Rangers with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are cautioning against water recreation in the park this week including an area popular with locals.
Weather forecasts for the Fourth of July holiday week include heavy rain and thunderstorms which can cause river levels to rise rapidly.
Over the last several weeks, Smokies park rangers have assisted in multiple river rescues with local swift water rescue squads primarily involving visitors floating on inner tubes. Several of those tubing accidents have occurred at Deep Creek near Bryson City, a place many locals visit during the summer.
In addition, rangers have also responded to several incidents where visitors attempted to cross swollen rivers and became stranded on boulders in the river channel or on the opposite bank.
Visitors should alter their routes to avoid crossing any rising river by waiting until the river has receded or returning by another route.