Park reopens trails damaged by tornado

Two trails that have been closed since 2011 after receiving extensive damage from a tornado in the western end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have finally been reopened.

Park trail crews recently completed rehabilitation work on Beard Cane and Hatcher Mountain trails. These trails have been closed since April 2011 due to damaging tornado winds and rain that left the trails blocked by thousands of downed trees. In addition, crews had to rebuild the trailhead and construct multiple retaining walls where the paths had been completely destroyed when trees uprooted.

The storm was so devastating that trail crews from as far away as California had to be brought into help park maintenance workers. All trails are now reopened for public use. However, backcountry campsite 11 remains closed because the damage was so great from the storm that it was deemed no longer suitable as a campsite. or 865.436.1297.

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