New handicap-accessible fishing ramp now open at South Holston

Local

BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL)- Casting a line and catching some fish at the South Holston River just got easier for those with mobility issues.

Today the TVA celebrated the opening of an ADA compliant fishing ramp.

“This is an area where a lot of people come to fish for trout, and this was a popular bank fishing area to begin with. But it wasn’t that accessible for folks with disabilities,” said Jimmy Lemmond, TVA Recreation Engineer.

Two years ago, fisherman Paul Holt had a simple wish – a place where he and his wife could easily enjoy the river bank.

“My wife’s in a wheelchair, and I can’t walk too much, said Holt. “And I can bring her out here and fish.”

This is because Holt reached out to Lemmond and the TVA with a request for a paved sidewalk ramp. After planning and funding, the ramp was built this summer.

Paul Holt at the new South Holston fishing ramp

“The facility here is all new, every bit of it is,” Lemmond said. “The only thing that was here before is the parking lot. Having the accessibility, the sidewalk down here allows people to come and use the resource in an easier way.”

The TVA has other ADA compliant features in the works at South Holston. A new cemented trail is being funded and built along the river. It will connect the fishing ramp to the Osceola Island picnic area. 

“The closest ADA accessible area on TVA property is at Watauga, so we just felt there was a need here,” said TVA Forester Randy Short. “And really, with the fishing area and the trail, I think it’s just going to continue to grow.”

​Avid fishermen like Holt are just fine with that.

“They can come out here, and go down the ramp and enjoy themselves, get out in the fresh air,” Holt said. “My hope is to go back home, get my fishing pole, come back and catch about twenty.”

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