Heavy Rain Causes Flooding On Parkway

Heavy Rain Causes Flooding On Parkway And Closures

Flooding on parkway closes some sections in Virginia and North Carolina. A cold front moving through the area yesterday brought storms, winds and heavy rain to parts of North Carolina and Virginia. Several sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are closed while crews clean up after flooding, fallen limbs, debris and other problems.  In Virginia the section closed is just south of Roanoke from approximately milepost 120 all the way to about milepost 135. Near the VA/NC state line a section is closed from about milepost 203 to about milepost 242. This area is south of Asheville, NC. The access to Craggy Gardens Picnic Area at milepost 367.5 is closed. Another long section is closed from about 402.5 to 408.5 in North Carolina . The BRP report that the “Pisgah Inn and Campground are currently only accessible via HWY 276 due to a safety closure from MP 402.7 to MP 408.4.”

Flooding Causes Closures on BRP

Flooding Causes Closures on BRP

The closures are for all traffic including vehicles, bikes and pedestrians. As soon as the cleanup is completed the sections will reopen. Cleanup is ongoing and these closures will reopen as soon as possible. Crews are hard at work to get these areas open to the public. This part of the year the parkway is a busy place due to all the visitors drawn to the parkway to view the fall foliage.

For up to date information and road closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway you can alway to the parks real-time roadmap for current closure information.

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Part of Appalachian Trail Closed Due To Bear Activity

Part of Appalachian Trail Closed In VA Due To Bear Activity

Part of the Appalachian Trail closed due to bear activity this week. For the past week or so a 200 pound bear has been causing problems in the Wildcat Ridge/Turk Mountain area of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This bear has been exhibiting “very persistent behavior attempting to get hikers’ food” the park service reports. On October 6, 2017 the park service had to restrict overnight camping along the Appalachian Trail between Riprap parking at Skyline Drive Mile 90 and Turk Gap parking at Skyline Drive Mile 94.2. This is in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia just north of Waynesboro, VA. Camping was restricted due to bear activity that involved searching for food. Hiking was not restricted and is still allowed on that section of the AT. The SNP service warn hikers to be vigilant about securing their food and snacks while in this section of the Appalachian Trail.

Bear Activity Closed Section Of AT in VA

Bear Activity Closed Section Of AT in VA

It is a known fact bears like to seek food in campgrounds and backcountry campsites. Bears search through trash cans, campsites, tents and even cars looking for food. While camping never leave food or snack items just lying around, the smell of the food can attract bears. Even BBQ grills that have remnants of steak, chicken, fish or other grilled food can attract bears. If you are hiking or camping and you encounter a bear do not run. A bear can outrun and outclimb humans. Make a lot of noise and wave your arms while backing away slowly. Do not get any closer. If attacked do not play dead but hit and fight back.

 

 

Bear Safety Tips

Keep your distance of at least 50 yards
Make noise so the bear knows you are there
If the bear starts to approach back away slowly
Do not turn your back on the bear
Do not run
Make loud noises
Do not approach or chase the bear and do not surround it
If the bear approaches you and you have no choice stand up, wave your arms, yell and shout, clap your hands, and throw rocks at the bear
Most of the time if you avoid making close contact or if you make noise this will result in a good outcome

Hikers on the Ap in the SNP encounter black bears

 

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Portions of Blue Ridge Parkway Closed Due To Nate

Portions of Blue Ridge Parkway Closed Due To Hurricane Nate

Portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway closed today. Hurricane Nate has made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane. It made landfall Saturday night about 8:00pm near the mouth of the Mississippi River on the Gulf Coast.  The remnants of Hurricane Nate will head north and east dumping heavy rain and high winds. This area of concern includes Western North Carolina. In anticipation of the possibility of heavy rain and high winds the park service will close portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Closures begin on Saturday at 5:00pm. The two portions being closed are both in the North Carolina portion of the parkway.

10/9/17 Update to Closures: Only one section of the Blue Ridge Parkway remains closed now. The remnants of Nate blew down trees and caused lots of fallen debris on the parkway in certain spots. The small section is still in need of cleanup and therefore still closed. The section closed is from Deep Gap at MP 276 to MP 268 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. As soon as cleanup is completed the park service will reopen this section to all.

