Several trails in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest will be closed for the next two weeks in order to remove dead and dying hemlock trees.
Beginning tomorrow, all or portions of the Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail, Stratton Bald Trail, Naked Ground Trail and the Jenkins Meadow Trail, will be closed until November 14th.
The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest near Robbinsville, NC, has been heavily impacted by the hemlock wooly adelgid infestation over the last several years. Forest managers will be removing roughly 150 dead or dying hemlocks in order to assure the safety of hikers.
Interestingly, rather than chain saw the trees, the Forest Service plans to use explosive charges at varying heights on the trees in order to mimic the effects of natural events, such as wind storms.
The Memorial Forest is a 3800-acre tract of land that is named after Joyce Kilmer, a poet and journalist who was killed in World War I. Kilmer was the author of a poem called "Trees."
Many of the trees in Joyce Kilmer are over 400 years old, with the largest rising to heights of over 100 feet, and circumferences of up to 20 feet.