Recreation season beginning
U.S. Forest Service officials at the Cherokee National Forest (Forest) said they are preparing for another busy outdoor recreation season.
U.S. Forest Service officials at the Cherokee National Forest (Forest) said they are preparing for another busy outdoor recreation season. The Forest receives approximately 2 million site visits annually. People come from near and far to experience a variety of outdoor recreation activities including camping, picnicking, hiking, bike riding, water play, fishing and much more.
One of the busiest weekends of the year is just around the corner - Memorial Day. Terry Pierce, Recreation Staff Officer for the Cherokee National Forest said, "Memorial Day typically marks the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation for many people.
“The majority of our recreation sites and campgrounds will be operating at or near full capacity during the holiday weekend. This is an extremely busy time for us. For a more enjoyable visit we suggest visitors read and become familiar with all posted information, including various rules and regulations.”
The Cherokee National Forest is home to:
· 30 developed campgrounds
· 15 boating access sites
· 17 observation sites
· 4 swimming areas
· 16 picnic areas
· 5 shooting ranges
· 2 Forest Service scenic byways
· 500 miles of cold water streams
· 7 whitewater rivers
· Ocoee Whitewater Center – site of the 1996 canoe & kayak slalom events
“Many of our campgrounds fill up fast on holiday weekends. If you plan to camp over the Memorial Day weekend get there early, because most campsites are on a first-come first-served basis,” Pierce said.
Forest Service officials say you can not hold campsites for others, and a campsite must be occupied the first 24 hours. Many areas are full by Friday afternoon or evening.
Additional information and maps are available at the following Cherokee National Forest offices:
· Forest Supervisor's Office: 2800 Ocoee Street North, Cleveland, TN 37312 - Phone: (423) 476-9700
· Ocoee Ranger District: 3171 Hwy 64, Benton, TN 37307 - Phone (423) 338-3300
· Tellico Ranger District: 250 Ranger Station Road, Tellico Plains, TN 37385 - Phone (423) 253-8400.
· Unaka Ranger District: 4900 Asheville Hwy SR 70, Greeneville, TN 37743 - Phone (423) 638-4109
· Watauga Ranger District: 4400 Unicoi Dr, Unicoi, TN 37692 - Phone (423) 735-1500
· Ocoee Whitewater Center: 4400 Highway 64, Copperhill, TN 37317 – Phone (423-496-0100)
Visit the web site at: http://fs.usda.gov/cherokee
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