Outdoor Updates: Campgrounds to open in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Sept. 3

More campgrounds to open in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Sept. 3

More campgrounds and picnic areas are set to reopen in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sept. 3, park officials said in a news release. Campgrounds include Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, Cataloochee and Cosby as well as the Big Creek, Cataloochee, Round Bottom, and Tow String horse camps. Heintooga and Look Rock picnic areas will re-open as will Little Greenbrier Road. All group campgrounds will remain closed.

Campsites at Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Anthony Creek, Round Bottom and Tow String must be reserved online.

Access sites on West Virginia’s Elk River to be improved

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) is upgrading public access sites along the Elk River in Kanawha County and adding several new locations near Charleston where anglers and kayakers can put in boats, the agency said in a news release. 

In addition to building new access sites along the Elk River, the WVDNR will upgrade an existing site in Clendenin. The agency will also close the access site at Blue Creek and build a larger, more accessible site located upstream. The current site at Mink Shoals will be closed so a new site across the river at Coonskin Park can be built. 

Fairview, NC teen wins National Park Service excellence award

Virginia Ward, 15, of Fairview, NC, has won the prestigious 2019 Youth Award as part of the George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service, the Citizen Times reports. The award celebrates the outstanding contributions of volunteers in the National Park Service. Ward was the only youth to win the award this year.

Ward has been volunteering at the Blue Ridge Parkway for 3 years where she assists the park’s botanist, Chris Ulrey, monitor critically imperiled plant communities that are relics of the last ice age, the National Park Service said. Ward hopes to one day become a botanist with the National Park Service. 

Photo: Hiking Path next to Stream in Smokey Mountain National Park courtesy of Getty Images by KLBahr

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