Irma's rains swell NC mountain rivers
A popular stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain reopened this week, but other parts remain closed because of rock and tree damage from Hurricane Irma.
More than 300 miles of the parkway saw downed trees and storm damage, “and across this large area a wide variety of conditions exist,” the National Park Service said in a statement on the parkway’s website. “Sections that remain closed have substantial tree and rock damage requiring more in-depth and technical cleanup.”
Previously closed sections that reopened on Wednesday included the more than 10-mile stretch from mile post 294.6, west of Blowing Rock, to mile post 305, near Grandfather Mountain at U.S. 221. The segment includes Julian Price Park, Rough Ridge and the Linn Cove Viaduct, the Wautaga Democrat reported.
Other sections that reopened Wednesday, according to the park service, were:
▪ Mileposts 165-217, from Virginia Route 8 to North Carolina.
▪ Mileposts 217-265, from Cumberland Knob to Calloway Gap, including Doughton Park.
▪ Mileposts 324-331, near Heffner Gap to Gillespie Gap, including the N.C. Minerals Museum.
▪ Mileposts 382-384.7, from U.S. 70 to U.S. 74, including the Folk Art Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center.
Sections still closed are:
▪ Mileposts 265-294.6, including Cone Memorial Park.
▪ Milepost s305-324, including the Linville Falls campground and picnic area.
▪ Mileposts 331-382, including Crabtree Falls and the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.
▪ Mileposts 385-469, including the Pisgah Campground and Picnic Area and Waterrock Knob Visitor Center.
The Pisgah Inn at Milepost 408 remains closed due to a power outage.
Areas closed during storm cleanup are closed to all traffic, including cyclists and hikers. For more closures, check The Blue Ridge Parkway Road Closure Map at https://go.nps.gov/brp-map.
“This storm event is a reminder that the Blue Ridge Parkway is a living and fragile resource,” the park service said. “While inconvenient, the public’s cooperation with these remaining closures is important to personal safety as well as the protection of parkway resources.”