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Emergency Closure for Nantahala Gorge

Emergency Closure for Nantahala Gorge

Due to hazardous conditions in the Nantahala Gorge from multiple landslides, the U.S. Forest Service is issuing an Emergency Closure Order prohibiting access to the Nantahala River. The closure is in effect for national forest land between Beechertown Launch Ramp and the Silvermine Take-out Ramp. This closure also applies to Ferebee Memorial Park.


The U.S. Forest Service finished assessing the landslide locations Tuesday, Aug. 27, and found multiple locations with hazardous debris in the river. There are places in the river where debris — consisting of woody debris dangerous to recreationists — have created a 90 percent blockage and the water has created diversions around the blockage. These diversions could result in erosion of the embankments, which could compromise the infrastructure of nearby roads and bridges.

Debris removal operations are occurring at multiple sites along the Nantahala River. Operations include the use of large trucks and heavy machinery. There will be areas of U.S. 19/74 within the gorge that are reduced to one lane of traffic.

Contractors have been working simultaneously at four sites for debris removal. Today they completed removal at one site near the rock quarry.

A severe deluge dropped 3.5 inches of rain in the Nantahala Gorge in Swain County Aug. 24 and triggered slides that covered the road in four locations within a half-mile stretch on the western side of the gorge and spread debris from the mountainside into the river at three locations. The road through the Gorge, U.S. 19, was closed through the evening of Aug. 26.

Visitors should avoid these areas to ensure their own safety and that of crews assessing and clearing debris. National Forests in North Carolina will post updates and photos at and

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