Forest Service to Restore and Improve Safety at Dry Falls in 2012

Contact(s): Stevin Westcott, (828) 257-4215

FRANKLIN, N.C. – The USDA Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina today announced that it will make significant improvements this year to the historic and scenic Dry Falls Trail in the Nantahala National Forest, providing visitors with a safer and more enjoyable forest experience. Construction will begin in early April 2012 and conclude by September 2012.

“Parts of the trail degraded over the years, making it unsafe for the hundreds of visitors who enjoy the site daily during peak season,” said Mike Wilkins, Nantahala District ranger. “Restoration of the trail will promote public safety, while maintaining and preserving the historic integrity of the popular recreation area.”

The $466,000 project will stabilize the trail, reconstruct and replace the entire walking path, remove tripping hazards and protect water quality through drainage control measures. The improvements will enhance the visual appeal of the trail and make it easier to maintain. Working with a Forest Service archeologist, engineers designed the reconstruction to preserve the current look and historic feel of the site. The parking lot and Dry Falls Trail will be closed for the duration of the project.

“This is the first major work on the Dry Falls trail in more than 30 years, so I am pleased we are able to make this project a reality,” said Wilkins. “I regret that we have to close the site to visitors during construction. The good news is that, when it re-opens, the facility will be a first-class attraction that visitors can enjoy for years to come.”

Funding for the project comes from a Federal Highways Grant of $208,000 and matching agency funds of $258,000. The Forest Service awarded the project contract to Williams Construction of Robbinsville following a competitive bidding process.

Dry Falls is located northwest of the town of Highlands, N.C., off of Hwy 28. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the trail in the first half of the 20th Century.