Rockslide Closes Parkway Section
(Asheville, NC) Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis said that the concerns are growing for the structural integrity of the road just south of the Craggy Garden Visitors Center (Milepost 364.5) after a late February rock slide.
Due to unstable road conditions associated with the retaining wall failure at the steep slope across the road from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, Parkway officials are implementing an area closure to all traffic, not only vehicles, but bicycle and foot traffic as well.
“The road section above the failure has become unstable and is not safe for travel, and we feel it is in the best interest of all Parkway users to close that section to all vehicle and recreational activity.”
Engineering reports are still coming in, and an inspection by a Supervisory Park Ranger revealed that the area closest to the slide is particularly unstable. Thus there are orange barrels and cones to prohibit hikers, bicyclists or any activity to go into that area. Signs will be posted there as soon as possible.
At the present time, the actual roadway is closed because of debris on the road from Bull Gap at Milepost 355 all the way to MP 375, just south of Mount Mitchell State Park. After weather related issues (ice and debris from fallen trees) are removed, and after the Parkway officials receive and review the options for repairing the slide area, a decision will be made regarding road closure for the section from Craggy Gardens just north of the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area access road (MP 364.5) to just south of Mt. Mitchell State Park.
It is likely that access to Mt. Mitchell State Park for 2008 will continue to be from the north only. Craggy Gardens Visitor Center will be closed for the 2008 season.
From Asheville, barring any weather related closures, a visitor driving north on the Parkway will be able to travel at least as far as the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area, once the area is cleared of debris all the way to MP 367.6. The Craggy Gardens Picnic Area will open on Friday, May 9.