US Forest Service officials for the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest have released a damage assessment for the tornados that ripped through the area late last month.
According to the report, tornados damaged more than 80 miles of roads, numerous trails, a campground and more than 2000 acres of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Lumpkin, White, Habersham, Rabun and Jasper counties in north Georgia.
The storms forced officials to close the following roads due to safety concerns:
1. Chattahoochee River Road, north of Helen,
2. Boggs Creek Road, in Lumpkin County,
3. The east end of Tray Mountain Road, in White County
4. Timpson Creek Road, in Rabun County.
“Many of the Forest’s roads have been damaged from trees falling across them, clogged culverts and water damage,” said George Bain, Forest Supervisor. “The public is urged to exercise extreme caution when traveling forest roads where tornados occurred.
A significant number of trees that came down in this storm event were of significant commercial quality. The Forest Service is working to make as much of this product available to local industry as is feasible, according to guidelines in the forest Land Management Plan. Because of the location and type of damage, it is expected to take longer than normal to remove, causing some areas to remain closed this recreation season and even into next year, officials predict.
The Forest Service has also closed Boggs Creek Campground in Lumpkin County until further notice.
Some trails, including Logan Turnpike near the Appalachian Trail is blocked, however, the A.T. remains open. Other trails closed include the Town Creek OHV Trail System near Greenville and the Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Trail in Jasper County.