Trip Report: South Holston Spillway – May 4th

Barry Griggs reporting
Our number was small due to a couple of last-minute cancellations, but the day was beautiful! We were blessed with a picture-perfect day for the very family-friendly trek to the South Holston Dam Spillway. The dogs seemed to be out to enjoy the day, also, as essentially every hiker we met was escorted by at least one dog, including us. This is an easy, relatively short hike which is very doable for beginners or anyone just interested in an enjoyable hike that won’t take all afternoon. The view of the lake and mountains at the end of our hike was very peaceful. A few wildflowers were even spotted along the way. Hikers were Sharon Burnette and Barry Griggs.

P.S. For those desiring a little more hiking in this area you can stop at the large parking/picnic area at Osceola Island on the road to the dam. This is a very nice area to trout fish and picnic. There is also 1.5 mi. trail around the perimeter of the island which can be accessed by crossing the footbridge. The trail is covered with fine gravel making for comfortable walking.

Bear activities closure update

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”

13th Annual Nolichucky River Cleanup & Celebration, June 21st

apes

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     ldcakes@hotmail.com

Event website: http://regions.​worldkayak.com/​tri-cities/2014​/05/14/nolichuc​ky-river-cleanu​p-and-celebrati​on/

Oliver Hollow Use Restriction Due to Bear Activity

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

F/B: Rock Creek Falls (Erwin) – Sunday, June 1, 2014

Leader: Brien Lewis, 615-828-8206, chair@tehcc.org

Rating: Medium 3-mile hike up and back along a cascading stream to a pair of waterfalls

Forest Service Trail #148 follows the Rock Creek as it winds up the hollow. Being June, white rhododendron blooms should fill some areas. We will leave at 1 pm for the 45-minute drive.  There is a $2 cash per car day-use fee at USFS Rock Creek Recreation Area. There are four creek crossings which can be “rock hopped” on stepping stones.  Otherwise, bring water shoes and a towel to dry your feet, if you plan on just wading across.

For the 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Act, the Cherokee National Forest is featuring this specific hike in the Unaka Mountain Wilderness area.  Group size is limited to 14.

Swiftwater Rescue Course – June 27-29, 2014

Whitewater enthusiasts participate in hazardous activities in wilderness environments. Are you prepared to rescue yourself or your best paddling friend?  Are they prepared to rescue you?  Help in many cases may not be immediately available, and might be hours, not minutes away. Sign up and bring your favorite paddling crew to this clinic. It’s like buying yourself, and them, the safety line that may save your lives.

See the announcement for the details.  Cost for TEHCC members is $85.

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