The Ocoee recreation area, including trails, will reopen on Friday

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A fire last month destroyed the Ocoee Whitewater Center, closing some trails in the area.

Recreation areas and the lower lot that was closed following a fire in April at the Ocoee Whitewater Center will reopen to the public on Friday.

The public, however, will still not have access to the fenced area of ​​the Visitor Center fire site, and vehicles will not be permitted in parking areas when the gates are closed, according to an update. day Wednesday from the US Forest Service.

A fire destroyed the center on April 26. The fire is still under investigation.

The picturesque building was built to host the 1996 Summer Olympics.

It is also a recreation site within the Cherokee National Forest for tens of thousands of visitors each year.

After the fire, authorities closed several trails including Rhododendron Trail #332; Bear Paw Loop Trail #334; Old Copper Road Trail #333; and the connection trail from Chestnut Loop #335 to Bear Paw Loop Trail #334.

According to the Forest Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s strobe and siren warning system for impending floods no longer works after sustaining damage in the fire. The utility giant is working on fixing the system, but it will take several more weeks, according to the Forest Service.

New signage warning of potential rising waters along the Ocoee River has been posted. Visitors should be aware of signs and the potential for rapid rising waters.

“With no warning system, visitors to the area should exercise extreme caution if entering the river channel,” according to the Forest Service. “Large amounts of water could be released at any time and without any warning.”

The TVA controls the flow of water into the Ocoee.

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