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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

USFS Press Release
Hanging Dog Campground will not re-open

Murphy, NC, April 4, 2018- U.S.Forest Service officials announced they will not re-open Hanging Dog Campground located on the Nantahala National Forest.
The campground was initially closed in 2014 due to declining use and increased management costs as part of a comprehensive analysis of recreation sites across the national forests.

It then reopened in 2016 and 2017 on a trial basis in partnership with Cherokee County. Both the Forest Service and Cherokee County agreed to meet at the end of each year to evaluate the viability of continuing to operate. In both years the fees collected were well below the operating and maintenance costs with an occupancy rate in 2017 of just 11 percent, down from 16 percent in 2016. Furthermore the aging facility has over $160,000 in deferred maintenance needs.

"This has been a difficult decision because we know many families and friends have fond memories of camping there," said Forest Supervisor Allen Nicholas. "But the reality is fewer people camp there each season, and we need to focus our efforts on areas and activities where public use reflects higher demand to ensure that we are making the best use of our budget."

Given the financial realities, the Forest Service with the public's help must determine the most suitable activities, investments, and locations and how they complement other offerings on public and private land. Within 50 miles of Hanging Dog, there are at least nine other Forest Service and six private campgrounds that offer similar or better facilities, including Jackrabbit Mountain Campground on Lake Chatuge near Murphy, NC.

The Hanging Dog day-use area will remain open with picnic tables overlooking the lake and nearby mountain biking and hiking trails. Year-round access is available to Hiwassee Lake for boating and fishing including an accessible fishing pier. The parking lot at the boat launch is scheduled for reconstruction in the fall of 2018. The Panther Top Shooting Range is just a few miles away and will be upgraded in the near future in partnership with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

For more information on recreation opportunities on the Nantahala National Forest see

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