Here is the statement National Park Service made public concerning the closure:

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway will begin closing at 5:00 p.m. in anticipation of high winds and heavy rains due to the remnants of Hurricane Nate. Saturated soils in combination with high winds in these areas increase the risk of rock slide and falling trees and debris. Closures in effect as of 5:00 p.m. include:

– Milepost 355.2 (Mt. Mitchell State Park) – 382 (Folk Art Center), including access to the Craggy Gardens Area
– Milepost 411.5 (US Route 276) – 469, including access to Waterrock Knob

Access to Mt. Pisgah will remain available at this time. The Pisgah Inn and Mt. Pisgah Campground will also remain open this evening.
During the closure these sections of Parkway are closed to ALL use, including cyclists and hikers. Attempts to route around gates and barriers is prohibited. The public’s cooperation with these closures is important to personal safety as well as the protection of Parkway resources.
Updates to these closure areas will be noted in the coming days on the Parkway’s online Real Time Road Map.

 

Hopefully the remnants of Nate will not cause too much damage to the North Carolina mountains. October is the month with the most visitors to the parkway. The fall foliage season is just beginning. The warm temperatures have slowed down the progression of fall colors in the trees. The mid and lower elevations should peak about the middle and last week of this month. If the leaves can withstand the windy conditions and not fall off prematurely then the mid and lower elevations should result in a nice ending to the fall foliage season along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Hurricane Nate Closes Portions of BRP

Hurricane Nate Closes Portions of BRP

 

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Blue Ridge Parkway Viewing Of Solar Eclipse

Blue Ridge Parkway Viewing Of Solar Eclipse

How and where to go for Blue Ridge Parkway viewing of solar eclipse in North Carolina. Parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina will be in the path of the total solar eclipse. On August 21, 2017 a total solar eclipse will take place in the continental United States. It will be visible from West Coast to East Coast from Oregon to South Carolina. The path does include the far western section of North Carolina including sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is the first time in 38 years that a total eclipse has been possible to see in the continental United States. The next total solar eclipse in the continental United States will not be again until 2024. The total solar eclipse in NC will be in the far western portion of the state.This is a huge event and very exciting for North Carolina to be in the path of a total solar eclipse.

Total Solar Eclipse In NC August 21, 2017 Viewing

Total Solar Eclipse In NC August 21, 2017 Viewing

The time for the total eclipse portion of for the western area of the state of NC and the Blue Ridge Parkway will be about 2:35PM and last about 2 1/2 minutes. The entire event will take about 3 hours from start to finish. So it will start just minutes after 1:00pm and be over about 4:00pm. But the sun being totally blocked by the moon will only last about 2 1/2 minutes from 2:35:04PM until 2:36:37PM. The darkness or shadow of the moon blocking the sun will cause the earth to become dark in the middle of the day. On Monday August 21, 2017 the day will turn to night and then night to turn to day!

The areas in the path of totality will experience darkness in the middle of the afternoon for about 2 1/2 minutes. NASA has stated that those people located ” in the path of  totality will see stars and planets become visible in what is normally a sunlit sky.” The area for a total solar eclipse will happen in about a 100-mile wide corridor from Oregon across the United States toward South Carolina. Earth’s moon will pass directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking out the sun’s light and making it dark as night for a short period of time that afternoon. From beginning to  end in any one location the entire process will last about 3 hours. That includes both partial phases, one as it begins, totality and one as it ends.

 

How and Where to go for Blue Ridge Parking viewing of solar eclipse

Blue Ridge Parkway in Path of Total Solar Eclipse in NC

Blue Ridge Parkway in Path of Total Solar Eclipse in NC

Some of the best places in North Carolina to view the 100 percent total solar eclipse will be from high elevations located in the NC mountains. This includes the southern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC.  The Blue Ridge Parkway‘s southern end from milepost 418 to milepost 469 falls in the path of totality. Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam, Sam Knob, Devil’s Courthouse, and Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway are all in the path of totality. Other mountain sites in the path of totality in Western North Carolina include John Rock in Pisgah National Forest, Wayah Bald and Wesser Bald in Nantahala National Forest, and Whiteside Mountain near Cashiers. Crowds are expected so arrive early.

