Thursday, November 1, 2012

Big South Fork Announces Winter Schedule for Park Facilities

The onset of winter brings shorter days, colder weather and reduced visitor use. Some facilities within the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will close for the winter or observe reduced hours and operations. Superintendent Niki Nicholas was quoted as saying, "Closing some under-utilized facilities will help save energy and personnel time that otherwise would have to be used to maintain those facilities through the winter months. Our goal is to accommodate visitor needs while saving as much taxpayer money as possible."

The Bandy Creek Visitor Center in the Big South Fork will observe reduced hours of operation for the late fall and winter seasons. The visitor center will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time each day beginning Sunday, November 4, 2012. The visitor center will be open every day except for Christmas Day, December 25. The park is open for use every day of the year. The Blue Heron Bookstore and Interpretive contact station will be closed beginning November 1. The Blue Heron Mining Camp is open for visits whenever road conditions allow safe access.

The Bandy Creek and Blue Heron Campgrounds will be open on a first-come first-served basis beginning Thursday, November 1. The Bandy Creek Group Camp will close immediately after the Veterans Day weekend. All other campsites will be available on a first-come first-served basis until Monday, November 26, at which time Bandy Creek Campground Loops A, B, C, and the Blue Heron Campground will close for the winter. Alum Ford Campground is open throughout the year.

Days may be shorter and the weather cooler, but the Big South Fork has a great deal to offer during the winter months. To find out how you may continue to enjoy the Big South Fork in the coming months, call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275.

Hiking in the Smokies

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