The U.S. Forest Service has announced that it will temporarily close trailheads and other access points to the Appalachian Trail in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, to align with federal, state and local measures aimed at containing the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We realize our communities and our visitors value the recreation opportunities the forest has to offer,” Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Supervisor Edward Hunter said in a press release on Friday. “A lot of discussion and consideration went into this decision. The health and safety of our employees and the public remain our top priority.”
According to the release, the following sites will be temporarily closed.
- Trailheads at Dick's Creek Gap, Hogpen Gap, Neels Gap, Springer Mountain, Tesnatee Gap, Unicoi Gap and Woody Gap
- Trails at Andrews Cove Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail (Springer Mountain to Falls Branch Falls section), Byron Herbert Reece Memorial Trail, Dukes Creek Falls Trails, Duncan Ridge Trail, Dockery Lake Trail, Freeman Trail, Jacks Knob Trail, Jarrard Gap Trail, Logan Turnpike Trail, Long Creek Falls Trail, Panther Creek Falls Trail, Slaughter Creek Trail, Springer Mountain Trail, Raven Cliffs Falls Trail and Yonah Mountain Trail.
Though dozens of trails and trailheads will be closed, the release says that some recreation opportunities in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, including dispersed camping, will remain open to the public for safe and responsible use.
For more information on the forest service closures visit www.fs.usda.gov/CONF.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Amicalola Fall State Park & Lodge announced that the park, trails, picnic area and bathrooms would remain open to the public with several new restrictions and requirements.
Amicalola Falls Lodge, including the patio, overlook and lobby, are now restricted to overnight guests and check-ins only. The lodge's restaurant and playground are closed.
The post states that even though amenities are still open, gatherings should be limited to less than 10 people, high-traffic areas should be avoided, and social distancing should be maintained at all times.