Monday, March 23, 2020

Cherokee National Forest Closing Camping and Group Recreation Sites

In response to guidance from State health officials and experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all camping, cabins, group recreation sites, and restrooms in the Cherokee National Forest will be closed effective at noon today, March 23 2020. The closure will remain in effect until at least May 15, at which time it will be reevaluated.

This closure includes the Ocoee Whitewater Center, Chilhowee Day Use, Buffalo Mtn. ATV Trail, all campgrounds, cabins, beaches, shooting ranges, picnic pavilions and all restrooms. Boat launches, most trailheads, and the general forest area, including trails and river corridors, will remain open to hiking, biking, boating, dispersed camping, hunting, fishing, etc. The use of trail shelters on the Appalachian Trail is discouraged. Please follow social distancing guidelines and Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all trash and refuse.

By closing campsites and group recreation sites, the USDA Forest Service is taking necessary measures to safeguard the health of employees and the public. The health and safety of employees and the nearby communities is always our top priority at the USDA Forest Service. Please remember to review current recommendations from the CDC and focus on recreating safely while protecting yourself, Forest Service employees and our volunteers.

In addition to closing camping and group recreation sites, all Cherokee National Forest offices are operating virtually until further notice. This means many employees are teleworking and are no longer doing business in person. To protect the health and safety of employees and customers, no face-to-face meetings are being scheduled. However, continuing service to the public during this time is very important. Customers needing information, permits and maps are encouraged to visit the website or call the nearest Cherokee National Forest office during regular business hours for assistance.


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