The closure of the left loop was announced January 2.
The 42-mile, four-loop trail network is open to hikers and horseback riders, but is best known as a challenging mountain bike course.
Vehicles may be brought to South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks beginning on March 16, the National Park Service says.
There are no roads on the national seashore; all driving is on loose sand. Four-wheel drive is highly recommended.
A permit is required to leave a vehicle unattended for more than 24 hours. Permits will allow owners to park vehicles in storage lots in the Long Point, Great Island, and Lighthouse areas or at one of the seashore's rental cabins.
Permits are available now at the Harkers Island Visitor Center and will be available beginning March 16 at the Great Island and Long Point park offices.
To obtain a permit, visitors must bring the vehicle's registration, insurance certificate and their driver’s licenses, or include a copy of these documents if mailing the permit application found online.
The cost is $15 per week "or portion thereof."
Correction: Within minutes of us posting this, @NCparks tweeted: "Correction: Chimney Rock State Park will not reopen March 1 as work held up on main entrance road. Hoping to reopen next week."
Access to the main area of Chimney Rock State Park is to be restored this weekend after a month of road construction work.
N.C. State Parks says via its Facebook page that one lane of the damaged entrance road will open Saturday.
A 75-foot section in one lane of the road collapsed during heavy rainfall last May. Contractors have been working this month to replace the retaining wall that supports the section of roadway near the park entrance, a news release says.
The closure has affected access to the Chimney Rock spire and the elevator to it, the Outcroppings Trail and all other visitor facilities in the park's central tourism area.
The park’s Rumbling Bald Climbing Access has remained open, though parking there is limited. The park warns that it is crowded this time of the year.
One lane of the main access road to Chimney Rock State Park is to open March 1 as repairs to a section washed out by rain continue. (N.C. State Parks photo)
Ferry services set to run to Cape Lookout National Seashore from downtown Beaufort and the National Park's visitor center at Harkers Island began today.
The National Park Service awarded the ferry service concession to a private company last October.
The Cape Lookout seashore encompasses three islands, including two only reachable by boat: South Core Banks, which is home to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and historic Portsmouth Village; and Shackleford Banks, which is known for its wild horses.
Ferry routes from Beaufort go to the west end of Shackleford Banks or the lighthouse area, and from Harkers Island to the eastern tip of Shackleford Banks or to the lighthouse.
Previously, about 10 private ferry services took visitors to the park.
The National Park Service says "the purpose of managing ferry service through a contract is to ensure long-term continuity of the ferry service, a consistently high level of services that are specified and reviewed by the NPS, and to help visitors understand the significances of the park."
Island Express says it is running four 49-passenger Catamarans and two 20-passenger and two 15-passenger Carolina Skiffs. A larger ship available for school groups can carry 149 passengers.
The ferry service also offers a mule train tour between the lighthouse and Cape Point.
Fees for regular ferry routes are $15 for adults or campers with a backpack and one carry-on, $8 for ages 11 and younger, and $5 for pets and each additional carry-on.
Ferry service will run to Cape Lookout from Harkers Island, below, and Beaufort Town Hall in downtown Beaufort. (National Park Service photo)
North Carolina state parks reported the third straight year of record-level attendance yesterday, with 14.2 million people visiting one of the 40 state parks and state recreation areas in 2013.
State parks also reported 14.2 million visits in 2012, 2011 and 2009.
Nineteen parks reported year-to-year increases in attendance in 2013.
Fort Macon State Park near Atlantic Beach had the highest attendance at 1.19 million visits, followed closely by Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks with 1.18 million visits, a North Carolina State Parks blog post says.
Fort Macon, named for its historic stone fort (below), also has a wide beach open for fishing in one area and swimming in another. Jockey's Ridge, named for the tallest sand dune on the East Coast, covers 420 acres open to hiking, hang gliding and other activities amid one of the state's most popular tourism areas.
The report, which provides attendance figures for each park, says state parks contribute more than $400 million to the state's economy over the course of a year. Visitors spend an average of $23.56 a day on a state park visit; most state parks charge no admission fee.
The 2013 report also shows strong attendance at Carvers Creek State Park in Cumberland County, which opened in September and saw 38,740 visitors over less than four months; Mayo River State Park in Rockingham County, with a 69 percent jump in visitation; and Dismal Swamp State Park in Camden County, with visitation up 40 percent.
