Tennessee State Parks extend closure; no reopen date given

Trail Team 11

(B. Stack/WJHL)

(WJHL) – The Tennessee State Parks announced it will extend the closure of the 56 state parks due to COVID-19.

This comes a day after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the extension of stay-at-home orders until April 30.

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According to a release, this extends the closure beyond the previously announced April 14.

“Officials are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will notify the public when parks reopen,” the release stated.

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“We want to make sure that when we do reopen, visitors and our park staff can feel confident in their safety,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. “With health and safety at the forefront, we look forward to getting people back into the outdoors – beyond their backyards and neighborhoods – to experience the natural wonders our state has to offer.”

The state park closures aren’t the only public land closures in Northeast Tennessee. The National Forest Service closed access to Carvers Gap and Laurel Falls, popular trailheads to the Appalachian Trail, in late March. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also closed.

In Virginia, state parks have gone to day-use only. Popular natural areas, such as the Channels, have been closed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

North Carolina has seen closures of visitor centers, picnic areas and restrooms along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Trails remain open at this time.

The Pisgah National Forest has number of closures, which can be found here.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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