Rangers, crews lend helping hand to Roan Mountain State Park

Published 9:20 am Monday, October 30, 2017

Volunteer Pride was in full abundance this week in Roan Mountain.

As the community continues to regroup after this week’s strand of flooding, Roan Mountain State Park received help from different avenues.

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Following up help the day of the flood, Park Manager J.R. Tinch said that two work days were organized with park rangers from across the state and a pair of inmate crews to help clean up damage in the park.

“We put in the request to have some rangers come up,” Tinch said. “We had rangers from across the state and two inmate crews come up both of those days to help around the park. We were able to get a lot accomplished.”

The park manager thanked the groups, along with RMSP staff, Carter County EMA, Roan Mountain Fire Department, Tennessee Department of Transportation and others for their help over the week.

Campgrounds were evacuated Monday during the rain, but the only closure at the park is the visitor center.

“We had some damage to the heating and electrical system because of the water,” Tinch said. “We hope to have the center open next week, but all other park operations are normal.”

Some pedestrian bridges will have to be rebuilt due to flood, the park manager added, but said the recent bout of weather wouldn’t stall an annual tradition in the park.

A decade-old mainstay, the Halloween in the Campground is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. on the premise.

“With the event planned so far in advance, it would have been hard to reschedule,” Tinch said Friday. “We’re all set to have everything as planned.”

A change to this year’s event is the $5 per vehicle charge for parking. Tinch said visitors can expect parking to be set up similar to the Rhododendron Festival and encouraged attendees to carpool if possible to help with parking and flow of traffic. The proceeds from the charge go to the Jr. ROTC program that assists with maintenance of the park’s hiking trails. The park does not receive any funds from the parking.

With each year showcasing significant growth, Tinch added the park’s number one goal for the event is to provide fun in a safe atmosphere. Hotdogs will be presented to the first 1,000 people as an incentive. Along with candy being distributed by campers, hayrides are being offered through a “spooky” haunted forest.

For more information about events at the park, visit their Facebook page, website or call (423) 772-0190.