Last week the U.S. Forest Service announced that part of Wolf Laurel Road in the Nantahala National Forest will be closed as improvements are made to the road from April 15 thru mid-October. The project will enhance fish habitat by replacing two culverts, while performing other road repairs.
Wolf Laurel Road will be closed from the Swan Cabin Road intersection to the Wolf Laurel Trailhead, approximately the last two miles of the road, from mid-April to Oct. 15. Hikers and other forest users who wish to reach the Wolf Laurel Trailhead can park at the road closure and walk to the trailhead or access the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness through other trailheads. Alternate trailheads include Beech Gap, Rattler Ford, Joyce Kilmer Road and Maple Springs.
The existing culverts prevent brook trout from migrating to spawning areas upstream. Brook trout are the only trout native to much of the eastern United States. The Forest Service will install new culvert structures as part of a joint restoration project with the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture. The new culvert structures will provide fish passage to trout spawning areas upstream.
Portions of the road will be re-opened as work is completed. The Forest Service estimates that the entire road will open by mid-October. For additional information, contact the Cheoah Ranger District at 828-479-6431.