HUNTSVILLE | If you ride off-highway vehicles on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area, it may soon cost you more to do so.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency on Friday presented proposed changes to the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission that would increase OHV usage fees on the sprawling WMA.
The biggest change proposed by TWRA would require each occupant of a vehicle to have a permit. Currently, only one person in each vehicle is required to have a permit.
TWRA is also proposing fee increases that would, in its words, “be more in line with nearby private parks.”
Currently, TWRA requires a high-impact habitat conservation permit to ride OHVs on the North Cumberland WMA. Alternatively, one occupant of the vehicle must have a valid hunting license and supplemental WMA permit.
The cost of the high-impact permit — which is required for horseback riders and bicyclists as well as OHV riders — is $73 for residents or $232 for non-residents. Daily permits are $15 for residents or $37 for non-residents.
A hunting license is $33 for residents or $305 for non-residents, while a special season WMA permit is $24 for residents and non-residents alike — an effective cost of $57 for residents or $329 for non-residents.
While TWRA did not specify any of the “nearby private parks” by name, two of the most prominent are Brimstone Recreation and Windrock Park. At Brimstone, adult prices are $29.30 per day or $117.17 annually. An annual permit at Windrock is $116.83 for adults.
The North Cumberland WMA consists of nearly 200,000 acres across the mountainous terrain of Scott, Morgan, Anderson, Campbell and Claiborne counties. While OHV riding on the WMA has traditionally focused on a portion of the Sundquist Unit of the WMA, east of Interstate 75 in Campbell County, OHV riding has always been permitted throughout the WMA, and is increasing in popularity. Earlier this year TWRA announced that it is adding more than 200 miles of OHV trails, including 100 miles of new trails in the New River Unit of the WMA, which falls primarily into Scott County.
TWRA said that increases in OHV use on the WMA have resulted in “increased erosion and impacts to wildlife species,” necessitating additional revenue that will be used to fund restoration work and trail management.
According to TWRA, 80% of the OHV users on the North Cumberland are non-residents who travel to the area from outside the state.
The Wildlife Commission will vote on the proposals in December.