By Jill Penley
Many National Forest System Roads (NFSR) were heavily impacted by record-breaking rainfall received this winter, and Cherokee National Forest visitors should be prepared for poor driving conditions on some NFSR’s and use caution while using these roads due to changing road conditions because of weather.
This area’s storm damage has forced the closure of several National Forest System Roads in
the Cherokee National Forest, including Sink Mountain Road (NFSR No. 298) to Sink Mountain Boat Ramp in Johnson County, where huge boulders create a barrier to entry.
According to a national forest spokesperson, due to a “major slide” on Sink Mountain Road, there is “no estimate of when it might reopen.”
In addition to Sink Mountain Road, three other forest service roads in the Cherokee National Forest are closed by weather-related damage. Those are Paint Mountain Road in Greene County and All Top Road and Brush Creek Road in Cocke. County.
With spring on the horizon, this is most unfortunate for Johnson County as this is the only “public” boat ramp.
Boaters are encouraged to utilize Little Milligan boat ramp, located in Carter County on Moody Road off Highway 321, to access the lake until repairs are completed. There are also private marinas along the south shore of Watauga Lake.
For more information about these sites visit www.fs.usda.gov/cherokee or call the Watauga Ranger Station at (423) 735-1500.