While many people have taken to visiting parks and natural areas to avoid getting cabin fever during their COVID-19 self-isolation, one area they won't be able to visit is Short Springs Natural Area.

The Tennessee Division of Natural Areas announced via Facebook that the Shorts Springs Natural Area would be closed to all until "at least April 10" due to COVID-19 concerns.

According to Kim Schofinksi with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which runs the state parks and natural areas, the decision was made in conjunction with the limited use announcement at all state parks earlier this month.

"Park and Division management has the discretion to implement various operational protocols to ensure visitor safety," she said in an email to The News. "Among those are the temporary closure of high-traffic areas if it’s deemed necessary to ensure the safety of the public and our staff. Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas continue to evaluate operations in light of COVID-19.

"We recently announced a series of measures at state parks, including a transition to day-use only hours and the closure of most public facilities, that are designed to continue to provide healthy outdoor spaces while also providing more protections for our neighbors and our staff. See details here."

While certain aspects of natural areas and state parks are closed to the public for the time being, Schofinski still encouraged Tennesseans to safely visit the outdoors and practice social distancing and follow CDC-recommended guidelines for hygiene.

According to the Facebook post, staff will determine if the closure will need to be extended on the 10th.

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.

Staff Writer

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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