to Tennessee
Tennessee
state line 4.4 Tennessee

5 Gallery 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Maintenance[edit] The road is maintained by the National Park Service
National Park Service
and has been designated an All-American Road. Commercial traffic is prohibited along the entire route, and the speed limit is 50 miles per hour (80 km/h), except north of Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, and Ridgeland, Mississippi, where the speed limit is reduced to 40 miles per hour (64 km/h). The total area of the Parkway
Parkway
is 51,746.50 acres (209.4 km2), of which 51,680.64 acres (209.1 km2) are federal, and 65.86 acres (0.3 km2) are non-federal. The Parkway
Parkway
is headquartered in Tupelo and has nine district offices: Leipers Fork, Meriwether Lewis, Cherokee, Tupelo, Dancy, Kosciusko, Ridgeland, Port Gibson, and Natchez. The Parkway
Parkway
also manages two battlefields: Brice's Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
Brice's Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
and Tupelo National Battlefield.[7] History[edit] Footpath[edit] Main article: Natchez Trace The gentle sloping and curving alignment of the current route closely follows the original foot passage. Its design harkens back to the way the original interweaving trails aligned as an ancient salt-lick-to-grazing-pasture migratory route of the American bison and other game that moved between grazing the pastures of central and western Mississippi
Mississippi
and the salt and other mineral surface deposits of the Cumberland Plateau. The route generally traverses the tops of the low hills and ridges of the watershed divides from northeast to southwest. Native Americans, following the "traces" of bison and other game, further improved this "walking trail" for foot-borne commerce between major villages located in central Mississippi
Mississippi
and middle Tennessee. The route is locally circuitous; however, by traversing this route the bison, and later humans, avoided the endless, energy-taxing climbing and descending of the many hills along the way. Also avoided was the danger to a herd (or groups of human travelers) of being caught en-masse at the bottom of a hollow or valley if attacked by predators. The nature of the route, to this day, affords good all-around visibility for those who travel it. At all times the route is on the high ground of the ridge dividing the watersheds, and affords a view to either see or catch the scent of danger, from a distance great enough to afford time to flee to safety, if necessary.

Old Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
sign southwest of Mathiston, Mississippi

By the time of European exploration and settlement, the route had become well known and established as the fastest means of communication between the Cumberland Plateau, the Mississippi
Mississippi
River, and the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
settlements of Pensacola, Mobile, and New Orleans. In the early post- American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
period of America's (south) westward expansion, the Trace was the return route for American flat-boat commerce between the territories of the upper and lower Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland River
Cumberland River
valleys. The Americans constructed flat-boats, loaded their commerce therein, and drifted upon those rivers, one-way south-southwestward all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana. They would then sell their goods (including the salvageable logs of the flat-boats), and return home via the Trace (for the middle section of their return trip), to as far away as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Improved communications (steam boats, stagecoach lines, and railroads) and the development of ports along the rivers named above (e.g., Natchez; Memphis, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky) made the route obsolete as a means of passenger and freight commerce. As a result, no major population centers were born or developed along the Trace, because of its alignment, between its termini Nashville and Natchez. The two cities of note, near or on the Trace's alignment (Jackson, Mississippi
Mississippi
and Tupelo, Mississippi), developed only as a result of their alignment along axes of communication different from the Trace. Thus the Trace and its alignment are today almost completely undeveloped and unspoiled along its whole route. Many sections of the original footpath are visible today for observing and hiking the Parkway's right-of-way. Civilian Conservation Corps[edit]

Entrance sign to the parkway near Natchez, Mississippi

Construction of the Parkway
Parkway
was begun by the federal government in the 1930s. The development of the modern roadway was one of the many projects of the Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
during the Great Depression. The road was the proposal of U.S. Congressman T. Jeff Busby of Mississippi, who proposed it as a way to give tribute to the original Natchez Trace. Inspired by the proposal, the Daughters of the American Revolution began planting markers and monuments along the Trace. In 1934, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
administration ordered a survey. President Roosevelt signed the legislation to create the parkway on May 18, 1938.[7] Construction on the Parkway
Parkway
began in 1939, and the route was to be overseen by the National Park Service. Its length includes more than 45,000 acres (182 km²) and the towering Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
Bridge in Williamson County, Tennessee, completed in 1994 and one of only two post-tensioned, segmental concrete arch bridges in the world. The Emergency Appropriations Act of June 19, 1934, allocated initial construction funds and established it as a parkway under National Park Service by act of May 18, 1938. Gaps and completion[edit]

The Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
seen from Twentymile Bottom Overlook, milepost 278.4, about 20 miles northeast of Tupelo, MS.

