Section of Blue Ridge Parkway closed in North Carolina due to landslide

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According to the National Park Service, a 14-mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed in the North Carolina mountains after a landslide was discovered on both lanes of travel.

National Park Service photo

A 14-mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway has been closed in the mountains of North Carolina due to a landslide, according to the National Park Service.

The slide was discovered early Wednesday, March 9 between Mount Mitchell and the Craggy Gardens visitor center, officials said in a statement.

A photo posted on Facebook shows a pile of large boulders that fell down the slide.

“The debris from the slide — which contains several larger rocks that require special equipment to remove — is expected to take several days to clear,” National Park Service officials said.

The closure begins at mile post 355 (near Highway 128) and continues to mile post 364.5, including the Craggy Gardens visitor center, officials said.

Landslides are not unexpected along the popular spring tourist attraction.

“Night freezing and daytime thawing of water on rock faces can make slopes unstable,” park officials wrote on Facebook.

The parkway stretches 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina and attracted 15.9 million visitors in 2021, the park service reports.

Its southernmost sections include both tunnels and miles of road carved into the sides of Appalachian peaks.

Mount Mitchell, which sits near the start of the closure zone, is 6,684 feet, making it “the highest peak in the eastern United States,” according to the National Park Service.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering topics including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

Virginia F. Goins