Grandfather State Park closed indefinitely

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You may have heard the news this morning about Grandfather Mountain State Park being closed to visitors indefinitely due to dangers caused by recent accumulations of snow, ice, and fallen trees/limbs. I experienced some of those weather adventures first-hand over the holidays in Boone, where a Christmas Eve ice storm caused extensive treachery and knocked out power to about 21,000 (it was out at my parents’ house for five days).

We wish all the best to Grandfather staff in getting the park up and running again. It sounds like they’ve all really banded together in response to these “weather challenges.” I wonder how many times, and for how long, Grandfather has had to close due to weather in the past? Speaking for myself, I have no interest in traversing the Mile High Swinging Bridge in conditions like those shown below. Brrr.

UPDATE 1/8/09: To clarify: only Grandfather Mountain State Park is closed indefinitely; the Grandfather Mountain attraction (the Mile High Swinging Bridge, animal habitats etc.) has not made the to close indefinitely. Whether the travel attraction will be open will be a day-to-day decision. For the time being, visitors should call (828) 733-2013 before making plans to travel to Grandfather.

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6 thoughts on “Grandfather State Park closed indefinitely

  1. The people in the photo are Julia Morton and Catherine Morton. The temperature was really low but there was no wind, for a wonder, and Hugh, Catherine, and I were the only people on the Mountain that day. Catherine and I took turns sledding down the road and Hugh drove the car to pick us up when he wasn’t taking pictures. It was a completely happy day.

  2. I want everyone to be aware that although Grandfather Mountain State Park has announced that it will be closed indefinitely, the Grandfather Mountain travel attraction (the Mile High Swinging Bridge, the animal habitats, the Nature Museum, etc.), which is operated by the non-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, has not made any such decision to close indefinitely. Whether the travel attraction will be open on any given day will be a day-to-day decision, depending on the weather. Please call(828)733-2013 before making plans to travel to Grandfather Mountain. We will do our best to try to open the Mountain whenever possible, depending on Mother Nature!

  3. An image similar to image #1 in this post, with Julia and Catherine, is on page 70 of Hugh’s 2003 book “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina.” The caption says the temperature was two degrees at the time the photograph was snapped. There are several Western North Carolina snow pictures in Hugh’s 2006 book as well.

    You may recall the funny story that Charles Kuralt told at the 40th anniversary celebration of the “Mile High Swinging Bridge” in 1992. He said:

    “The first winter that the bridge was here, the winter wind came up and blew the bridge around and heaved it like a bedspread being shaken out the back door of the cabin by a mountain woman, and blew a lot of the boards out of the floor and forced the engineers to give the Mile-High Swinging Bridge a second thought. The next spring, they attached those cables that hold the bridge to the ground below. I need hardly point out that since then, the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, which is NOT a mile high, is not swinging, either. So what we have here is the 80-Foot High, tethered bridge.”

    I also recall from my days at WFMY-TV, we often reported temperatures and winds at Grandfather Mountain. We, along with WRAL-TV in Raleigh, had a direct tie-in to the weather station at Grandfather.

    Finally, in a letter from Hugh Morton dated April 21, 2003, he started with the following sentence:

    “Grandfather Mountain has had more Winter this year than in the last three Winters combined, so we are ready for the warm new season.”

    A similar sentence might later apply to the Winter of 2010.

  4. Back in the early 1990s, when I was one of the producers at WFMY-TV’s “Good Morning Show,” in Greensboro, Hugh Morton would often send me notes telling me about significant weather events at Grandfather Mountain. And we would use them on our show…weather across our state was an important segment of the program.

    The weather on Grandfather this past Sunday (3/30/14) would likely have prompted one of those notes.

    http://www.independentmail.com/news/2014/mar/31/wind-topples-grandfather-mountain-sign/

    http://www.hcpress.com/business/historic-landmark-no-more-storm-knocks-down-old-fashioned-grandfather-mountain-entrance-sign-on-weekend.html

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