Rising water temporarily closes area near Watauga Lake

Published 4:28 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Citing safety concerns, one popular destination for fans of Watauga Lake is still, for the time being, shut down.

Officials with the Cherokee National Forest announced May 21 that the Shook Branch Beach Recreation Area and the lower road at Watauga Point along US 321 in Carter County were closed due to high water. As of Wednesday, May 30, officials with Cherokee National Forest confirmed that Shook Branch is still temporarily shut down due to the amount of rain that hit the region. The lower road at Watauga Point has since reopened.

At the Shook Branch location, the entire beach is submerged. According to forestry officials, the water levels have since dropped since the initial announcement but TVA is bracing for a potential rise in levels once again. While the lower road at Watauga Point is still open, officials stated that there could be a chance it could close again, pending weather conditions.

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Ranger Keith Kelley, with the Watauga District, recently stated in a release from Cherokee National Forest that closures are in place for “the safety of our visitors” and that officials will “monitor the situation closely” for the locations. Individuals wanting to learn more about temporary closures can contact the Watauga Ranger Station at (423) 735-1500.