TVA Campgrounds Open This Weekend

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a corporation owned and operated by the United States government. Its purpose is to promote the unified development of the resources of the Tennessee River Basin, an area that includes parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. TVA’s varied activities include water control to prevent floods and improve navigation, production and transmission of electric power, and conservation and recreation programs.

Cherokee Dam is on the Holston River in east Tennessee, 52 miles upstream from the point at which the Holston and French Broad Rivers converge to form the Tennessee River. Photo courtesy TVA

TVA operates 30 major dams and a number of smaller ones. Before these dams were built, the Tennessee Valley was periodically ravaged by floods that caused vast property damage. Today floodwater is held in reservoirs behind the dams. The dams on the main stream form a chain of lakes through which commercial vessels may navigate for 650 miles from Paducah, Kentucky, to Knoxville, Tennessee.

Millions of people enjoy recreational activities on TVA reservoirs each year. They offer nearly limitless opportunities for fun-filled activities, including water skiing, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, fishing, swimming, hiking, nature photography, picnicking, bird watching, and camping.

Camping and Recreation Areas

TVA operates 80 public recreation areas throughout the TVA region, including day-use areas, campgrounds, and boat launching ramps.

TVA’s day-use recreation areas remain open year-round.

TVA’s 11 seasonal campgrounds on reservoirs throughout the Tennessee River Valley open for the 2011 recreation season on Friday, March 18. The campground season at most sites normally runs through November 14.

TVA campgrounds that open on March 18 are listed below with opening times. In order to avoid traffic lines prior to opening day at TVA’s campsites and provide an equitable opportunity for campsites, lotteries are scheduled on March 18 at five of the campgrounds indicated below.

Lottery participation is free of charge, with registration and drawing at the campground immediately prior to the lottery.

Cherokee Reservoir

Located on the Holston River in east Tennessee, Cherokee Dam is 52 miles upstream from the point at which the Holston and French Broad Rivers converge to form the Tennessee River. A popular recreation destination, the reservoir has nearly 400 miles of winding shoreline and about 28,780 acres of water surface.

Along its shoreline are public access areas, county and municipal parks, commercial boat docks and resorts, a state park, and a state wildlife management area. Numerous tent and trailer sites are available.

Cherokee Dam Campground

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s 11 seasonal campgrounds on reservoirs throughout the Tennessee River watershed will open for the 2011 recreation season on Friday, March 18. Photo courtesy bestofboating.com

Located on Cherokee Reservoir, Cherokee Dam Campground opens for the season on Friday, March 18 at 9:00 a.m. EDT with lottery.

This self-service campground has 42 campsites with water and electric hookups, restrooms with heated showers and flush toilets, dump station, children’s play equipment, picnic tables, and grills, swimming beach, boat ramps above and below dam, lake and river fishing, paved walking trail, and bird watching opportunities; group pavilion available by reservation.

Information: (800) 882-5263

Douglas Reservoir

Located on the French Broad River in east Tennessee, Douglas Reservoir extends 43 miles upriver from the dam through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. A popular recreation destination for picnicking, camping, boating, and fishing, Douglas Reservoir provides 513 miles of shoreline and about 28,420 acres of water surface for recreation activities.

Douglas Dam Headwater Campground

Douglas Dam Tailwater Campground. Photo courtesy TVA

Located on Douglas Reservoir, Douglas Dam Headwater Campground opens for the season on Friday, March 18 at 8:00 a.m. EDT.

This self-service campground has 65 campsites (61 with water and electric hookup, two handicapped-accessible sites), restrooms with heated showers and flush toilets, dump station, picnic tables, swimming beach, boat ramp, walking trail, wildlife viewing area, and bird watching opportunities.

Trotter Bluff Small Wild Area features walking trails through 30 acres of mature hardwood forest, limestone sinkholes, spring wildflowers and vistas of the dam and tailwaters.

Location: Near Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Directions: From I-40 take exit 407. Go south on Highway 66 then 3.5 miles east on Highway 139, then 2.5 miles south on Highway 338, then follow signs 1 mile north to campground

Information: (800) 882-5263

Daily camping fees

Water and/or electric sites: $20
Water, electric, and sewer sites: $24
Non-service sites: $16

Spring has sprung. The grass is riz. Time for RVing and camping bliss!

To be continued tomorrow…

Worth Pondering…
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

—John Burroughs

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