The popular elk viewing tower at Hatfield Knob on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area near Lafollette in northeast Tennessee is scheduled for reconstruction in the coming weeks.
Crews will begin demolition and removal of the current viewing platform beginning February 12, 2022. Upon its removal, crews will begin erecting a new tower to better accommodate the viewing public. It is estimated the project will take 4-6 weeks to complete, depending on weather.
The meadow and original viewing tower were a long-time labor of love by Terry and Jane Lewis, both Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers who lived on a nearby farm. They poured a great deal of sweat equity and financial sacrifice into the project by designing and purchasing building materials for the tower in 2005. Five years earlier, they wrapped up three years of weekend work to clear thick trees and vegetation from more than 40 acres of reclaimed mine land. They also planted wildlife food plots.
Because safety is the top priority for all parties involved, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will close the Hatfield Knob viewing area to the public until the project is complete. Signs will be posted to identify closed areas.
Elk around Hatfield Knob are used to human presence. They may possibly continue to use the area and be viewed on the TWRA’s live elk cam.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)