Some National Parks Open as Florence Passes

Some National Parks Open as Florence Passes

While Tropical Storm Florence has eased away from Cape Hatteras National Seashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the staff at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border were bracing for heavy rains.

National Park Service staff said Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial have reopened.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

  • Visitor facilities and services north of Oregon Inlet reopened on September 16, following Dare County’s reentry notice for non-residents to areas north of Oregon Inlet.
    • Bodie Island Visitor Center is open
    • Bodie Island Lighthouse is open for climbing
    • Oregon Inlet Campground is open for camping
  • Some visitor facilities and services south of Oregon Inlet also reopened on September 16, following Dare County’s reentry notice for non-residents to areas south of Oregon Inlet beginning at the same time.
    • Frisco Campground is open for camping. Cape Point Campground will remain closed until conditions improve.
    • Hatteras Island Visitor Center is open.
    • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open.
  • Visitor facilities on Ocracoke Island will not reopen until after Hyde County has lifted its mandatory evacuation orders.
  • Beach access ramps and routes will reopen as assessments are completed. Beach access status updates will be posted regularly at over the next couple of days.
  • Beachgoers should be aware of ocean debris that may have washed ashore and buried items that were exposed during recent severe weather conditions. Also, it is important to be aware that life-threatening ocean conditions are present along all Outer Banks beaches. Dare County’s state of emergency, which prohibits entering the Atlantic Ocean, remains in effect. Visitors should stay out of the Atlantic Ocean until the state of emergency is lifted and ocean conditions improve.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

  • The park and its visitor center are open.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

  • The park and its temporary visitor center are open.

Further inland, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials were expecting 4-8 inches of rain Saturday night, with heavier rains possible Sunday. The higher rainfall totals were most likely for the North Carolina side of the park, staff said.

Due to the potential for hazardous conditions from downed trees, flooding, and landslides, most park trailheads were closed. Overnight backcountry use was not recommended through Monday due to the potential threat of downed trees and flooded stream crossings causing rivers and trails to become hazardous.  All backcountry reservation holders were encouraged to change their itinerary or cancel their permit and receive a refund.  Refunds would be available to those who are unable to reschedule their trip for an alternative date.

The following park roads and facilities were to remain open throughout the storm, conditions permitting: the Spur, Gatlinburg Bypass, Newfound Gap Road from Gatlinburg to Sugarlands, and Newfound Gap Road from Cherokee to Smokemont. The Sugarlands and Oconaluftee visitor centers were scheduled to remain open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.


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