Forest Service says Pisgah National Forest trails likely to reopen before August 13

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Forest Service says Pisgah National Forest trails likely to reopen before August 13

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Forest Service issued sweeping closures of roads, trails and recreation sites in Pisgah National Forest. The four-month closure is set to expire on August 13 or ‘until rescinded.’ Recently, National Forest Service spokesperson Cathryn Dowd told the Citizen Times that they “do expect things to reopen sooner.” 

“The closing of the Pisgah Trails is unfortunate. But I think we certainly support the efforts to control the coronavirus,” Randy Fluharty, a past president of the Carolina Mountain Club told the Citizen Times. “A lot of people are having to make adjustments to their lives and make sacrifices, and we feel like it’s what we have to do.” 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park synchronous firefly displayed canceled in 2020

It’s a summer tradition and a sight to behold: thousands of fireflies synchronously lighting the night sky in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Through a lottery system, visitors can secure a ticket to watch this natural wonder at the park’s Elkmont Campground. But in 2020, the show won’t go on for the public. 

The park has canceled the firefly display because the shuttle service that takes people to the viewing areas has no way of keeping visitors 6 feet apart. People staying at Elkmont Campground can still catch the show, but the campground is currently closed. 

“Park managers will continue to evaluate regional conditions and work with local communities to assess dates for an orderly reopening of park facilities in a manner that provides for the health and safety of employees, volunteers, partners, residents and visitors,” the park said in a press release. 

Friends of the Smokies offers virtual hiking event to raise funds for park programs

In an effort to raise funds for critical programs of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Friends of the Smokies has launched a virtual hiking event called the Alum Cave At-Home Adventure. To participate, register online and complete the 4.6-mile virtual hike to Alum Cave or the 10-mile challenge to the top of Mount Le Conte by logging miles in your neighborhood or on your treadmill.

Participants of the at-home adventure are encouraged to fundraise. Those that raise at least $200 will receive a T-shirt and medal by mail. Those who raise or donate more than $500 will receive additional hiking goodies. 

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