Great Smokies announces extensive vista clearing project
The park's goal is to allow the views to be maintained on a seven-year cycle. (source: www.nps.gov/grsm)
GATLINBURG (WATE) - Over the next few months, a contractor for Great Smoky Mountains National Park will reopen 34 of the most popular roadside vistas along the main roads.
Officials say this will be the first major vista-clearing initiative in decades.
"We have developed specific clearing prescriptions for every one of the 34 overlooks scheduled for treatment. In each case, we will have a park staff person assigned to guide the contractor in determining which trees should be removed entirely and which will be trimmed or thinned," said acting park Facility Manager Charlie Sellars.
The park's goal in renewing the vista management program is to allow the views to be maintained on a seven-year cycle.
The contractor will apply herbicides to the stumps of the taller-growing trees to prevent their re-sprouting.
They will also leave the lower-growing or shrubby species, like rhododendron and mountain laurel, un-cut so they eventually will shade out and discourage the re-growth of the taller trees.
Motorists can expect to see vista management under way from April 1-August 1 along: Newfound Gap Road, Clingmans Dome Road, the East and West Foothills Parkway, the Gatlinburg Bypass, Rich Mountain Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Lakeview Drive and Cataloochee Road.
No roads are expected to be closed for the work, but the overlooks that are being cleared will be closed so crews can work safely.