ROAN MOUNTAIN, Tenn. (WJHL) — From day hikers to through hikers, people are taking their social distancing to the trails.
The National Forest Service announced the reopening of many trail heads and access points to the Appalachian National Scenic trail, Carvers Gap on Roan Mountain being one of those points.
Many people flocked to the mountains to take advantage of the reopening and warm weather during the holiday weekend.
“This Memorial Day weekend, we’ve been happy to be open and being able to see guests come in and out and enjoy the park,” said Roan Mountain State Park Manager, Monica Johnson.
Though the Appalachian Trail is separately managed from Roan Mountain State Park, people stop by the visitors center on their way to see the views at the top of the mountain.
“There’s two or three spots where you can see out for miles in the mountains,” said Sandy Wallace who was out at the park for the day with her husband Alan Wallace. “It’s just gorgeous.”
The closing of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail has been detrimental to businesses along the trail.
“The biggest part of our year is March and April into May, and the rest of the year is not near as busy as those three months,” explains Mountain Harbour General Manager, David Hill. “Mostly what we do is take care of hikers, and most of them have been forced off the trails in the last couple of months.
” So, it’s been really slow. Normally, we’d have 30 or 40 a day, and now we only have five or six. It’s been pretty devastating.”
Most through hikers had to stop in their tracks when the trails closed.
“I wasn’t seeing anyone on it when it was closed,” said Jenson Smith who’s hiking all the way to Maine. “Camping alone, it was lonely on the trail. The few hikers that you would run into would be day hikers on the weekend.”
Now that some trail heads are back open, people are ready to put their hiking boots back on.
“People are ready to get out,” said Hill. “They’re tired of being cooped up. Here in the last week, it’s like a light switch came on. It’s gotten busy.”
For complete reopening the region coverage, CLICK HERE.