Chimney Rock State Park is expanding to better serve guests visiting the park. Part of the expansion requires the use of a helicopter sky crane to airlift out the old and bring in the new. While this sounds exciting to see, you would have to watch it from outside the park because it will be necessary for the park to close during this phase of construction. The actual flights and closure dates will depend on the weather but the tentative dates for park closures are June 22nd and June 30th. If you are planning a visit to Chimney Rock State Park around this time we recommend that you check their website for the latest news and updates.
So what is being upgraded with this construction? For starters, they are working on the elevator which the park is eagerly working on to restore regular service. Additionally they will be expanding the deck at the Gneiss Cave area. Overall these improvements will make Chimney Rock a better park so that it can provide outstanding service to more visitors including patrons with limited mobility that couldn’t take the stairs. Be sure to check their website during the coming weeks for exact closure dates.
On May 21st Chimney Rock State Park will celebrate 10 years of being a state park. They are celebrating with special events this weekend that include guided hikes, special exhibits and birthday cake. They are also offering discounted adult admission tickets if you donate a can or box of food at the ticket plaza. Tickets that are usually $15 will be $10 with the donation that will benefit the Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach Food Pantry.
The visitors center building at the Wright Brothers National Memorial is getting an upgrade! It will be undergoing renovations until late summer/early fall 2018 to improve the building and to install brand new interactive exhibits. The main grounds of the memorial will remain open and a temporary facility has been setup near the parking lot. The park service is advising that due to the nature of the temporary facility, visitors will spend most of their time outdoors and should prepare and dress accordingly. The grounds at the memorial are open daily from 9:00am – 5:00pm.
On Saturday, May 20th, the Cradle of Forestry in America will be hosting a BioBlitz event at the Pink Beds Picnic Area. This free event starts at 7:00am and goes until 2:00pm. There will also be a guided night walk from 7:30pm – 10:00pm. During the event participants will have an opportunity to work along side scientists, professors, and other professionals taking photos and recording observations of the plant species that are found. Everyone is invited to attend regardless of your skill level. Pink Beds is a very beautiful section of the forest this time of the year so this is sure to be a popular event. Last year over 175 plant species were identified.
After being destroyed by the wildfire of November, 2016 that ravaged the area around Whitewater Falls, the US Forest Service has announced that the viewing area at the falls is being rebuilt and will be reopened by July 4th, 2017. Until then, this extremely popular area will remain temporarily closed while crews work to restore the facilities.
Updates can be found on the Forest Service website page for Whitewater Falls.