Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers were involved in the rescue of a 53-year-old male who had been struck by a falling tree during the storm event of Thursday, June 13th. Nathan Lipsom, from Cambridge, MA, was hiking along Low Gap Trail when the storm hit around 4:00 pm and sustained multiple injuries.
Due to the number of downed trees from the storm, the trails around the Cosby and Big Creek areas were impassable for the rescue team. The Park ordered a Blackhawk helicopter from the state of North Carolina with winching capabilities to extricate the patient. Lipsom was then flown to the airport in Asheville, NC, and transported by ground to Mission Hospital.
A National Weather Service crew has confirmed an EF-1 tornado in the Cosby area during the June 13th storm.
Right now the Gabes Mountain Trail and Snake Den Ridge Trail in Cosby, and the Baxter Creek Trail and the Big Creek Trail in Big Creek remain closed due to scores of downed trees. The trails are impassable by foot or horse.
In addition to trail closures, the Park has also closed “B” Loop of Cosby Campground. Backcountry Campsites 29, 34, 36, 37 and 38 are all closed as well.
There's no estimate for reopening the trails or the campgrounds at this time.
For the most up to date closure information, visit the Park’s website, or call our Backcountry Office at 865-436-1297.
Hiking in the Smokies