Mt Rogers Naturalist Rally Camping Impacted by Storms

Well, I’m just sick. Camping close by at a favorite campground has been a major part of the Mt. Rogers Naturalist Rally for me for many, many years. But not this one. Just received this alert and thought some might find it here who need to know before being turned away at Grindstone with no place to spend the night.

For you rally supporters who usually camp at Grindstone, there is a BIG change. Due to storm/tornado damage in the area last week, Grindstone campground is closed indefinitely. We will not be able to camp at Grindstone or have field trips there. I wanted to let you campers know ahead of time so you can make other plans. Camping is available at other forest service campgrounds–Raccoon Branch campground on Rt 16 south of Sugar Grove; Hurricane campground is a few miles past Raccoon , turn off Rt 16 at VA 650, go 1.4 miles to Forest Road 84, turn left to campground and Beartree campground may be available if the electric is restored. Beartree is on Rt 58 between Konnarock and Damascus. For bed and breakfast inns and rental cabins check out We appreciate your support of the rally and your patience during this time.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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