The road to the Piney Falls Overlook has reopened and the Scenic Loop has been repaved, as the cleanup continues from a summer storm at Fall Creek Falls.
Park Manager Sarah Leedy said the clean up process will likely take several more months. She asked guests to excuse the mess, such as logs stacked on the side of the roads. She said some guests have been surprised at the changes unveiled by Mother Nature.
“Some parts of the park that people may be used to seeing very thick canopy forest for as far as the eye can see, they’re not going to be seeing that anymore,” Leedy said. “It has come down in many places. So that is something that I want people to be aware of.”
Leedy said the trail system remains in bad shape still. She advises hikers to check in with the Visitor’s center or Nature Center before going on a hike. Leedy said the park had to get an emergency contract to get equipment in to remove many of the downed trees. Nearly 1,800 trees had to be cleared from roadways.
“The trees didn’t just come down and lay on the ground,” Leedy said. “They hung up in other tree tops. They were leaning at hazardous angles and things that were just too dangerous for the crews and equipment we had to handle.”
Leedy said the clean up is being paid for through the Park’s emergency fund and making adjustments to the park’s budget.
“Some projects that I had planned to do this upcoming fiscal year are probably now going to be the next fiscal year before we can do those,” Leedy said. “Because we’ll have to kind of re-allocate the funding that we had”
Leedy said she also plans to request an Emergency Response Grant from FEMA. Leedy said the 1,800 trees cleared does not account for the debris that has to be cleared from trails.
The storm happened in early August.