For many years in the later 20th century, most of the trace had been complete, but owing to a lack of funds, two gaps remained, especially one, a several-mile-long bypass of Jackson, Mississippi. These final two segments, between Interstate 55
Interstate 55
and Interstate 20
Interstate 20
(in Ridgeland and Clinton, Mississippi, respectively); and between Liberty Road in the city of Natchez, Mississippi
Mississippi
and U.S. Highway 61
U.S. Highway 61
near Washington, Mississippi, were finally completed and opened on May 21, 2005. The Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
Land Conveyance Act of 2013 (S. 304; 113th Congress) [8] is a bill that was introduced during the 113th United States Congress.[9] The bill would require the National Park Service (NPS) to convey about 67 acres of property in the Natchez Trace Parkway
Parkway
to the state of Mississippi. The legislation also would adjust the boundaries of the parkway to include 10 additional acres.[10] The two pieces of land in question originally belonged to Mississippi
Mississippi
and were donated to the National Park Service
National Park Service
when the NPS was trying to determine where to end the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway.[11][12] Historical sites on the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway[edit]

Captain John Gordon's house on the site where the Natchez Trace crosses the Duck River. Originally a ferry operated by Gordon and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
Chief William Colbert was located here. Gordon and his wife built this Federal style plantation home which is one of the oldest structures along the trace.

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There are numerous historical sites on the Parkway, including the Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis
Museum, the refurbished Mount Locust stand, Historic French Camp, MS, and the Mississippi
Mississippi
Craft Center in Ridgeland, Mississippi, which focuses on promoting Mississippi's native art. Nestled between the Parkway
Parkway
and Old Port Gibson Road is the ghost town of Rocky Springs that thrived in the late 19th century. Today, the old Rocky Springs Methodist Church, the cemetery, and several building sites still exist and are accessible from the Parkway. Scenic Cypress Swamp is located at Mile Post 122. There are also several cascading waterfalls to view; for access, some require a bit of hiking from the parkway. In addition, parts of the original trail are still accessible. The history of the Natchez Trace, including the Parkway, is summarized at the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Visitor Center in Tupelo, Mississippi. Emerald Mound, the second largest Native American ceremonial mound in the United States, is located just west of the Trace and north of Highway 61 near Natchez. It offers a unique look at the ingenuity and industry of native culture. Two smaller mounds rise from the top of the main mound and rise above treetops offering a wide view. Travelers can reach Emerald Mound
Emerald Mound
with a five-minute detour from the main trace highway. Emerald Mound
Emerald Mound
measures 770 feet (230 m) by 435 feet (133 m) at the base and is 35 feet (11 m) in height. The mound was built by depositing earth along the sides of a natural hill, thus reshaping it and creating an enormous artificial plateau. The Ackia Battleground National Monument (established August 27, 1935 and now called Chickasaw
Chickasaw
Village) and Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis
Park (proclaimed as Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis
National Monument February 6, 1925 and transferred from the War Department August 10, 1933) were added to the parkway by the act of August 10, 1961. Parkway
Parkway
highlights[edit] Highlights, based on the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
website, are listed below.[citation needed] Natchez to Jackson[edit]

Milepost 10.3 Emerald Mound 15.5 Mount Locust 41.5 Sunken Trace 54.8 Abandoned Town of Rocky Springs

Jackson to Tupelo[edit]

Milepost 105.6 Ross Barnett Reservoir
Ross Barnett Reservoir
Overlook 107.9 West Florida Boundary 122.0 Cypress Swamp 203.5 Historic settlement of Pigeon Roost 232.4 Bynum Mounds 261.8 Chickasaw
Chickasaw
Village Site

Tupelo to Tennessee
Tennessee
state line[edit]

Milepost 266 Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
Visitor Center 269.4 Old Trace 286.7 Pharr Mounds 327.3 Colbert Ferry, also site #12 on the North Alabama
Alabama
Birding Trail 330.2 Rock Spring Nature Trail, also site #10 on the North Alabama Birding Trail

Tennessee[edit]

Milepost 385.9 Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis
Monument 391.9 Fall Hallow Trail 401.4 Tobacco Farm and Old Trace Drive 404.7 Trail to Jackson Falls and Baker Bluff Overlook 438 Bridge at Birdsong Hollow

Gallery[edit]

Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
Bridge over SR 96 in Tennessee

Rocky Springs Methodist Church

Rocky Springs Cemetery

Cypress Swamp

Scenic waterfall

Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis
National Monument and gravesite

Mount Locust

See also[edit]

Blue Ridge Parkway Loveless Cafe

References[edit]

^ "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-18.  ^ a b AN ACT To provide for the administration and maintenance of the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway, in the States of Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, by the Secretary of the Interior, and for other purposes. 52 Stat. 407, enacted 18 May 1938. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-18.  ^ " Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway". National Park Service. Retrieved August 24, 2016.  ^ The National Parks: Index 2001-2003. Washington: U.S. Department of the Interior ^ National Park Service, Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway
Parkway
Fact Sheet, February 25, 2010 ^ a b "Distribution of Administrative History, Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway" (PDF). National Park Service. p. 177. Archived from the original (Scanned into Adobe Acrobat (PDF)) on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  ^ S. 304 ^ "S. 304 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 13 September 2013.  ^ "CBO - S. 304". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 13 September 2013.  ^ "House Republican Conference's Legislative Digest on S 304". House Republican Conference. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2013.  ^ "Congress passes bill to give city 'bean field' property". Natchez Democrat. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway.

