US 321 to Wilbur Dam Rd. (approx. 4 miles) – All activities except hiking along the Appalachian Trail are prohibited due to recent bear activity.
Hikers are asked to walk through the area without stopping. Preparation or consumption of food, lingering, and camping are prohibited in the area known locally as “Oliver Hollow” by a U.S. Forest Service closure order.
The Watauga Lake Shelter in this stretch is also closed. Even though a “closure order” has been issued to restrict usage of the area, the A.T. is not closed to hiking. These orders are in effect for an 18-month period from June 3, 2014 until December 1, 2015. The official U.S. Forest Service poster can be found here. (June 17, 2014)
On some signs the Forest Service is now using definition of closure area as “Shook Branch Rec area/Oliver Hollow Rd. to Wilbur Dam including Watauga Lake Shelter- Closed”
APE’s are hosting their 13th annual event on Saturday, June 21st, 2014. Meet at U.S.A. Raft, 2 Jones Branch Rd, Erwin, TN starting at 11AM. Participants will be assigned to teams plus provided with maps, trash bags and gloves. There are clean-up opportunities for both those with their own boats or rafts – and shore crews. Be prepared with appropriate footwear, sunscreen, bug repellant, etc. Rafts, pickup trucks, and trailers will be helpful and much appreciated. Consider bringing a packed lunch, boating equipment, rain gear, chairs, family, and friends. Showers and restrooms are available at the campground. For cleanup participants, a free BBQ dinner from Texas Roadhouse of Johnson City will be served at 6PM with live music by the Chaz Spence Trio and prize drawings. Bring a lawn chair, kick back with a cold tasty beverage, and know that you did something good for the river we all enjoy so much!
Event Contact: Debbie Briscoe (423)-534-3636 email@example.com
Event website: http://regions.worldkayak.com/tri-cities/2014/05/14/nolichucky-river-cleanup-and-celebration/
The National Forest Service lands are closed to most recreation from north of Shook Branch to a half mile north of Wilbur Dam Rd. Bears are active in this area. Individuals are only permitted to hike through this area. Please continue hiking through this area without stopping. Watauga Lake Shelter is closed. No preparation or consumption of food or overnight stays allowed. This closure is effective until December 1, 2015.
Oliver Hollow bear closure map