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.

Vegetation

  • 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.

Fires

  • Campfires are prohibited in all caves, including within 200 feet from 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 www.dontmovefirewood.org for more information). Cutting live or standing trees on TVA property for firewood or other uses is prohibited.

Caves

  • 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 plic@tva.gov 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 or that is not otherwise regulated is prohibited. 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 the 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.

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 at least one river mile before re-establishing a site.
  • 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.

Vehicle use

  • 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.

Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

  • Drones may be operated on or over undeveloped TVA public lands in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations, unless otherwise posted.  Please note, however, that 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 any and all consequences or 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

  • Hunting and fishing are permitted on undeveloped TVA public lands in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, unless otherwise posted. Please note, however, that 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.
  • 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, unless otherwise posted. If there is a conflict between federal rules/laws and other laws, federal rules/laws prevail.
  • Consumption of alcohol on undeveloped TVA public lands is governed by applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, unless otherwise posted.

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.

Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

  • Public operation of 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)—as well as power plant reservations, power substations and transmission lines, unless permitted by applicable law or regulation.
  • 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 any and all consequences or damages caused by the possession, operation or use of a drone.  TVA assumes no liability with regard to the operation or use of drones.
  • TVA may, on a case by case basis and in its sole discretion, approve operations of drones on or above the aforementioned areas.  Requests for approval must be submitted to TVA’s Public Land Information Center at 1-800-882-5263 or plic@tva.gov.

Find out more about recreation on developed TVA public lands.

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 use of TVA land for recreation activities. TVA does not endorse or receive funding from any external website listed herein.

Public Lands Information Center

A single source for answers to your questions about shoreline land use, permitting procedures, water resources, recreation and other issues related to TVA's natural resources.
Call (800) 882-5263 or ask a question online.

Leave No Trace

TVA is a partner in Leave No Trace, an international environmental education program. The program goals include increasing awareness of potential environmental impacts that may occur during outdoor activities and providing information about ways to minimize impacts while enjoying the outdoors. The Leave No Trace program goals align with TVA’s focus on providing sustainable recreation opportunities on public lands, responsible natural resource management and environmental stewardship.   
Leave No Trace website

State Agencies

Hunting and fishing area allowed on undeveloped TVA public lands consistent with TVA rules and applicable state regulations.

Tennessee
Alabama
North Carolina
Mississippi
Virginia
Kentucky
Georgia

Mission Forward

Protecting the Tennessee River system—its water, land and wildlife—is more than a mission. It’s what sets us apart from any other power company. Read more about our stewardship efforts in TVA’s Natural Resources Annual Report.