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July, 2020

Roanoke Appalachian news

Covid-19 > Hiking & Camping

At the beginning of the shut-down in March, many of the Appalachian Trail's accesses were closed to prevent overcrowding on popular hikes near Roanoke. These included McAfee Knob and Dragons Tooth. I'm happy to announce that all access points to the famous trail are now open. However, parking is limited to only 50% and all shelters remain closed. And remember, contingency camping outside of designated shelters has always been prohibited between routes 311 and 220. Please be safe and act accordingly.

>Roanoke

Phase three reopening has started in July. Though nearly every establishment in Roanoke may now open its doors, some restrictions remain in effect. The Virginia governor still prohibits seating in bars and restaurant gatherings as noted in this publication. The Municipal Building in downtown Roanoke has also begun to reopen for local government transactions. Many businesses welcome the looser restrictions but also fear their return if virus cases take a decided trend upward.

Parks & Recreation

The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed between routes 220 and 24 due to mudslides. This also means there's no access to Explore Park from the parkway; visitors must use Rutrough rd. Explore Park has recently seen a revitalization with better trails, accommodations and camping. There has not been a date set for reopening of this section of parkway.

Drier weather has been welcomed at Carvins Cove where its water level had reached Stage II flood in late June. Though the water level would need to rise much more to raise catastrophic concern, it has not reached this level since the flood of 1985. On a positive note, the usual visitor fee of $3 is currently waived for anyone who wants to see this beautiful park and take part in its wonderful recreational opportunities.

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