Boat ramp back in business

Published 6:52 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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What was to have possibly taken until the end of August to complete is about to reopen to the delight of fishermen and boaters alike. The newly dedicated Judge Williard J. Brogan Boat Ramp is now officially open.

Claiborne County Mayor Joe Brooks said following the dedication ceremony on Aug. 4 that the boat ramp parking lot would receive its striping over that weekend. There are 91 total parking spaces, 74 of which will be used by boats, according to Brooks.

The entire parking lot has been graded and given a fresh, thick coat of asphalt. The ‘wildlife refuge’ area, previously left untouched when the lot underwent its initial enlargement, has been cleared away.

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The actual boat ramp will be addressed this winter during the concluding portion of the Phase I project.

The temporary closing of the boat ramp during the peak summer season caused quite the controversy as pleasure boaters and serious fishermen realized an alternate access to Norris Lake would need to be ferreted out. Some were quite concerned about possible interference with the fishing tournaments scheduled for the summer and early fall. Those tournaments generate a substantial amount of revenue to the county each year.

Swift turn-around times have cut this portion of phase I of the project length by more than three weeks.

The $316,761.23 project was funded by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission with help from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative and Claiborne County government.

The free public access boat ramp is a cooperative effort between the Tennessee Valley Authority, TWRA and the county.