Trails reopen after tornado damage

Chimney Tops trail is still closed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the reopening of 2 trails that have been closed since 2011 after receiving extensive damage from an EF4 Tornado in the western end of the Park.

50 miles of trails were closed after the tornado, and park rangers say it has taken a lot of work to get several areas reopened.

"We had phone calls, visitors that some of those were their favorite trails. So I thin that we're going to please a lot of people," said Dana Soehn, National Parks Spokesperson.

The Park's Trail Crew recently completed rehabilitation work on Beard Cane and Hatcher Mountain Trails. These trails have been closed since April 2011 due to damaging tornado winds and rain that left the trails blocked by thousands of downed trees. In addition, Park crews had to rebuild the trail tread surface and construct multiple retaining walls where the trail had been completely destroyed after uprooted trees fell down-slope with sections of the trail attached.

The park service says right now Chimney Tops Trail is closed after flooding this January. The trail is expected to fully reopen by June 30th.

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