Hazardous conditions due to rockslides that occurred last weekend have closed the Nantahala River through the Nantahala Gorge according to the U.S. Forest Service. That means all boating and other uses are prohibited through one of the most popular areas for outdoor water recreation in the region.
The rockslides occurred last weekend following 3.5 inches of rain that fell in a short period of time Saturday. The Forest Service says debris from those slides has blocked 90-percent of the river in the gorge in some cases. The river is closed from the Beechertown Launch Ramp to the Silvermine Take-out Ramp. The closure includes Ferebee Memorial Park. There’s no timetable yet for when the river may re-open, but the Forest Service says its working as fast as it can to clean up the slides.
One lane of Highway 19/74 will be closed through the Gorge to help trucks and other heavy machinery that are working on the cleanup effort. The slides were initially so bad that all of 19/74 was closed for more than a day after they occurred, but crews were able to re-open the road fully Monday evening.