Tennessee's Wildlife Observation Area Program

The public generally has inadequate knowledge about 1) good places to observe quality wildlife populations and 2) habitat requirements for such populations. Wildlife observation areas are designed to help resolve both problems. Of 28 sites designated between 1981 and 1983, 75% are in cooperation with other agencies. Cooperative plans for each area are site-specific, but the owner-cooperator is normally the lead agency for enhancing wildlife observation opportunities and interpretative programs. By blending programs of similar interests, good opportunities are provided for improving enjoyment and public support of all wildlife resources at a minimal cost. A major goal of Tennessee's Nongame Wildlife Program is to provide the public with maximum opportunities for enjoyment of wildlife. Another goal is to better educate the public about habitat requirements of wildlife. Wildlife observation areas (WOA's) are designed to accomplish both these objectives. “Hot spots” for quality wildlife observation are identified for public use, while interpreting ecological values that make such quality populations possible. There is a substantial interest in watching and photographing wildlife. Surveys indicate that more than 2.8 million Tennesseans (61 %) participated in such activities in 1980 (U.S. Dep. Int. Fish and Wildl. Servo and U.S. Bureau of Census 1982b).

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