Thursday, February 25, 2010

Contruction season in the Smokies to begin Monday

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Federal Lands Highway Program, several park improvement projects will be conducted in the Great Smoky Mountains this year.

Beginning this Monday, and lasting throughout the spring and summer, over $93,300,000 worth of improvements will be made to park roads and facilities.

The park has recently published a summary of the projects, which includes project details, as well as road and trail closures.

Beginning on Monday, March 1, the first major project to kick-off the season will be the repavement of the Cades Cove Loop Road. Here's the complete list of projects and expected closures:

• Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed to all public use from March 1 thru May 21 for repaving. This will impact the Forge Creek Road, Parson Branch Road and Rich Mountain Road, as well as the Abrams Falls Trail, Cooper Road Trail, Gregory Bald Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail, Hannah Mountain Trail, Indian Grave Gap Trail and Rabbit Creek Trail.

• Clingmans Dome Road will be closed to all public use through May 28 for repaving. This will impact the Fork Ridge Trail, Forney Creek Trail, Forney Ridge Trail (Andrews Bald), Noland Divide Trail, Road Prong Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail.

• Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail will be closed to all public use through May 28 for repaving. This will impact the Baskins Creek Trail, Grapeyard Ridge Trail, Trillium Gap Trail.

• Cherokee Orchard Road past the Noah Bud Ogle Cabin will be closed to all public use through March 19. This will impact the Bullhead Trail, Old Sugarlands Trail, Rainbow Falls Trail, Trillium Gap Trail.

• The Sinks parking area on Little River Road closed through May 25 for repaving. This will impact the Meigs Creek Trail.

• Smokemont Campground will be closed March 10 - May 27, 2010. This will impact the Bradley Fork Trail and the Smokemont Loop Trail.

• Heintooga Ridge Road and Balsam Mountain Campground will be closed until May 27, 2010. This will impact the Flat Creek Trail, Rough Fork Trail, Hemphill Bald Trail.

• Little River and Jakes Creek Trailhead. Portions of the area will be closed to public use from July 6-August 31, 2010, impacting the Little River Trail and Jakes Creek Trail.

• Other projects include the Foothills Parkway East and West, the Gatlinburg By-Pass Road, and Newfound Gap from Collins Creek Picnic Area to Cherokee, NC.

Here's a map of all the park improvement projects. Please click on the map for a larger view:

For more information on each of these proejcts, please click here.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

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