"Guide to records (general administrative files) of Natchez Trace National Parkway". OurArchives.wikispaces.net. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013.  " Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway". National Park Service.  "The Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Compact". ScenicTrace.com.  Federal Highway Administration's photo of the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway Bridge

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Wilderness areas

Cheaha Wilderness Dugger Mountain Wilderness Sipsey Wilderness

Other protected areas

Little River Canyon National Preserve Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
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State

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Natchez

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Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
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National Wildlife Refuges

Bogue Chitto Coldwater River Dahomey Grand Bay Hillside Holt Collier Mathews Brake Mississippi
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Buccaneer Clark Creek Natural Area Clarkco Florewood George P. Cossar Golden Memorial Grand Gulf Military State Park Great River Road Holmes County Hugh White John W. Kyle J. P. Coleman Lake Lincoln Lake Lowndes LeFleur's Bluff Legion Leroy Percy Natchez Paul B. Johnson Percy Quin Roosevelt Shepard Tishomingo Tombigbee Trace Wall Doxey

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Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (web)

v t e

Protected areas of Tennessee

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Fort Donelson National Battlefield Fort Donelson National Cemetery Shiloh National Cemetery Shiloh National Military Park Stones River National Battlefield Stones River National Cemetery

National Recreation Areas

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

National Trails System

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
National Scenic Trail Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

National Forests

Cherokee National Forest

National Wildlife Refuges

Chickasaw Cross Creeks Hatchie Lake Isom Lower Hatchie Reelfoot Tennessee

Wilderness Areas

Bald River Gorge Big Frog Big Laurel Branch Citico Creek Cohutta Gee Creek Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Little Frog Mountain Pond Mountain Sampson Mountain Unaka Mountain

Other Protected Areas

Foothills Parkway Gatlinburg Bypass Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
Parkway Obed Wild and Scenic River

State

East Tennessee State Parks

Big Ridge Booker T. Washington Cove Lake Cumberland Mountain David Crockett Birthplace Fall Creek Falls Fort Loudoun Frozen Head Harrison Bay Hiwassee/Ocoee Indian Mountain Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail Norris Dam Panther Creek Red Clay Roan Mountain Rocky Fork Seven Islands Sycamore Shoals Warriors' Path

Middle Tennessee State Parks

Bicentennial Capitol Mall Bledsoe Creek Burgess Falls Cedars Of Lebanon Cordell Hull Birthplace Cummins Falls David Crockett Dunbar Cave Edgar Evins Fall Creek Falls Harpeth River Henry Horton Johnsonville Long Hunter Montgomery Bell Mousetail Landing Old Stone Fort Pickett Port Royal Rock Island Sgt. Alvin C. York South Cumberland Standing Stone Tims Ford

West Tennessee State Parks

Big Cypress Tree Big Hill Pond Chickasaw Fort Pillow Meeman-Shelby Forest Nathan Bedford Forrest Natchez Trace Paris Landing Pickwick Landing Pinson Mounds Reelfoot Lake T.O. Fuller

State Forests

Bledsoe Cedars of Lebanon Chickasaw Chuck Swan Franklin John Tully Lewis Lone Mountain Martha Sundquist Natchez Trace Pickett Prentice Cooper Scott Standing Stone Stewart

State Natural Areas

Auntney Hollow Barnett's Woods Bays Mountain Beaman Park Big Bone Cave Campbell Bend Barrens Carroll Cabin Barrens Glade Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lee Carter Chimneys Colditz Cove Couchville Cedar Glade Crowder Cemetery Barrens Devils Backbone Dry Branch Duck River Complex Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Falling Water Falls Fate Sanders Barrens Flat Rock Cedar Glade & Barrens Gattinger’s Cedar Glade & Barrens Ghost River Grundy Forest Hampton Creek Cove Hawkins Cove Hicks Gap Hill Forest Honey Creek House Mountain Hubbard’s Cave John & Hester Lane Cedar Glades John Noel at Bon Aqua Langford Branch Laurel-Snow Lost Creek Lucius Burch Jr. Forest Manus Road Cedar Glade May Prairie North Chickamauga Creek Gorge Overbridge Old Forest Ozone Falls Piney Falls Pogue Creek Powell River Radnor Lake Riverwoods Roundtop Mountain Rugby Savage Gulf Sequatchie Cave Short Mountain Short Springs Sneed Road Cedar Glade Stillhouse Hollow Falls Stinging Fork Falls Stones River Cedar Glade & Barrens Sunk Lake Sunnybell Cedar Glade Taylor Hollow Twin Arches Vesta Cedar Glade Vine Cedar Glade Virgin Falls Walker Branch Walls of Jericho Walterhill Floodplain Washmorgan Hollow Watauga River Bluffs William B. Clark William R. Davenport Refuge Wilson School Road Window Cliffs

Other

Catoosa Wildlife Management Area

Tennessee
Tennessee
Department of Environment and Conservation (web) - Tennessee Department of

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