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Shook Branch temporarily closed for storm repairs

John Thompson • Updated Jul 14, 2016 at 3:32 PM

HAMPTON — Last Friday’s storm continues to cause disruptions in normal activities. The latest impact, the temporary closure of the Shook Branch Swimming Area on Watauga Lake, is especially felt with the current string of hot and humid days.

Officials with the Cherokee National Forest announced this week the popular recreational area will be closed for several days because it received significant impact from the storm.

“Crews are in the process of clearing and cleaning up several areas around Watauga Lake to ensure they are accessible and safe for national forest visitors. Shook Branch is expected to be reopened by July 22,” Forest Service officials said

“The temporary closure is for the safety of our visitors,” Watauga Ranger District Recreation Manager Alice Cohen said. “We appreciate the public’s understanding and support as we address several impacted areas along the Watauga Lake corridor. Some areas were hit hard and have trees and large limbs down. We are working diligently to clean up all the debris and downed trees.”

Another popular Watauga Lake recreation area, Watauga Point, has also been closed, but Cherokee National Forest spokesman Terry McDaniel said crews “have been hitting it pretty hard and we expect to have it open (Friday) or Saturday at the latest.”

McDaniel said other areas, such as Rat Branch, did have some damage but are open to the public while the repairs are being made.

For more information, call the Ranger District at 735-1500.

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