Cherokee National Forest & Chickamauga Battlefield reopenings this weekend

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CLEVELAND, Tennessee (WDEF) – Officials at the Cherokee National Forest announced their phased approach to reopening the federal park in the mountains.

Some recreational sites will reopen beginning this weekend.

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But it will be a site-by-site relaunch, not all at once.

And it comes with this warning: “Expect re-openings to not be quick or permanent.”

Here is the general schedule.

May 15 – day sites like shooting ranges, picnic areas, small campgrounds

May 24 – more sites

June  –  the remaining campgrounds should open in the first week

(Most boat launches, trails, rivers, forests have remained open)

“Closing any site for any reason is not one we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are approaching this phased re-opening with safety in mind,” said Cherokee National Forest Supervisor JaSal Morris.

If your paid reservation after May 15th is cancelled, you will be contacted by email about a refund.

You can find the full schedule for reopening at their website

But here is the schedule for our part of the Forest: (the closest opening to us for this weekend will be several campgrounds in the Tellico River area)

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FORT OGLETHORPE, Georgia (WDEF) – The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is also increasing recreational services again.

Beginning on Friday, the park reopens access to
• All roads
• All picnic areas
• Most trails (foot traffic only)

There is still storm damage to some areas of the park.

And the horse trails remain closed.

Also, if the public does not comply with social distancing, officials say they will shut it down again.

You can get a full list of closed areas on their website (but the reopenings will not appear until May 15th)