 

Good Places To Watch Solar Eclipse Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

Graveyard Fields MP 418.8

Black Balsam Trailhead  MP 420.2

Sam Knob   MP 420.2

Devil’s Courthouse   MP 422.4

Caney Fork Overlook   MP 428

Bear Trail Ridge Overlook   MP 430.4

Cowee Mountain Overlook   MP 430.7

Richland Balsam Overlook   MP 431.4 (the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Flat Gap Overlook  MP 435.2

Scenic Overlook  MP 441.3

Mt. Lynn Lowry Overlook   MP 445.2

Yellow Face Overlook  MP 446.4

Waterrock Knob Overlook   MP 451.2  (near Cherokee, NC)

 

Events Taking Place For The Solar Eclipse in NC

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville lies just north of that narrow band that will have 100% totality. The city will see a 99% solar eclipse and is just 50 miles north from the “path of totality,” where there will be a 100 percent eclipse. Asheville is having many special events but one is the Asheville’s Solar Eclipse Festival on August 21, 2017 from 12:00 noon until 3 p.m. The festival takes place in the heart of downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park. There will be music, food, eclipse related activities as well as safe eyewear to view the solar eclipse. This event is FREE!

Black Mountain is having Rock the Eclipse in Black Mountain August 19-21, 2017. Historic downtown Black Mountain will host many events all weekend long and on Monday the day of the solar eclipse. Black Mountain will experience a 98.9 percent solar eclipse.

Other towns are also having special viewing events. Sylva (in the path of totality) is having special events all weekend long and on Monday they plan a big celebration. Astronomy experts will have educational talks and demonstrations leading up to the time of the eclipse.

Dillsboro is having a family friendly party in Monteith Park. A free shuttle will run to shops and restaurants in the small town for people to use to easily get around.

Cashiers and the nearby Gorges State Park will have three days of free activities for the eclipse.  Again arrive early because the park will close on Monday when capacity is reached. In Cashiers, the Village Green will have food trucks and live music 12-4 p.m. Monday August 24 the day of the big event.

In Downtown Bryson City just south and on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park the city turns into a huge block party Monday afternoon. There will be live music and other special events taking place.

In Cherokee, gateway of the south to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there will be events held. They plan to have demonstrations of Warrior Dancers, storytellers and craft demonstration at the Fairgrounds and Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Tickets will cost $25.

Expect Crowds On The Blue Ridge Parkway

Here are some reminders to keep in mind for travel on the parkway that Monday. Traffic on the Blue Ridge Parkway that day will be very busy. Parking areas will fill up quickly. Visitors centers and public restrooms will also be crowded.The National Park Service does allows people to park vehicles anywhere on the Parkway as long as it is off the roadway. This means you can park in open fields, gullies, and unofficial scenic overlooks but please be sure you are parking on parkway property and not on any private property.

The maximum speed limit on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 45mph. Some sections are marked at 35mph. The parkway is made to be driven at a slow leisurely speed limit. Do not be in a hurry. The parkway is a two-lane road that does allow passing in many areas, but long stretches of no passing are marked due to the winding mountainous terrain. Traffic on Monday August 21 will probably even be slower and very congested due to the total solar eclipse taking place that afternoon.

Protect Your Eyes

No matter where you are to view this event make sure you protect your eyes. You must wear proper sunglasses to view a solar eclipse. Not all sunglass are safe to use for this type of event. Make sure the sunglasses you use to view a total eclipse are marked “Made in USA” by either Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks, TSE or American Paper Optics. This will be printed on safe sunglasses to use “ISO 12312-2” or “ISO 12312-2:2015”. Sunglasses, eclipse shades or handheld viewers should meet the ISO safety standard. They also need to be in good condition, no tears, scratches, or  punctures.

What to do and how to prepare…

 

 

 

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Woman Falls To Death At BRP Overlook

Woman Fall To Her Death At East Fork Overlook on BRP

Woman falls to her death along Blue Ridge Parkway at one of the overlooks. While visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopping at East Fork Overlook an 83-year-old woman fell to her death. She fell about 150 feet below and down a steep rocky face at the overlook. People called 911 and multiple agencies responded including Haywood County Emergency Services, the Cruso Fire Department, Haywood County Search and Rescue, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service. The woman fell on Friday at about 10:45 am and her body was recovered about 1:00pm. The woman was identified as Nancy Ann Martin from Richmond, Virginia. East Fork Overlook is located at milepost 418. This area is located in the North Carolina portion of the parkway south of Asheville, NC.

