Monday, June 19, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse Will Cross Thru Cherokee National Forest

On August 21, 2017 at approximately 2:30 pm EDT a total eclipse of the sun will pass over parts of southeast Tennessee. What some are calling the "Great American Eclipse" will pass over 12 states, including Tennessee. The eclipse (partial) will be visible throughout the United Sates. A 70 mile wide path of total darkness begins in Oregon and exits the nation at South Carolina. Areas within the 70 mile wide path will experience total darkness for up to 2 mins 40 seconds. The southern portion of the Cherokee National Forest (Ocoee & Tellico Ranger Districts) is within the 70 mile wide total darkness path.

During a total solar eclipse shadow bands are often seen on the ground as totality approaches; Light filtering through leaves on trees casts crescent shadows as totality approaches; Wildlife often prepare for sleep or become confused; and temperatures can drop several degrees during totality.

Community Events: The total eclipse path will pass through the southern portion of the Cherokee National Forest in Monroe, McMinn and Polk counties. Communities throughout the area will be hosting celebrations and showcasing local and regional culture. Many of these areas offer excellent opportunities to view the eclipse while enjoying art, music, and local cuisine. These events are easily accessible and offer various amenities. There are a number of online sources to learn more about the eclipse and activities in the area. One such site is: http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/states/TN.htm

Cherokee National Forest: Some people may wish to view the eclipse in a more natural setting. Much of the Cherokee National Forest is remote and rugged, and the environment is much different than in urban areas. Planning your visit ahead of time may help make it more enjoyable and safer.

Some locations that may seem suitable for viewing the eclipse in the southern Cherokee National Forest may have environmental or road access concerns associated with them. Many locations outside of developed recreation areas have rough dirt/gravel roads leading to them with limited access, parking, crowd capacity, restricted traffic flow and no sanitation facilities or water.

National forest visitors should expect many locations to be heavily visited and congested. Forest Service management is focused on public safety and protecting the natural and cultural resources. It may be necessary to control traffic and parking and to restrict vehicular access to some locations. Management measures for a number of locations are being developed. When these are finalized, a summary for each location , and other information, will be publicized and posted to the Cherokee National Forest website: http://fs.usda.gov/cherokee



Jeff
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