Flooding closes trails in the Smokies

Flooding closes trails in the Smokies

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The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular spots and has been closed off completely because of a collapsed pedestrian bridge. The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular spots and has been closed off completely because of a collapsed pedestrian bridge.
"It was actually not the water that caused the damage. A tree, a hemlock tree, came down with the flooding hit the middle of the bridge and that's what caused the damage," said park spokeswoman Molly Schroer. "It was actually not the water that caused the damage. A tree, a hemlock tree, came down with the flooding hit the middle of the bridge and that's what caused the damage," said park spokeswoman Molly Schroer.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Excessive rain and flooding from last week has left roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with significant damage.

Sections of road running through some of the most popular areas of the national park had to be shut down temporarily because they were washed out by all the rainfall.

Park officials were still evaluating conditions on Friday evening to determine what exactly needs to be done to fix some of the damage.

The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular spots and has been closed off completely because of a collapsed pedestrian bridge.

Nancy and Bennett Line came out to enjoy the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park like they have hundreds of times before.

But thanks to last week's heavy rainfall, the scenery has changed.

"I did notice an excessive number of fallen trees," Nancy Line said.

The park saw between 14 and 17 inches of rain last week. On the Chimney Tops trail, yellow tape blocked off some of the entrances. It's all because this wooden foot bridge across Walker Camp Prong collapsed.

"It was actually not the water that caused the damage. A tree, a hemlock tree, came down with the flooding hit the middle of the bridge and that's what caused the damage," said park spokeswoman Molly Schroer.

The park says it doesn't know whether it will repair the damage to the bridge and put in a temporary pathway or replace the bridge altogether.

It's also unknown when it will be back in use. Because it's wintertime, the park says it's hoping the damage won't hurt tourism too much because it is the slow season.

But some visitors say the flood damage is making a difference.

"I think it'll hurt them a little going towards Cherokee, because a lot of people like to go over there and come back," said Bennett Line.

The park still doesn't know the total cost of the damage or where exactly the money will be coming from. The park does not have money allocated in the budget for weather-related incidents.

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