Rules for Use of TVA Public Lands
The United States of America owns and TVA manages approximately 293,000 acres of land Valley-wide (TVA public lands) as part of our mission of service. Much of this land is undeveloped, meaning just that—wild land available for informal recreation, untouched by civilization and free from modern facilities. Popular activities on these lands include hunting, hiking, birdwatching and camping.
Developed lands come with amenities such as swim beaches and fishing berms, campgrounds and picnic pavilions. The options for fun on these developed lands are plentiful.
We invite you to use and enjoy these beautiful public lands and to help us preserve them for future generations. All uses of TVA public lands are subject to federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations. If there is a conflict between federal rules/laws and other laws, federal rules/laws prevail. Failure to comply may result in immediate removal from the property and other actions deemed appropriate by TVA and/or law enforcement officials.
The following rules apply to all TVA public lands unless otherwise posted; specific rules for the use of developed and undeveloped TVA public lands are outlined below.
Trash and litter
- Leaving trash or litter on TVA property is prohibited. Anything determined to be trash or litter in TVA’s sole discretion is subject to immediate disposal. Charges may apply.
- Cutting, damaging, pulling up or driving nails into trees, shrubs or other vegetation is prohibited. Violators will be subject to all costs associated with the property damage, including the value of the damaged vegetation and/or the cost to restore the vegetation.
- Hanging lanterns on trees is prohibited (the heat from a lantern will cause damage to and potentially kill a tree).
- TVA has no objection to the collection of non-poisonous mushrooms, berries, fruits, and nuts for personal, non-commercial use. TVA does not require a permit for the collection of these resources. Ground disturbance or removal of the entire plant (except mushrooms) associated with this activity is prohibited.
- Campfires are prohibited in all caves, including within 200 feet of cave entrances.
- Obey all fire restrictions. Do not leave campfires unattended. Campers are responsible for keeping fires under control. Fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times. Campfires must be completely extinguished before leaving the area. Campers are encouraged to buy local firewood to minimize the spread of invasive pests (please check sites such as dontmovefirewood.org for more information). Cutting live or standing trees on TVA property for firewood or other uses is prohibited.
- Entry into caves—whether gated or ungated—is prohibited. Restrictions are in place to mitigate the continuing spread of disease, including white-nose syndrome, and to prevent disturbance to breeding colonies. Requests for approval to enter caves for academic or research purposes must be submitted to TVA’s Public Land Information Center at 1-800-882-5263 or [email protected] and receive pre-approval in writing from TVA.
- Blocking or modifying cave entrances is prohibited.
- Any conduct intended to disturb bats or other wildlife in caves or as emerging from caves is prohibited.
Land-disturbing and other activities
- Construction of temporary or permanent structures on TVA property without approval is prohibited. Portable items such as picnic tables, chairs, tents and hammocks may be used on TVA land subject to the length of stay requirements below. Unapproved structures will be subject to immediate removal and disposal at TVA's sole discretion. Charges may apply.
- The excavation, removal, damage, alteration or defacement of federal property—including but not limited to signs, kiosks, fences, boundary markers or vehicular barriers—is prohibited. Violators will be subject to all costs associated with property damage. Any activity affecting archaeological resources is a felony offense and is prohibited by federal law.
- The operation or use of any noise-producing device in such a manner as to unreasonably disturb, annoy or endanger others is prohibited.
- The use of metal detectors is prohibited.
Limitation of Liability
- TVA cannot guarantee the safety of the person or property of any user. If you choose to recreate on TVA public lands, you do so at your own risk.
- To the extent permitted by law, TVA disclaims liability for any injury to any person or property or loss of life or property related to the use of TVA land for recreation activities.
Rules for Use of Undeveloped TVA Public Lands
Length of stay
- Stays on undeveloped TVA public lands are limited to a maximum of 14 consecutive days within any 30-day period, unless otherwise posted. After 14 days, users must move outside of a 10-mile radius before re-establishing a site. Use of TVA public lands is a privilege. Any person found to be in violation of the Rules for Use of TVA Public Lands will be required to leave regardless of their length of stay.
- All personal property, including but not limited to vehicles and vessels, on TVA property after the 14-day stay limit are subject to impoundment and/or immediate removal at TVA’s sole discretion. Charges may apply.
- Recreational use of motorized vehicles, including but not limited to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs), on TVA public lands—including within reservoir drawdown zones—is prohibited.
- Unattended recreational vehicles (RVs) and personal property may not be left overnight.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or Drones)
- Unless otherwise posted, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) may be operated on or over undeveloped TVA public lands in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations. Public operation of drones is prohibited on developed TVA public lands as outlined in the Rules for Use of Developed TVA Public Lands section below.
- Operation of drones may not harass, harm or otherwise interfere with any person, personal or real property, natural resources, wildlife or TVA operations or activities on or over TVA public lands.
- Drones may not be abandoned. Unattended drones may not be left overnight. Any unattended drones are subject to immediate removal at TVA’s sole discretion.
- Violators will be subject to immediate removal from TVA property and all applicable civil or criminal remedies. Owners and/or operators of drones are liable for all damages caused by the possession, operation or use of a drone. TVA assumes no liability with regard to the operation or use of drones.
Hunting, firearms and alcohol
- Unless otherwise posted, hunting and fishing are permitted on undeveloped TVA public lands in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations. Hunting is prohibited on other TVA lands—such as TVA dam reservations, power plant reservations, power substations, and developed recreation areas (such as campgrounds and day-use areas)—unless otherwise posted.
- Unless otherwise posted, possession and use of firearms and other weapons are permissible on undeveloped TVA public lands subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations. If there is a conflict between federal laws
, federal laws and requirements prevail.
- Unless otherwise posted, consumption of alcohol on undeveloped TVA public lands is governed by applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations.
Rules for Use of Developed TVA Public Lands
Developed TVA public lands offer amenities to enhance the user experience. Examples of developed TVA public lands include dam reservation campgrounds, pavilions, and day-use areas. See TVA Day-Use Areas and Pavilion Rules for more information. Campers must follow Campground Rules and Regulations.
- Pets are allowed on all reservoirs except Boone Dam Reservation (due to its high number of visitors). TVA encourages visitors to follow all local city and country leash ordinances. We also urge you to please pick up after your pets. Help keep your public lands clean!
- Those not in compliance with the rules will be asked to remove their pets from TVA property
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or Drones)
- Public operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) is prohibited on and over all developed TVA public lands, facilities, or structures—including but not limited to TVA dam reservations and developed recreation areas (such as campgrounds and day-use areas) power plant reservations, power substations, and transmission lines.
- Violators will be subject to immediate removal from TVA property and all applicable civil or criminal remedies. Owners and/or operators of drones are liable for all damages caused by the possession, operation, or use of
a drone. TVA assumes no liability with regard to the operation or use of drones.
To the extent permitted by law, TVA disclaims liability for any injury to any person or property or loss of life or property related to the use of TVA land for recreational activities. TVA does not endorse or receive funding from any external website listed herein.