Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of three trail sections in the lower Forney Creek Trail area for a trail rehabilitation project that will include work on the Lakeshore, White Oak Branch, and Forney Creek trails.
Mechanized equipment will be used to significantly improve the condition and sustainability of these trails. The project will include re-establishing the trail surface, installing sustainable drainage features, and constructing locust log structures.
Due to the use of mechanized equipment for this project and safety concerns about the interaction of horses and hikers with the machinery, trail sections will be closed during rehabilitation work. Trail sections will be closed, one at a time, to minimize disruptions to backcountry travel.
“These trail reconstruction efforts will dramatically improve the condition of these trail sections that have degraded over the years due to the forces of erosion and compaction,” said Park Backcountry Management Specialist Christine Hoyer. “This project will ensure the long-term sustainability of these trails, which are a key part of our trail system, and improve the overall trail experience for hikers and horses.”
Lakeshore Trail from the Tunnel Trailhead to White Oak Branch Trail will be closed Monday through Thursday, July 13 through July 23, 2015. This 1.9-mile section of Lakeshore Trail will be inaccessible to all users for the 8 days of the closure. During the closure, users may still access the Tunnel Bypass Trail and the Goldmine Loop Trail from Lakeview Drive for out-and-back hikes and use of backcountry campsite 67.
The 1.8-mile White Oak Branch Trail will be closed every day from July 27 through August 20, 2015. During this closure, users can use the Forney Creek Trail for routes that access the Lakeshore Trail.
Forney Creek Trail, from White Oak Branch Trail to Jonas Creek Trail, will be closed Monday through Thursday, August 24 through September 24, 2015, except for Labor Day. During the closure, this 2.5-mile section of Forney Creek Trail will be inaccessible to all users. In addition to being open Friday through Sunday each week, the trail will also be open on the Labor Day holiday, Monday, September 7.
All backcountry campsites remain open during these closures. For assistance planning an itinerary in this area, please contact the Backcountry Information Office at 865-436-1297.
For more information on road and trail closures, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm.