Two large rivers, the Tennessee and Cumberland, surround Land Between the Lakes. The federal government dammed these rivers in the north to create two large reservoirs — Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. These man-made reservoirs created an inland peninsula, 8-12 miles wide, 40 miles long, bordered on the north end by a cut away canal that connects both lakes. The 170,000 acre peninsula has close to 300 miles of natural shoreline. Forest covers an estimated 90% with about 10% open lands.

Wildlife diversity is extensive and provides some of the best wildlife viewing in the state. The national recreation area contains close to 1,300 flora species and 55 mammal species including bobcat, coyote, beaver, elk, and bison. Researchers, staff, and state wildlife agencies have documented over 250 species of birds. The Tennessee River offers the highest fish diversity of any river in the United States. Plants, insects, and wildflowers are well represented.

The Woodlands Nature Watch Area hosts the best opportunity to view a wide array of wildlife. The U.S. Forest Service manages this 8,500-acre area for wildlife visibility. It contains uplands, prairie, wetlands, lakeshore, and bottomland forest. The Nature Watch Area’s diverse habitats give the visitor an excellent chance to observe them. Start your wildlife viewing with Nature Station naturalists.

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