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Smokies Announces Road, Facility Closures in Preparation for Hurricane Irma

Smokies Announces Road, Facility Closures in Preparation for Hurricane Irma

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials continue preparations for Hurricane Irma and will be enacting road and facility closures beginning Saturday.

Predications from the National Weather Service indicate Irma will be a tropical depression rated-storm when she reaches the Smokies beginning as early as Monday morning. Officials anticipate sustained winds of 30-50 mph with higher gusts throughout Monday and into Tuesday, with the most severe weather predicted for Tuesday. Rainfall amounts of 2-5 inches Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning are likely, with higher rainfall amounts possible for the North Carolina side of the park. Due to the potential for these conditions to cause downed trees, flooding, and landslides the following closures will be put into effect.

Closing Saturday, September 9, 2017

Picnic Areas

  • Big Creek, Collins Creek, Deep Creek, and Heintooga

Front Country Campgrounds

  • Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, and Deep Creek

Horse Campgrounds

  • Big Creek and Round Bottom

Roads

Tennessee

  • Ramsey Cascade Road including Ramsey Cascade Trail
  • Tremont Road (Upper) from Tremont Institute to Middle Prong Trailhead

North Carolina

  • Balsam Mountain Road
  • Clingmans Dome Road
  • Deep Creek Access Road and Tom’s Branch
  • Heintooga Ridge Road/Round Bottom Road/ Straight Fork Road
  • NC Hwy 284
  • Twentymile

Facilities/Concession Operations

  • Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob
  • Clingmans Dome Information Center
  • Leconte Lodge

 

Closing Sunday, September 10, 2017

Picnic Areas

  • Cades Cove, Chimneys, Cosby, Greenbrier, Metcalf, and Twin Creeks

Campgrounds

  • Abrams Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Elkmont, and Smokemont

Horse Campgrounds

  • Anthony Creek, Cataloochee, and Tow-String

Roads

Tennessee

  • Abrams Creek Road
  • Cades Cove Loop Road at 6pm
  • Cherokee Orchard Road
  • Cosby Access Road
  • Elkmont Road
  • Forge Creek Road
  • Greenbrier Road
  • Laurel Creek Road
  • Little River Road
  • Rich Mountain Road
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
  • Tremont Road
  • Wear Cove Gap Road

North Carolina

  • Cataloochee Road
  • Lakeview Drive

Facilities

  • Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin
  • Cable Mill Visitor Center
  • Cades Cove Stables
  • Smoky Mountain Stables
  • Smokemont Riding Stables
  • Sugarlands Riding Stables
  • Tremont Institute

Scheduled closures will make most park trailheads inaccessible. Overnight backcountry use is not recommended beginning Sunday through Thursday due to the potential threat of downed trees and flooded stream crossings causing rivers and trails to become impassable. All backcountry reservation holders are encouraged to alter their trip plans. Refunds will be available to those who are unable to reschedule their trip for an alternative date.

Additional closures may become necessary as the storm progresses. Following the storm, roads, campgrounds and facilities will be reopened as quickly as possible once staff evaluate the conditions and determine they are safe for opening.

“Staff and visitor safety is at the forefront of all of our planning efforts,” said Smokies Chief Ranger Steven Kloster, who is coordinating the preparations. “We will continue to monitor the projected path of Hurricane Irma and will base all decisions on current and predicted weather conditions.”

Park officials said Friday that they have been in contact with neighboring emergency management agencies to coordinate communications and planning efforts. The headwaters of many of the rivers that flow through neighboring towns are inside the Smokies. Rangers will be monitoring streams and rivers to provide advance warning of possible flash flooding to the local communities.

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