Environment and Outdoors
Another sign of life returning at least a little closer to normal: the U.S. Forest Service is re-opening trailheads and access points to the Appalachian Trail tomorrow. It is a coordinated re-opening from Virginia to Georgia. But of particular local note, the trailhead to Dragon’s Tooth remains closed.
NEWS RELEASE: Roanoke, VA, May 21, 2020 –The USDA Forest Service will open a series of trailheads and access points to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail on May 22. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests in Georgia, Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina, Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia will participate in the coordinated reopening.
The Triple Crown in Virginia will remain closed, which includes Dragon’s Tooth trailhead.
To recreate responsibly outdoors, avoid congregating at parking areas, refrain from gathering in large groups and maintain a 6 feet distance- from others, especially when passing other hikers.
Visitors to our National Forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html. Bathroom facilities may not be available. Shelters will remain closed at this time.
While work continues opening trails and roads, staffing may remain limited to encourage safe distancing. This may also cause a delay in rescue operations. It is not recommended that visitors engage in risky recreation activities at this time.
Remember to review recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/visitors.html, along with local and state guidelines for social distancing and cloth face coverings.
From the City of Roanoke: Due to heavy rains, the Spring Valley Dam located in the City of Roanoke near Lake Dr. is in danger of failing which could cause flooding in the immediate area of the dam. To protect those that live near the dam, the following areas are being asked to evacuate their homes.
-3600 block of Cravens Creek Rd., SW to the 4000 block of Cravens Creek Rd., SW
-4000 block of Lake Dr.SW
-1400 block of Deyerle Rd., SW
-4000-4100 block of Brandon Ave., SW
Approximately 13 homes are affected by this evacuation. Residents are being alerted to evacuate by Reverse E-911 calls and Roanoke FireEMS Department and Roanoke Police Department – VA personnel are also going door to door to evacuate residents and asking them to move to higher ground.
Residents in this affected are advised to:
1. Evacuate now and go to higher ground outside the flood plain.
2. Gather supplies and leave immediately. Determine you and your family’s specific needs such as medication, baby items, etc. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
3. Keep important documents in a waterproof container and take them with you.
4. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Most Roanoke City paved greenways reopen tomorrow. But plan ahead before heading out — all trailhead parking lots remain closed and of more pressing personal importance at times, the usual portajohns are not available. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story:
The Garden City, Lick Run, Mill Mountain and Tinker Creek Greenways all reopen Friday, and Roanoke River does so Tuesday.
According to numbers released this morning by the VDH, there are 730 new coronavirus cases bringing Virginia’s overall case count to 25,800. Health officials say there was 41 coronavirus related deaths over a 24-hour span bringing the statewide death toll to 891. Data shows 171,239 Virginians have been tested for the coronavirus.
An independent company has measured how well people are social distancing – and our region did NOT make the dean’s list. WFIR’s Ian Price has details:
Gov. Ralph Northam is warning state residents about a lengthy disruption to daily life as officials try to stem the intensity of the coronavirus outbreak. Northam yesterday said COVID-19 will affect life for months, and the sooner people adopt new ways of living the sooner the challenges will end. State health officials last night announced the deaths of three more people who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to six. Northam says he’ll announce today what’s going to happen with public schools, which are now in the middle of a two-week closure.
From State Health Department: (Newport News, Va.) — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has reported the deaths of three Peninsula residents, two who previously tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and a third newly positive case. All three were females in their 80’s and hospitalized. One was a resident of a long-term care facility. The three patients were from Newport News, Williamsburg and James City County.
The three patients acquired COVID-19 through an unknown source. The cause of death was respiratory failure because of COVID-19. Two of the cases were included in the statewide COVID-19 positive case count today on the VDH website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus. The third patient was a new case and not included. None of the three deaths was in the website death total today.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce three additional victims of COVID-19. We at VDH express our condolences to those families,” said Peninsula Acting Health Director Dr. Steve Julian. “Increased public cooperation with the publicized guidelines that lessen the spread of the disease will reduce the incidence of deaths related to COVID-19.”