The USDA Forest Service is closely tracking the forecast models of Hurricane Florence. It has been determined that it is necessary to close all developed (improved facilities) campgrounds and certain other areas in the northern portion (Unaka and Watauga ranger districts) of Cherokee National Forest by Friday September 14 at 12 noon. Sites will be evaluated for health and safety and reopened as conditions allow following the storm passage.
The closures are being implement in the interest of public health and safety. Forest Service officials at the Cherokee National Forest strongly recommend that, due to expected wind and rainfall, the public not use trails or general forest areas. Emergency response times will be multiplied if an incident or medical emergency were to occur.
Excessive rain and high wind have the potential to create high water, flash floods, falling trees, mudslides, and severe damage to facilities and roads. Much of the Cherokee National Forest is heavily forested, remote and mountainous, making the potential for hazardous conditions significant.
Anyone planning a visit anywhere in the Cherokee National Forest should seriously consider postponing their visit until the threat of Florence diminishes.