Doe River access point revamped with new parking lot

Volunteers have recently completed a preservation project along Doe River, allowing more residents and visitors alike to access the area for hiking, canoeing and more.

Wesley Bradley, coordinator for the project and cruise director for the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, said they have been preparing for the project since the beginning of this year.

“Providing better access to these natural wonders is a great way to continue growth for outdoor recreation opportunities in the county,” Bradley said.

This time around, the area in question was Tennessee Valley Authority property near the Bear Cage Road Bridge in Roan Mountain, which had experienced significant erosion from all the winter weather.

Ironically, much of the nearby damage, according to Bradley, was due to overuse of the river, since its higher levels made it ideal for canoeing.

“The frequent heavy rains this past winter have had the Doe flowing at great levels for paddling,” he said. “The site was getting utilized more often than normal, and the soil was in a much more saturated condition causing many ruts to start forming from cars parking off the road.”

He said the APE immediately went to work on renovating the area by contacting Chris Schuettler, director of Carter County’s Planning and Zoning Department.

The project came together this month as volunteers came with gravel materials to create a more stable parking lot for the river access.

“The new parking layout allows for nearly 10 cars to park now on site and out of the mud during wet seasons,” Bradley said.

He said the work they did that day helped a sense of community by bringing people together to better the community and the environment they live in. The project itself took three days to complete.

“Seeing the project through to completion is always one of the most rewarding parts of any project, but the relationships that are created in the process are invaluable assets that help shape a better community all the way around for everyone involved,” he said.

One of these relationships was with the Julian family, who own a farm adjacent to the river access. Because of their contribution to the project, volunteers and Carter County decided to name the new access point after a late Julian family member: Hershel Julian Landing.

The access point even has its own address now: 104 Hershel Julian Road, Roan Mountain, TN 37658.

He said the project was also meant as a tribute to the Julian family even before they renamed it.

“The Julian family have been very hospitable to many of us throughout the years, and we did not want the land to continue getting damaged from vehicles parking in the area and causing more erosion to drain into the river,” Bradley said.

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