Rattlesnakes of Appalachia coming to Brasstown Bald

Community, News
Snakes Appalachia

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Snakes are common in Appalachia, and rattlesnakes are one species that call northern Georgia home. Brasstown Bald is hosting a seminar entitled ‘Rattlesnakes of Appalachia’ on Saturday, July 7, 2018. The program begins at 2:00 p.m. at the Brasstown Bald Visitors Center. Dr. Chris Jenkins, director and snake researcher with the Orianne Society, will teach the class which will feature a live timber rattlesnake. The Orianne Society is a Georgia-based organization, tasked with conserving critical ecosystems for at risk reptiles and amphibians. Park entry is $5.00, and the program is included in the price of admission. Children are admitted at no charge.

According to researchers, the eastern timber rattlesnake population is declining in North Georgia, and the reason is thought to be due to agricultural and urban development. The reptiles typically dwell in heavily wooded areas and rock formations on hillsides. While timber rattlesnakes bites are highly venomous, attacks to humans are rare. The snakes rely on their camouflaged appearance to avoid confrontation, often remaining calm and coiled when approached, with a preference of slithering away rather than lunging. However, if threatened, the snake will rise and rattle its notorious tail, a warning that the creature is set to strike.

Timber rattlesnakes are characterized by their thick, heavy-bodies, and dark chevron-shaped markings which rest against a lighter background, with adult snakes maturing to 36 to 48 inches in length.

Timber rattlesnakes, also known as canebreakers, often hibernate in large numbers during the winter months. The primary diet of the snakes consist mainly of rodents, and occasionally birds that perch within reach.

According to the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, only six of the 42 species of snakes in the state of Georgia are venomous.

Brasstown Bald is located at 2941 Hwy. 180 Spur in Towns County. The Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Additional information can be acquired by dialing 706-896-2556

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Great American Eclipse Draws Near

News
Eclipse

Towns County, GA – The weather forecast is favorable for Monday’s solar show and visitors from around the world are making their way to northern Georgia to experience the rare celestial event.

As the highly anticipated Great American Eclipse approaches, Towns County officials confirm preparations are in place.

Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw assures the community that all agencies are working closely together. “We’ve done everything possible to prepare,” Bradshaw said on Friday.

Sheriff Chris Clinton tells Fetch Your News his agency has worked hard at planning for a variety of potential scenarios.

“We have no way of knowing the volume of visitors at this time, but we have everyone scheduled to be available within a two hour window. We have broken the county into four zones as opposed to two with multiple deputies in each zone. We had a brief with all patrol deputies [Thursday] evening,” Sheriff Clinton said. “I will personally be monitoring traffic flow all weekend and we will continue to access the traffic situation, which so far is our biggest concern.”

Sheriff Clinton suggests following the Towns County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook for updates. “We will do our best to relay information in a timely manner,” the Sheriff remarked.

The Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens and visitors that camping is not allowed on Bell Mountain and a limited amount of vehicles will be permitted to view the eclipse from the summit on a first come, first serve basis.

Hiawassee Police Department requests the public refrains from parking at McConnell Baptist Church. The parking lot will be used in an emergency situation should Chatuge Regional Hospital’s lot overflow.

Citizens and visitors will be permitted to park at the Recreation Center free of charge, but are asked to keep off the ball fields.

Parking will be available at Towns County school for a fee to view the eclipse. The school resource officer will be on site for security.

Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith reiterates traffic could become congested and advises residents to remain at home if possible.

“We’ll have extra officers over the weekend and all officers [on duty] Monday,” Chief Smith affirmed.

When asked if concern of potential terrorist activity exists, Sheriff Clinton said he is not aware of a credible elevation in threat levels at this time. Police Chief Smith confirms the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), has not alerted his department of any specific danger.

Towns County Fire and Rescue trucks will be fully manned, strategically staged in key locations, and equipped with medical supplies and hydraulic extrication tools.

“We hope everyone has a nice time and stays safe,” Fire Chief Harold Copeland expressed.

There is an agreement with Union County to provide overlapping coverage and mutual aid assistance if needed. A rescue boat will be staffed during the event and Coast Guard auxiliary units will patrol Lake Chatuge.

Towns County EMS will place an additional ambulance in service and provide another on call.

Chatuge Regional Hospital will have extra staff in the emergency department during the event. The hospital has requested citizens and visitors refrain from parking at the facility unless visiting for medical related purposes.

Home health agencies will be on standby to provide rapid assistance to patients.

Towns County 911 will have extra dispatchers on duty and additional 911 lines have been installed.

Radio maintenance personnel will be on standby to quickly respond to communication issues.

E-911 asks citizens to avoid parking on the gravel road that leads to the radio towers on Bell Mountain. If access is necessary, vehicles parked in this area will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Towns County 911 requests the public limits calls to emergency situations only.

Citizens should understand the possibility of lines becoming overwhelmed exists at any given time. Overflow calls may be directed to a neighboring county as per existing protocol.

E-911 has requested the following phone numbers be made available to the public:

706-896-5792
706-896-0894
706-896-3159

Ham radio operators will be on standby to assist county agencies with communications in an emergency situation.

The Department of Natural Resources will have additional officers assigned to Towns County. Helicopters will be staged in Union and Rabun counties to assist as needed.

The United States Forest Service reminds residents and visitors that only ticket holders will be permitted on Brasstown Bald. Forest Service law enforcement officers will be assigned to the area for security and additional personnel will be staged at key locations.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews will refrain from road work in the area during the event, but will be on standby to assist local agencies and respond to emergency situations.

