By Max Hrenda
Although the U.S. Forest Service had announced its intention to move its Watauga Ranger District office to Carter County, officials with Cherokee National Forest said those plans have been put “on hold.”
Though the service still plans to relocate its office from the town of Unicoi, according to Watauga District Ranger Keith Kelley, who manages the district office in Unicoi, it decided against building a new facility.
“The main reason it was held up was that they decided not to move forward with building any new structures,” Kelley said. “At this time, it’s not something we’re going to move forward with in the immediate future.”
According to Cherokee National Forest Supervisor JaSal Morris, the decision to delay the relocation was financially motivated.
“We haven’t got our budget for 2013-2014 yet,” Morris said. “We’re not sure whether those dollars are going to be there. Until we know for sure what that is going to be, we can’t make a decision.”
With the proposed relocation on hold, the service has already taken steps to stay at its current location in Unicoi.