Natural Resource Management
Natural Resource Management (NRM) represents the way we manage our land, water, plants, and animals. It includes a stewardship role that seeks a balance between allowing nature to flourish with diversity while also managing trends that could be detrimental to the ecosystem if left unchecked. For example, removing an invasive species is an example of managing our natural resources.
The Friends of Bays Natural Resource Management Committee works side-by-side with park staff to assess current conditions, develop long-term strategies, and execute any necessary changes. They coordinate with state authorities while also educating students in NRM best practices.
Fern Succession Plot - Spring 2023
Have you ever seen a rabbit on Bays Mountain? Me either! We know that people lived on Bays Mountain, but it was not the same Bays Mountain we ride, run, and hike through today. To sustain life, there had to have been more ecological diversity. There would have been grasslands on the mountain, something that has disappeared over the last 50 years. When grasslands disappear, so goes the wildlife that needs such an ecosystem. Not that we intend to bring rabbits back to Bays, but we are attempting to diversify a small part of the forest by opening up the canopy. The BMPA Natural Resources Committee, along with students from the Dobyns-Bennett Pulaski Club, has reclaimed the Fern Succession Plot by clearing the trees. Most folks would not see a chainsaw as an ecological restoration tool, but the ground speaks for itself. The crew finished clearing the trees in early May and now the ground is more full of life than it has been in, well, we'll say 50 years! The diversity is remarkable! The one acre plot had become essentially a monoculture of Poplar trees but is now home to hundreds of species of flora, including the threatened Hartford Fern. The Hartford Fern is a very rare climbing fern and Bays Mountain is one of the only places it is found in Tennessee. The shade of the Poplar trees that had dominated the area have almost eliminated this special plant and we are excited to see it rebound in the Fern Succession Plot. Stay tuned for more restorative projects within the Fern Plot and other special places on the mountain.
Bryan Kerns, NRM Committee Chair and Fire Sciences teacher at Dobyns-Bennett High School