Cedars of Lebanon State Park, in Tennessee’s Central Basin, was named by settlers who saw in the dense cedar forest a reminder of the Biblical Cedars of Lebanon. The park and forest were established as a resettlement park when the federal government bought depleted farmland in 1937 and resettled the residents. The Works Progress Administration handled the building of park, and the structures in the park are now on National Register of Historic Places. Cedar trees had been lumbered out but were replanted during this time. Photographer Carl Mydans was known his work during this period. Today, the park contains 900 acres for recreation and 8,100 acres of State Forest and Natural Area land. The terrain is classified as Karst topography, characterized by sinkholes, springs, caves, including Jackson Cave and Hermit Cave, limestone outcropping, disappearing springs and underground drainage. The Merritt Nature Center features exhibits on geology and natural features of the park. The Cedar Glades have endemic species of wildflowers, a 10,000-acre Cedar Forest Stand and a new species of grasshopper named after Park Ranger Ingram. Water and surface temperatures vary so much throughout the year that a harsh, desert-like, inhospitable habitat creates its own unique plant community. Nineteen rare and endangered species of plants grow profusely here and nowhere else in the world.
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