GSMNP Storm Damage

12:06 p.m. on June 15, 2013 (EDT)
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Just in case you are planning a trip here.

From the Smokies website

Storm Damage Closures
On Thursday June 13, 2013 a major thunderstorm produced heavy rains, high winds and a possible tornado in portions of Sevier and Cocke Counties in Tennessee. The following park facilities are temporarily closed:

Hiking Trails:
· Cosby Area: Gabes Mountain Trail and Snake Den Ridge Trail
· Big Creek Area: Big Creek Trail and Baxter Creek Trail
Campground Facilities:
· Loop B of the Cosby Campground is closed
Backcountry Campsites:
· Campsites 29, 34, 36, 37 and 38 are all closed in due to damage incurred during this storm event.

Additional trails and facilities may be added to the closure list as the damage assessment continues.

Also this from yesterday:

A North Carolina National Guard helicopter crew tonight airlifted a 53-year-old hiker out of the back country of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after he broke his ankle when a tree hit him during a Thursday afternoon storm, officials said.

Nathan Lipsom of Cambridge, Mass., was carried out around 6:45 p.m. and taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., according to park spokeswoman Molly Schroer.

His condition was not available tonight.

Rangers earlier in the afternoon were working their way toward Lipsom, who suffered a broken ankle at about 4 p.m. Thursday while hiking on the Low Gap Trail south of the Appalachian Trail, Schroer said.

A back country ranger found him Friday morning while patrolling the trails around Cosby and Big Creek to assess storm damage.

A National Weather Service crew confirmed an EF-1 tornado hit the Cosby area during the storm. Damage to the trails around the Cosby and Big Creek areas prevented a ground team from reaching Lipsom in a reasonable amount of time for a carry-out operation, Schroer said.

A team of rangers cut away downed trees on the trail, and another team of rangers followed with a litter.

7:51 a.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks Ewker!

8:48 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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sounds like the guy got lucky they were out to assess damage, otherwise he may have had a hell of a situation on his hands.

10:42 a.m. on June 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks Eddy, I missed this. I was considering a training hike up Baxter Creek on Saturday and might not have checked for closure. I would have kicked myself for driving an hour to a closed trail.

10:57 a.m. on June 17, 2013 (EDT)
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It must be remembered that the Park is heavily over-regulated and parsed out according to whatever the Tent Police decides to be important.  Other places suffer the same storm damage and are never "closed"---hikers just have to fend for themselves more and accept the risks.  It's called Wilderness for a reason.

There's a trail in the Cohuttas called Sugar Grove which years ago got ravaged by some type of hurricane and so the forest boys "closed" it.  Thing is, people still hike it and although unmaintained it's still walkable and camp-able. 

Storms come and go but it's a shame that the head honchos in the Park are whittling down the available and "authorized" campsites to fewer and fewer as the years go by.  Didn't they just permanently close several in the last year?

Of course, knowing the millions of "rolling couch potatoes" who access the park and do short dayhikes from the road, well, maybe they should be corralled.

12:24 p.m. on June 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Patman said:

Thanks Eddy, I missed this. I was considering a training hike up Baxter Creek on Saturday and might not have checked for closure. I would have kicked myself for driving an hour to a closed trail.



I had some friends who were suppose to camp at Mt Sterling and didn't find out about the area being closed until they got there. They made up a plan B and headed to max patch and points beyond.

March 28, 2020
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