Access to a popular section of Gorges State Park and the Nantahala National Forest had been limited during the last year due to infrastructure construction at Gorges State Park. But now, the Grassy Ridge section of Gorges State Park in Western North Carolina is open again after a $6 million makeover. The once primitive Grassy Ridge now features four parking lots, trailhead access for the popular Bearwallow Falls, Turtleback Falls, and Rainbow Falls, and overlooks of the Jocassee Gorge. This is just the first phase of development for Gorges, as construction for a new visitor’s center is scheduled to begin in 2010.

NC State Parks also unveiled the new Mount Mitchell observation tower. The summit of Mitchell (the highest peak in the East) had been closed for the last two years as the old observation tower was decommissioned and a new tower was built in its place.

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