East Fork Overlook Woman Falls To Her Death

East Fork Overlook
Woman Falls To Her Death

Officials warn visitors to stay on paved parkways and walkways, and clearing marked trails. Going over the low stone walls at overlooks can be dangerous. Steep drop-off and terrain is likely and it
is for safety reason that visitors should avoid these areas.With summer almost here the scenery is beautiful along the parkway. Officials caution people to take precautions while enjoying the views.

This is the second fatality this year on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Earlier this year a motorcyclist died while traveling the parkway. Harold Rose Jr was in a single vehicle accident on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Botetourt County Virginia. The crash happened on milepost 105 near Route 460 interchange.

Location of East Fork Overlook (just north of Brevard, NC)

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Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Dates

Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Dates Announced For GSMNP

The dates for the synchronous fireflies 2017 event in the Great Smoky Mountains at Elkmont this summer are May 30 – June 6, 2017. During these dates the shuttles will run taking those with tickets to Elkmont campgrounds each evening for the firefly viewing event.

Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Viewing Dates in GSMNP

Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Viewing Dates in GSMNP May 30-June 6

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park service has announced it will use the online lottery system for tickets again this year for the annual synchronous firefly event at Elkmont this summer. Dates to this year’s event were announced on April 25, 2017. The ticket lottery will open on April 28 and last through May 1. Lottery ticket winners will be notified on May 10.

This annual event has become so popular the park service had to start using a lottery ticket process in 2016 for the public to access Elkmont campground. Last year over 20,000 entered the lottery but only 1800 people got tickets. There is no fee for the lottery ticket but there is a $2.75 parking fee for the parking pass at Sugarland Visitor Center in Gatlinburg, TN. Shuttles will leave from Sugarland Visitor Center and take you to Elkmont campground located in the Great Smoky Mountains north of Cherokee, NC. Elkmont campground is the viewing area for the synchronous fireflies event. It is one of the few places in the world where you can see this special kind of firefly that flashes in sync.

Each year in late May and early June synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus), a species of fireflies that live in the GSMNP, provide an amazing show due to their mating pattern. This flash pattern is unique to this type of firefly (also referred to by southerners as lighting bugs). The flashing has a pattern that male and female fireflies of this species recognize. The synchronous flashing is part of their mating process. It is a fascinating act of nature to watch under the stars in the quit of the night in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The peak time for this annual mating season is in late May to mid June and will last for about 2 weeks. The National Park Service for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year has a viewing event at Elkmont Campgrounds. More information can be obtained at www.recreation.gov/Firefly Event Page or by calling (877) 444-6777.

Important Dates to Know for the Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Event

Shuttles will run May 30 – June 6, 2017

Tuesday 4/25/17: Dates of event and shuttle operating period will be announced

Friday 4/28/17 at 12:00 p.m. (NOON) ET: Lottery for Vehicle Passes OPENS

Monday 5/1/17 at 8:00 p.m. ET: Lottery for Vehicle Passes CLOSED

Wednesday 5/10/17: All lottery applicants will be notified about their application. If SUCCESSFUL you will awarded a vehicle pass) or UNSUCCESSFUL and you were not awarded a vehicle pass)

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Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide Closes Section Near Craggy Gardens

Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide Closes Parkway Near Craggy Gardens

A Blue Ridge Parkway rockslide has closed part of the parkway south of Craggy Gardens. The rockslide occurred on Saturday March 4, 2017 at milepost 365 near the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. The parkway was open at the time but no injures occurred. Thirteen miles of the parkway is closed as a result of the rockslide. It occurred in one of the most vulnerable and unstable sections of the parkway. The section closed is north of Asheville between Bull Gap and Craggy Gardens. The length of time for the closure is unknown.

Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide 3/4/17 Near Craggy Gardens

Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide 3/4/17 Near Craggy Gardens

It was reported the rockslide brought down over 100 tons of rocks and boulders. Until the rocks can be removed and the damage to the road surface can be evaluated the amount time for the parkway road closure in this area will be unknown. Soon as the evaluation is completed by the engineers they will make public how long the closure is expected to last. The road to Mount Mitchell State Park remains open but can only be accessible from the north of the state park. Rockslides in the North Carolina mountains are common in winter due to the repeated freezing and thawing out.

