TVA campgrounds open for 2003 season

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com

   With the opening of Cherokee Dam campground on April 18, all Tennessee Valley Authority campgrounds are ready to serve campers for the 2003 season.
   Recreation areas at Watauga Lake opened April 1 and will close Nov. 3. Watauga is one of seven TVA reservoirs whose facilities opened for camping earlier this year. Three others -- the lower section of Melton Hill Dam, Pickwick and Wilson -- provide year-round camping. The Melton Hill Dam upper section campground will open May 8 and close Sept. 8.
   TVA operates about 100 public recreation areas throughout the Tennessee Valley, including day-use areas, boat ramps, and 11 campgrounds.
   Watauga Campground off Blue Springs Road is slated for improvements this year. About three years ago, TVA built a toilet building and defined 25 camping sites. Last year electricity hookups were provided. This year the roads will be paved, a handicapped accessible campsite will be added, and a dump station also will be installed.
   Camping fees at TVA recreation areas will remain unchanged at $12 per day for sites without water and electric hookups and $16 per day for sites with hookups. No fees are charged for TVA-managed day-use areas and boat launch ramps.
   Holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports receive a 50 percent discount on camping fees. Passports are available from TVA's 11 watershed team offices and at most other federally operated recreation areas. TVA picnic pavilions may be reserved by calling toll free, 866-494-7186.
   For more information on TVA recreation opportunities visit the Web site, (http://www.tva.gov/river/recreation/index.htm).