Point Lookout Trail closes temporarily for repair

Nebo, NC, March 11, 2019 - The Point Lookout Trail on the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest will temporarily close for repairs and maintenance starting today, March 11.

The closure is expected to last one week or until work is complete if weather delays progress. The trail in eastern McDowell County sustained damage from a tropical storm in May, 2018. Several landslides occurred along the trail, limiting access and causing safety concerns for visitors.

Contractors will clear the ditch line, landslides, fallen trees, and overgrown vegetation. This work is made possible by a generous contribution from the nonprofit McDowell Trails Association.

"Our members have truly rallied around restoring the Point Lookout Trail so that all visitors can safely enjoy it," said Steve Pierce, president of McDowell Trails Association. "We are not only correcting the current problems but improving the trail condition to help prevent future landslides."

The McDowell Trails Association is part of a larger group of volunteer and local organizations that partner with the USDA Forest Service to share stewardship of the Point Lookout Trail. This group includes organizations from both McDowell and Buncombe Counties, including the town of Old Fort and the newly formed Black Mountain based Friends of the Point Lookout Trail.

"Our volunteer and local partners are a critical part of maintaining our trails at Point Lookout and across the Pisgah National Forest," said Nicholas Larson, Grandfather District Ranger. "We are extremely grateful for the support of the McDowell Trails Association to assist with this work."

The Point Lookout trail is a paved greenway popular with hikers and cyclists that follows the old route of US-70 between Old Fort and Ridgecrest, NC. The trail provides a unique experience for visitors, following the railroad for 3.6 miles with a 900-foot elevation change between Ridge Crest and Mill Creek in Old Fort. Longrange views of the Royal Gorge can be seen from the old Point Lookout, a once popular attraction when the route was US-70, the main access into western NC
from the east.

For more information about the McDowell Trails Association, visitwww.mcdowelltrails.org.