Towns County School will be closed a full day on Monday, August 21. Young Harris College classes are cancelled as well. The college requests for the public to refrain from traveling upon the campus. All events at the college are limited to students, faculty and staff.

Follow Fetch Your News for news and updates on the Great American Eclipse.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Towns County Officials Prepare for Eclipse

News

Towns County, GA – Towns County officials are advising residents to prepare for the August 21 total solar eclipse as they would an approaching blizzard or ice storm.

Fire Chief Harold Copeland, E-911 Director Marty Roberts, Sheriff Chris Clinton, Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Emergency Management Deputy Director Brandon Walls met with local and state authorities on Tuesday, August 8, to discuss the highly anticipated event.

Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw assures the community that all agencies are working closely together to prepare as thoroughly as possible. They are by no means “taking it lightly.”

The expected number of visitors in our area is difficult to predict, but the potential for “gridlock” exists.

Officials encourage residents to stock up on food, water and gasoline well in advance.

Necessary prescription medications should be obtained beforehand.

Cellular communication is expected to be overloaded and unavailable during the event.

The resounding advice from authorities is to remain at home and travel only if absolutely necessary.

Towns County School and Daycare will be closed a full day on Monday, August 21.

The County Courthouse will close at 11:30 a.m.

Towns County Emergency Management Agency has requested assistance from state agencies and the Emergency Operations Center will coordinate with the state EOC. Home health agencies will be on standby to provide rapid assistance to patients if needed.

Towns County Fire and Rescue trucks will be fully manned and strategically staged throughout the county. A rescue boat will be staffed during the event and Coast Guard auxiliary units will patrol Lake Chatuge.

There is an agreement with Union County to provide overlapping coverage and mutual aid assistance if needed.

Towns County EMS will also place an additional ambulance in service and provide another with crew on call.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office will be fully staffed during the event and has requested assistance from local and state agencies with law enforcement and public safety concerns.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens and visitors that camping is not allowed on Bell Mountain and a limited amount of vehicles will be permitted to view the eclipse from the summit on a first come, first serve basis. Parking is limited to 46-48 vehicles.

Hiawassee Police Department will have extra officers on duty. Law enforcement requests the public refrains from parking at McConnell Baptist Church. The parking lot will be used in an emergency situation should Chatuge Regional Hospital’s lot overflow. The church will also be utilized as an emergency shelter if needed.

Georgia State Patrol will have additional troopers in the area to assist local agencies.
Aviation assets will remain on standby.

Young Harris College classes are cancelled the day of the eclipse. Extra police officers will be on duty. The college requests that the public refrains from traveling upon the campus. All events at the college are limited to students, faculty and staff.

Towns County 911 will have extra dispatchers on duty and additional 911 lines will be installed prior to the event. Radio maintenance personnel will be on standby to quickly respond to communication issues. E-911 asks citizens to avoid parking on the gravel road that leads to the radio towers on Bell Mountain. If access is necessary, vehicles parked in this area will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Towns County 911 requests the public limits calls to emergency situations only. Citizens should understand the possibility exists of 911 lines becoming overwhelmed at any given time. Overflow calls may be directed to a neighboring county as per existing protocol.

Ham radio operators will remain on standby to assist county agencies with communications in an emergency situation.

The Department of Natural Resources will assign additional officers to Towns County. Helicopters will be staged in Union and Rabun counties to assist as needed.

The United States Forest Service reminds residents and visitors that only ticket holders will be permitted on Brasstown Bald. Forest Service law enforcement officers will be assigned to the area for security and additional personnel will be staged at key locations.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews will refrain from road work in the area, but will remain on standby to assist local agencies or respond to emergency situations.

Chatuge Regional Hospital will provide extra staff in the emergency department throughout the event. The hospital has requested citizens and visitors refrain from parking at their facility unless visiting for medical related purposes.

Citizens and visitors will be permitted to park at the Recreation Center free of charge, but are asked to keep off the ball fields.

Parking will be available at Towns County School for a fee. The amount has not yet been determined.
A deputy will be on site to provide security.

E-911 has requested these additional phone numbers be made available to the public:

706-896-5792
706-896-0894
706-896-3159

The Sheriff’s Office and the Emergency Management Agency will post on their Facebook pages during the event to keep the public aware of developments.

A representative from Choose Energy, a Texas based company, reached out to Fetch Your News and provided information on how the solar power grid may be affected.

Follow Fetch Your News for further information and real time updates on the approaching phenomenon.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Brasstown Bald Tickets for August 21 Eclipse: Sold Out

News

Towns County, GA – Brasstown Bald, elevation 4,783 feet, is the highest mountain peak in the state of Georgia. Due to great interest in viewing the August 21 eclipse from this prime location, a limited amount of tickets were offered online for $30.00 per person by the Park. Admission is typically $5.00.

The 450 available tickets quickly sold out.

GA-180 Spur which leads to Brasstown Bald will be traffic restricted on the Monday of the eclipse. An estimated 30,000 – 50,000 visitors are expected to travel to Towns County to experience this rare phenomenon. County officials continue to prepare for the influx and a final meeting between management personnel will take place on August 8.

Hiawassee City Council advised residents at Monday’s work session to make plans to have an adequate amount of food and gasoline on hand in the event of a shortage.

Fetch Your News will provide further updates as August 21 approaches.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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