Here is the link to a realtime road closure map for the Blue Ridge Parkway. It shows the location of the Blue Ridge Parkway rockslide that occurred on March 4, 2017 and the section of the parkway that is closed until repairs can be made.

 

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Snow Closes Parkway Sections

Snow Closes Parkway Sections and Skyline Drive

Recent snow closes parkway in sections and all of Skyline Drive. Due to this past weekend’s cold temperatures and snowfall most areas of the Blue Ridge Parkway had to be closed. This also applies to Skyline Drive in Virginia in  the Shenandoah National Park. Several inches of snow in the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia made driving hazardous so park officials decided to close many sections. All of Skyline Drive in Virginia is currently closed. Most of the parkway in North Carolina is closed due to the snow and dangerous road conditions.

snow closes parkway sections

Snow Closes Parkway Jan 2017

Here is a link to the real-time closure road map from the park service. This is a real-time map of current road closures and conditions. It is a nice tool to use especially during the winter months if you plan to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway. It does not take a lot of snow, sleet or ice to cause problems for drivers on the parkway. Hikers are welcome to take in the beautiful scenery and views but caution is advised. The roads are very slippery so take care to stay safe. Temperatures at night will remain near freezing for several more days. More snow or some type of winter precipitation is possible again by the end of the week in Western NC and areas north. Plan accordingly.

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BRP Weekly Fall Foliage Reports Underway

Fall Foliage Reports and Updates Underway

Travel Blue Ridge Parkway has started our weekly fall foliage reports and update for the 2016 fall foliage season. The color changes have begun in the highest elevations of the North Carolina mountains at Grandfather Mountain. There is even a hint of color in the mid elevations of 4000 feet. We are here to help you keep up to date on where and when to go to see the colorful show. We have started to update out Fall Foliage page on the web site at least once a week. The longer nights, cooler nighttime temperatures and the nice sunny days are just perfect to kick off this annual display of color.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage Reports

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage Reports

Included in the weekly reports are where to go and when to go to see the colorful display along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina, a well as Skyline Drive in Virginia. The mountains in North Carolina will peak first due to the higher elevations. The mountains of Virginia along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are not as high and therefore the color changes take place about a week later than the NC sections.

With so many different types of trees along the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway no wonder there is such a wide range of color during the fall foliage season. The trees that change earliest are Yellow Birch, American Birch and Witch Hobble. Then others follow like the Red Maple, Buckeyes, Sourwood, Sumac and Pin Cherry trees. The many colors of fall that result in such a vibrant display include reds, purples, yellow, golds, maroon, and orange. Different trees are prone to certain colors when the complicated process takes place each fall. Black gum, dogwood and sourwood trees take on a deep red color. Poplar trees and ash trees give off the bright yellow color. Oak trees turn a russet and maroon color. Red maple trees turn yellow, maroon and red colors. The beech and sassafras trees produce an orange color.

Make sure to check back often on our Fall Foliage page to find out when and where to go to see the best display of colors and when peak colors are taking place. But with all the different elevations along the parkway there will always be somewhere to see a splendid show of color during October.

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Fall Foliage 2016 On The Parkway

Fall Foliage 2016 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The fall foliage 2016 season will start at the end of the month for the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The predictions are in for this year’s show. Some experts predict a longer than usual season and some experts report duller colors than past years. But do they really know? There are so many factors involved in Mother Nature’s spectacular show that happens every autumn.

An autumn ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most beautiful times to tour the parkway due to the brilliant fall color nature produces. Whether the drive is on Skyline Drive in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia or the North Carolina section of the parkway it doesn’t matter. All areas in the fall offer a great showing of fall foliage. But there is some difference in the timing of peak colors due to the difference in elevation along the 469 mile long parkway. The highest elevation (over 4000 feet) will peak first with progression going down to the lower elevations a few weeks later.

Peak colors will take place just days after the first frost in the many different locations. For some great tips on viewing the fall foliage see the Fall Foliage page on Travel Blue Ridge Parkway. It has a lot of information about the different locations and elevations including where and when to go to see colors during the entire fall foliage season.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage 2016

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage 2016

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