Forest Service Planning Changes to Recreation Offerings this Season

Contact(s): Michelle Davalos (276) 679-8370

Norton, Va.—May 6, 2019— The USDA Forest Service is planning several changes to recreation offerings for the 2019 recreation season on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Scott, Lee, Dickenson and Wise Counties, Virginia.  Some recreation sites and trails will delay opening as repairs are completed, some services will no longer be offered, and some recreation sites and trails will remain closed in 2019. 

Some of these changes are temporary and some may be permanent.  We anticipate the following changes: 

  • Cave Springs Recreation Area in Lee County: The 2019 season opening is delayed until repairs to the water system and trails are completed. The recreation area will be operated by the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority, Spearhead Trails.
  • Cane Patch Campground and Phillips Creek Day Use Area in Wise County: The swimming beach will not be provided, some bathrooms are closed, and mowing is reduced. 
  • Bark Camp Campground and Picnic Area in Scott County: Campground is closed until the water system is repaired. The picnic area, Lake Trail, Kitchen Rock Trail, and boating access remain open
  • High Knob Day Use Area in Wise County: The small bathroom building is closed.  The larger bathroom building is open, however showers will not be provided.
  • Little Stony National Recreation Trail (#331) in Scott County: Portions of the trail are closed due to storm damage.
  • Pine Mountain Trail (#201) in Dickenson and Wise Counties in Va. and Letcher and Pike Counties in Ky.: Portions of the trail on private lands are closed.
  • The number of garbage cans at recreation sites will be reduced. In some remote locations, trash removal service will be discontinued and visitors will need to pack out their trash.   

“I recognize the impact of these changes to communities and visitors who use these sites,” says District Ranger Michelle Davalos. “By reducing services at some sites, we hope to be able to focus our limited resources where it is most needed.”

The Forest Service is working with partners, local communities, and the public to balance the forest recreation program with how visitors are using the forest, and the Forest’s capacity to provide quality recreation experiences. Forest Service capacity and aging infrastructure limits our ability to continue maintenance and services at all the sites managed across the Forest.  We continue to ask communities for input to guide the direction of long-term changes to the Forest recreation program. As we work to shape a recreation program that is sustainable, changes will continue to be made. We are investing in key sites; this may mean closing, decommissioning, re-purposing, reducing services, or sharing management responsibility with partners at other sites. 

Conditions at National Forest recreation sites and on trails are subject to change due to storm events, infrastructure issues, and other situations.  

For more information visit our website or contact the Clinch Ranger District office at (276) 679-8370.