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Proposed Water Access Site on the South Fork Holston River

The Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is seeking public comments on a plan to establish a water access site on the South Fork Holston River in Washington County. The comment period is open Monday, December 11 – Sunday, December 24, 2023.

The proposed site would be located in the Osceola community at the former Route 58 bridge crossing between Abingdon and Damascus. The proposed site would include a gravel access road, gravel parking lot for approximately five vehicles, and gravel access trail to the river. The proposed site would provide access for canoes, kayaks and other paddle craft that can be carried for hand launching. The site would make a good take-out for float trips originating in Damascus. The site would make a good put-in for float trips downstream to Alvarado or South Holston Lake. Bank fishing and wade fishing access would also be provided by the proposed site. The South Fork offers excellent fishing opportunities in this section for trout, smallmouth bass, and many other species. Finally, the site would also offer opportunities for the public to observe and enjoy the many types and wonders of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife found in, and immediately adjacent to, the South Fork Holston River.

The site would be located on the western bank of the river at the former Route 58 bridge crossing. Coordinates are 36.65046705056423, -81.84499766290843 (view on Google Maps). The Virginia Creeper Trail is on the eastern bank of the river at this location. A gravel road developed for use during deconstruction of the former Route 58 bridge would provide access from former route 58 to the parking area. The proposed site is about one-half mile from the new alignment of Route 58, 7 miles from the town of Abingdon (Exit 19 on Interstate 81) and about 3 miles from the town of Damascus. The land would remain in VDOT ownership and be managed by DWR through a land use permit. DWR would maintain the access road, parking area and access trail. DWR Conservation Police Officers would patrol the site. No fees would be charged for parking or river access.

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