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Contact: Tom Blount, 423-569-9778
Contact: Matt Hudson, 423-346-6294
A large ice storm incident on February 21, 2015, crippled a large portion of the Upper Cumberland Plateau, including the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, after a week of snow and subfreezing temperatures. Snow-covered roads became ice sheets. Trees, branches and power lines were broken by the weight of ice and wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph.
A week long assessment has determined that approximately 80 percent of Big South Fork's 125,000 acre total has been affected by the ice storm. Storm related impacts within Big South Fork are primarily located south of the Kentucky state line. Downed timber of enormous magnitude, twisted and stacked upon each other, will require removal from roads and trails in order to allow access. Over 70 miles of park roads and more than 370 miles of trails are impacted. Staff are currently working to open park roads and will have to wait for a spring melt before addressing the damaged trails.
Leatherwood Road has been cleared and is open for normal traffic through the park and the Bandy Creek Visitor Center is accessible and is open for regular hours. For more information on the park, please call (423) 569-9778.