NORTON — The High Knob Recreation Area will open after a two-year shutdown, as several U.S. Forest Service sites open in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Clinch Ranger District Chief Ranger Michelle Davalos said Thursday that water line repairs are complete at the High Knob site, which will open May 28. That will allow camping use to resume this year.
“We are facing another challenging year as we manage aging infrastructure at our much loved recreation sites,” said Davalos. “I am especially thankful for our volunteers and partners who help us deliver recreation opportunities to our forest visitors and our volunteer hosts who help operate our campgrounds.”
The High Knob site water system was replaced last year with help and funding from the Wise County Public Service Authority, Wise County, city of Norton and the Lenowisco District Planning Commission. The High Knob Music Festival also helped improve the High Knob Recreation Area.
Davalos said some repair work remains for High Knob, including needed repairs in the large bathhouse. Showers will not be available until repairs are complete.
Some recreation sites are already open in Scott, Wise, Lee and Dickenson counties for the summer season, Davalos said, and the district will soon be opening additional seasonal campgrounds and day use areas.
The Cane Patch Campground and the Phillips Creek Day Use Area are scheduled to open May 21. The bathhouse at Cane Patch campground will be temporarily closed as Forest managers work to repair water leaks. Portable toilets will be available until the repairs are complete.
Opening of the Bark Camp Campground is delayed until a campground host is found for the site. The Bark Camp Day Use Area is open.
Davalos said campground hosts are essential in maintaining and operating Forest Service campgrounds by providing information and assistance to campers and helping maintain and clean campground facilities. Individuals interested in volunteering as a campground host can call the Clinch Ranger District office at (276) 679-8370 for more information.
The Cave Springs Campground will not open this recreation season. Davalos said Spearhead Trails will be unable to help with operations and maintenance of the recreation area this year as in past years. Since 2018, Spearhead Trails has been a key Forest Service partner and has operated, maintained and completed substantial repairs at the Cave Springs Recreation Area, Lake Keokee Day Use Area and numerous trails.
Visitors can check the George Washington and Jefferson national forests’ website for current site information before planning to visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/gwj/recreation
Many recreation sites, including hiking and biking trails, are open year round. Other recreation sites on the Clinch Ranger District now open include:
• Birch Knob Observation Tower.
• Devils Fork Trailhead: Users are encouraged to park at Scott County’s Stony Creek Park; the access road is in poor shape and requires a high clearance vehicle.
• Guest River Gorge Trailhead.
• Hanging Rock Day Use Area.
• High Knob Observation Tower
• High Knob Multi-Use Trailhead (accesses High Knob Loop Trail): The access road is in poor shape and requires a high clearance vehicle.
• Lake Keokee Day Use Area.
• Little Stony Trailhead (accesses High Knob Loop Trail).
• McGhee Creek Trailhead (accesses High Knob Loop Trail).
• Little Stony National Recreation Trail: The portion of the trail from the Little Stony Trailhead parking lot to the second waterfall is open. The remainder of the trail is closed due to landslides; repairs are scheduled to begin this summer.
• North Fork of Pound Boat Launch.
For more information, contact the Clinch Ranger District at (276) 220-1670, visit the website www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj or follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GWJNF and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GWJNF