PART OF CHIMNEY ROCK PARK CLOSED; RETAINING WALL EVALUATED

PART OF CHIMNEY ROCK PARK CLOSED; RETAINING WALL EVALUATED PART OF CHIMNEY ROCK PARK CLOSED; RETAINING WALL EVALUATED

The full impact of Monday's storm is being evaluated after Monday's storm did more damag to a retaining wall inside Chimney Rock Park.  The wakk collapsed in the storm.    

 NCDOT evaluated the wall weeks prior to the collapse and the parking lot was deemed safe. But with Monday's heavy rainstorm, the NCDOT advised park officials to close that area.

"We did evacuate just three visitors. It was a rainy day. A lot of Chimney Rock State Park management staff was evacuated, as well," said park superintendent James Ledgerwood.

Guests were evacuated at 12:30 p.m. and around 2:30 p.m., the wall collapsed. There is now roughly a 25 foot by 50 foot hole in the parking lot area.

When it slid down the mountain, we had about 75 feet of loose material and debris blocking the road," Ledgewood told reporters.

Park officials are working with the NCDOT to figure out how to repair the area.

"Right now, we are trying to figure out how to get equipment here and what needs to be done to stabilize this entire area. Once it's stabilized, we are hoping to reopen the park. But to actually fix the wall, we are talking about quite a while," Ledgewood said.

The closure comes during a high tourism time when fall leaves are at their peak.  The Park is now at the peak of the Fall color tourism season.

"We definitely feel it. But when you deal with mother nature, you can't predict what comes your way," said Landdis Hollifield, the public relations and promotions manager for Chimney Rock State Park. "We are going to get through this. We have a great staff here and had a meeting this morning. It's one of those things we are all rallying together and we are all preparing for when we can open back up."

Although parts of the park are closed, park officials encourage tourist to check out the Rumbling Bald and the Hickory Nut Gorge area.