Fort Macon, below, is the centerpiece attraction at Fort Macon State Park, the most-visited park in the North Carolina State Parks system in 2013. Click on the photo for more information about Fort Macon.
Travel through Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be delayed into spring as work to stabilize Newfound Gap Road begins Monday.
The National Park Service said last month work to repair a slide area from approximately one mile south of the Newfound Gap parking area to just south of the Deep Creek trailhead would go from Monday, January 6, through Wednesday, May 14.
Traffic is to be shifted to the shoulder to keep vehicles on the park's main artery moving, but single-lane closings will be necessary from time to time, a news release says.
Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) bisects the park, running from Cherokee, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park at 6,643 feet and a popular tourist stop, is accessed via Clingmans Dome Road at Newfound Gap.
Clingmans Dome Road closes during the winter and is set to reopen April 1.
A parking lot adjacent to the slide area will be closed during construction, but the small pulloff for the Deep Creek trailhead will remain open.
Work to stabilize the road embankment and to prevent slope failure or erosion will include retaining-wall construction, road reconstruction, stone masonry guardwall construction, guardrail placement, shoulder reconditioning, installation of culverts and inlets, and site restoration.
Road work in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will slow traffic to Clingmans Dome, below, for at least six weeks after Clingmans Dome Road is to reopen April 1. Click on the photo for more information about Clingmans Dome and Great Smokies National Park.
The left loop of the 42-mile trail system at Tsali Recreation Area in the Nantahala National Forest is closed because of a landslide, the National Forest Service said yesterday.
Forest officials are working to inspect and repair the damage, according to a news release, and will advise the public when work is completed.
The four-loop system on the Fontana Reservoir is well-known as a challenging circuit for mountain biking, and is also open to hiking and horseback riding.
The other three loops at Tsali remain open.
You have more than 40 opportunities to start 2014 with a guided hike at state parks in North Carolina.
For the third year, the state Division of Parks and Recreation will participate in First Day Hikes at every state park and recreation area on New Years Day, according to a news release.
Rangers and volunteers will lead hikes ranging from short "leg-stretchers" to four-mile treks, many with interpretive programs along the way, the release says.
All state park facilities will be open January 1.
The release points out that the New Year’s Day 2014 event will be the first of many First Day Hikes at the new Carvers Creek State Park, which opened in September in Cumberland County north of Fayetteville.
Carvers Creek has about two miles worth of easy walking trails around a cypress pond and the historic Rockefeller House at Long Valley Farm.
The hike starts at the park office picnic area at 10 a.m.
To find a hike, go to the state parks website's Education page and click on First Day Hikes - which takes you here.
First Day Hikes is sponsored by America's State Parks.
The Moss Knob Shooting Range near Franklin will remain closed until next spring as work to renovate it continues, forest officials said Monday.
Renovations were to be done in the fall, according to a Forest Service news release, but were originally announced last summer. "However, logistical challenges with the project have delayed reopening of the range," the release says.
Work at the Nantahala National Forest site is to include building a new access road to the shooting range from behind the shooting line, constructing a new earthen backstop for each shooting line, drainage work, and filling and leveling along the firing line.
Moss Knob has four firing lanes or stations on a 150-yard range with frame targets set at 25 and 50 yards.
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area has been reopened to the public with the Table Rock Fire 80 percent contained and mop-up and rehabilitation efforts in areas burned by the 2,500-acre blaze continuing, the U.S. Forest Service said Sunday.
Rifle deer hunting season begins today and the gorge is open to hunters. All closures in the Linville Gorge were lifted at midnight Sunday night, a news release said.
Mop-up and rehabilitation work have been completed at the Outward Bound Center, which was threatened by the fire, and the Table Rock Picnic Area, where the fire began, an earlier news release said Sunday.
The Forest Service advises hunters and others in the gorge that they are likely to encounter such hazards as burned out stump holes, fire weakened trees and snags, and areas of smoldering fuels or active fire in areas affected by the fire.
Officials also caution hunters and nonhunters to keep the mixed recreational use of the area in mind and to wear bright orange during hunting season.
Rifle season for deer in the western part of the state runs November 25 to December 14.
The Table Rock wildfire started November 12 at the picnic area of the Table Rock Day Use Area at Linville Gorge, which is part of the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest.