Wildflower and Wildlife Viewing View All
This preserve is only 9 acres, so focus on the plants. View All
Situated within the Stones River basin of Davidson County, Mount View Road Cedar Glade is a significant cedar glade that was protected by The Nature Conservancy in 1990. Although the glade itself is small, its self-maintaining nature allows a great diversity of species to coexist together, thus making Mount View one of the best examples of a healthy cedar glade ecosystem. Along with its endless virtues as a quintessential cedar glade, Mount View preserve contains several species of special ecological interest.
Middle Tennessee, Davidson County
Despite its relatively common glade appearance, Mount View has one feature unique to only a handful of other cedar glades in the world: the presence of the Tennessee coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis), a flowering plant that is much loved among the conservation community.
The coneflower was believed to be extinct until it was accidentally rediscovered at the Mount View cedar glade in 1968 and now flourishes in five remaining populations. In August 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Tennessee coneflowers's removal from the Endangered Species List, indicating that it was thriving and had become a conservation success story.
In addition, Mount View contains thriving populations of a large number of endemic plant species such as the Tennessee milk vetch (Astragalus tennesseensis) and the Nashville breadroot (Pediomelum subacaulis), as well as several species of amphibians.
The coneflowers begin to bloom in late May to early June and persist through July or August, but other flowers (such as the Nashville breadroot) begin to bloom in early April.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
This site is where the Tennessee coneflower was rediscovered in 1968 by Vanderbilt University biologist Elsie Quarterman and her graduate student Barbara Turner. At the time, the coneflower had been thought completely extinct. Their rediscovery of the flower led to discovery of other Tennessee coneflower sites in Davidson and Wilson counties.
Then in July 1989, while doing coneflower research on the site, local biologists noticed a "for sale" sign on the property. Concerned, they alerted the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, who brought The Nature Conservancy on board to try and save this rare site. The Conservancy negotiated with the property owners and purchased this 9-acre tract in February 1990.
It was a timely save. Mount View is one of the very few cedar glades in middle Tennessee to have survived the torments of time and development while remaining virtually unharmed. The site has endured the inundation caused by the damming of the Stones River and the creation of Percy Priest Lake in 1968, and it survived despite a long history of grazing in the area. For the most part, Mount View has maintained its original qualities. As a result of the rediscovery of the Tennessee coneflower at this location, the plant became the first Tennessee native to be included on U.S. Endangered Species List, and today the coneflower is much more widely known and appreciated. In addition, its populations are healthy enough that it is no longer on the Endangered Species List.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
This 9-acre preserve is fenced to keep out trespassers. In 2005, The Nature Conservancy transferred the preserve to the state of Tennessee to be a State Natural Area.
View a video about the Tennessee coneflower, featuring images by nature photographer Byron Jorjorian.
Bring your camera in spring and summer to capture images of the iconic Tennessee coneflower.
Long pants and sleeves, hiking boots, hat and drinking water are recommended. During warm weather light color and light-weight clothing is suggested.
From Nashville go east on I-24, exit at Hickory Hollow Parkway Exit 60. Turn right at first stoplight on Mount View Road and go east across Murfreesboro Road (two and a third miles) and continue about one and a half miles to Mount View Natural Area. Parking area is on the right.