Great Smoky Mountains National Park News Release
July 7, 2012 4:15 pm
Contact: Melissa Cobern, 865-436-1207
Cades Cove Opens: Park Continues to Clear Storm-Damaged Areas
Park officials announced late this afternoon that Cades Cave,
the Cades Cove Loop, Laurel Creek Road into Cades Cove and the Little River
Road from Elkmont to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area will reopen this
evening. The Cades Cove Campground will reopen this evening, as well.
Two days after a violent thunderstorm ripped through the west
end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, killing two and injuring
several others, crews are still assessing damage and clearing other roads.
In its wake, the storm left a line of destruction stretching from Metcalf
Bottoms, across Cades Cove, to Abrams Creek.
With the aid of heavy equipment, NPS personnel have been working
to clear the tangled mass of hundreds of downed trees, covering several
roads in the west end of the park. According to park spokesperson, Melissa
Cobern, “Crews are making excellent progress, but it has been a challenge
to get the work done.” Cobern is referring not only to the amount of work
to be done, but also the complexity. “Clearing one tree might bring down
several others at the same time,” she says.
Today, park staff also began a damage assessment of backcountry
trails in the area hit by the storm. Initial indications are that several
trails received significant damage, including the Chestnut Top Trail, of
which a two-mile section has essentially been lost. The magnitude of the
storm damage will most likely result in the closure of all or portions of
several backcountry trails in the area.
Other roads in the storm damaged remain closed, including the
Little River Road between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend Wye, the Rich
Mountain Road, Parson’s Branch Road and the Abrams Creek access road. The
Abrams Creek Campground also remains closed. Assessment and clearing
efforts will continue through the weekend.