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National Park Service to truckers: "No Commercial Vehicles"

The chief ranger of the Natchez Trace Parkway says there's been a "dramatic up-tick" in the number of tractor-trailers on the Trace. A new sign is intended to help everyone know what kinds of vehicles are forbidden on this federal highway.

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 8:37 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 10:27 AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: On the Natchez Trace Parkway, most people have long known that commercial vehicles aren't allowed. But that doesn't stop some truckers and other vehicles from sneaking onto the Trace and trying to use it as a shortcut. WTVA's Mike Russell spent much of Thursday with the chief ranger of the Parkway, and filed this report.

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - "Shortcut" is the key word. The overwhelming majority of commercial vehicles are generally trying to get from Point A to Point B just a little faster. You can't really blame them - that's why a lot of people use the Trace. Still, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a national park, all 444 miles of it -- and commercial drivers are supposed to know better. They're a huge problem on the Trace. Just from Tupelo to Eupora, rangers stopped 400 trucks in 2017. On the Parkway itself, rangers handed out more than 300 tickets.

"It's really a huge issue for us right now," says Chief Ranger Sarah Davis. "We've seen a dramatic uptick in the last several years about tractor trailers getting on the Parkway."

Safety is one of the primary issues. The Trace just isn't designed for wide loads in those narrow lanes. But weight is an issue, too.

"The Natchez Trace Parkway is a recreational highway," says Ranger Scott Galbraith. "It's not supposed to bear the weight and loads that these semi-trucks are bringing onto the Parkway. And in fact, many of our bridges are having to be repaired ahead of schedule because of all the weight that's caused such destruction."

Since the Trace was established as a Federal highway 80 years ago, it's been illegal for commercial vehicles to be on the Trace. And now, the National Park Service has installed updated signs to make it perfectly clear what kind of vehicles aren't allowed. A classic example, as I was gathering information for this story, two professional drivers hauling two halves of a double-wide trailer got off I-22 onto the Trace. But then realizing their mistake, they immediately got back on I-22 headed back the other way. Good thing, too. Technically, it's a violation of the law. By turning around back on the interstate, they avoided a $250 ticket.


Another example, U-Haul-style moving trucks are prohibited from because of their advertising.

For more information, visit the Natchez Trace Parkway website (click here).

Also, if you'd like to report commercial activity on The Trace, call 800-300-PARK (7275) and be prepared to provide information about the location, direction of travel, and any other identifying truck features.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307094

Reported Deaths: 7086
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20729248
Hinds19851407
Harrison17465302
Rankin13297275
Jackson13090243
Madison9876210
Lee9849169
Jones8288160
Forrest7511146
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Pearl River4414139
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Calhoun163130
Smith158534
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Walthall130443
Greene129333
Lawrence126123
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120726
Amite119940
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Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102425
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Benton97225
Kemper95026
Humphreys94332
Franklin81523
Quitman78516
Choctaw72816
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64427
Sharkey49517
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518234

Reported Deaths: 10686
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson752631485
Mobile37687797
Madison33784490
Tuscaloosa25231442
Montgomery23928563
Shelby23088237
Baldwin20600300
Lee15491165
Calhoun14270311
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Houston10373277
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Walker7083275
Jackson6751110
Autauga6710103
Blount6475134
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Dale4764110
Russell426837
Franklin419782
Chilton4076109
Covington4054113
Tallapoosa3895147
Escambia387374
Dallas3523149
Chambers3496122
Clarke346160
Marion3064100
Pike305375
Lawrence295095
Winston272271
Bibb256158
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Geneva245875
Pickens232958
Barbour224555
Hale218775
Butler211866
Fayette208860
Henry187744
Cherokee181843
Randolph176341
Monroe171140
Washington163838
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124326
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter103032
Coosa98827
Greene90834
Choctaw58624
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