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Foster Falls Campground in Marion County is among eight Tennessee Valley Authority campgrounds that will close for the winter on Monday.

"We generally open sometime in mid-March as weather is warming up and warm enough that our pipes won't freeze in the bathhouses, and we generally close around mid-November," said Jerry Fause, recreation manager for TVA.

TVA operates 11 campgrounds with about 670 campsites, he said.

Three other campgrounds will stay open until Dec. 13 -- Douglas Dam Headwater Campground, Douglas Dam Tailwater Campground and Pickwick Dam Tailwater Campground. Each has at least one bathhouse that is winterized, Fause said.

Chattanooga resident Terri Chapin said she regrets the closures because her family -- including a 4-year-old girl and 18-month-old twins -- enjoys the outdoors so much. But she also understands why some facilities need to close, she added.

"Weather doesn't ever seem to scare us," she said. "We look for places to go camping at the change of season, maybe not the dead of winter, but we continue to camp throughout the year."

Fause said day-use areas such as picnic pavilions, fishing piers and trails stay open year round, but the number of campers falls off with the temperature.

The TVA-operated and owned campsites run an annual occupancy rate of about 62 percent and are between 80 and 85 percent full during the 100 days from Memorial to Labor Day, he said.

But cooler weather won't stop Chapin, who said her family is planning a camping trip for Thanksgiving.

"We enjoy quality time together," she said. "Especially with the young ones everything is so new, everything is so enjoyable."


TVA CAMPGROUNDS CLOSING

Nov. 15:

* Cherokee Dam Campground, Cherokee Reservoir

* Foster Falls Campground, Marion County, Tenn.

* Melton Hill Dam Campground, Melton Hill Reservoir

* Barton Springs Campground, Normandy Reservoir

* Loyston Point Campground, Norris Reservoir

* Watauga Dam Tailwater Campground, Watauga Reservoir

* Mallard Creek Campground, Wheeler Reservoir

* Wilson Dam Rockpile Campground , Wilson Reservoir

Dec. 13:

* Douglas Dam Headwater Campground, Douglas Reservoir

* Douglas Dam Tailwater Campground, Douglas Reservoir

* Pickwick Dam Tailwater Campground, Pickwick Reservoir

Source: Tennessee Valley Authority

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