Cheatham State Wildlife Management Area near Ashland City, TN hosts one of the most beautiful wildlife refuges. It features 20,000 acres of Tennessee hill country. Ashland City is known as a neighborhood city in the Nashville area and allows travelers a quiet respite from the big city. Biking, birdwatching and hunting are a few of the activities that attract the vacationer who wants to get in touch with nature while staying at a Cumberland Furnace Inn.
Cheatham Wildlife Management Area
1299 Headquarters Rd.
Ashland City, TN 37015
Cheatham Wildlife Management Area is the Ashland City, TN place to go for those of you who follow birds. Geese, swans and ducks love the refuge, and many have made the dam area their home. The waterfowl enjoy Cheatham Lake, which was created in 1957 when the Cheatham Lake Dam was closed on the Cumberland River, thus creating the refuge. The highest concentration of Cliff Swallows can be found there as well, with the dam boasting an average of 3,000 or more nesting at the refuge each year. Your most exciting view may well be the bald eagles nesting just above the dam year round. These birds have been in the refuge since the early 1990s and will take your breath away.
With about 3,000 acres of land and water designated for hunting (plus approximately 2,500 additional acres available) the wildlife refuge allows opportunity for deer, elk, turkey and dove hunting. The refuge requires that you gain permission from property owners if you need to travel through their property to the location that you hope to hunt. Hunting is not allowed within 100 yards of any dwelling. Special permits are needed to hunt at the refuge. You can contact the Area Manager to find out about the requirements necessary at the time of your visit.
Fishing is popular as well, and largemouth bass, white bass, sauger, catfish and rockfish are regularly taken from the lake. Bring the family along, since crappie and bream fish, also known as pan fish, are copious in supply. A fishing license is needed for all fishing in the refuge. You can contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Online License Center to obtain the needed permits.
Hikers, bikers and horseback riders will enjoy the Bicentennial Trail, featuring six and a half miles on the "Rails to Trails" project. It utilizes trails that were originally created as train tracks. The Lock A Nature Trail, (within the Lock A Campground) not only allows hikers views of hawks, herons and sweet gum trees, but also gives a historical perspective regarding the life of the lock keeper. The old homestead was used while constructing and operating Lock A from 1895 to 1953, when the old lock was replaced by the permanent lock there today. This Ashland City treasure is open to the public and features the home, outbuildings and the old ice house from the days of yore. Its something you'll talk about whenever you discuss your visit to a Cumberland Furnace Bed and Breakfast.