Workers clear storm damage from Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Saturday, July 7, 2012, near Townsend, Tenn., as rangers shifted their focus Saturday from rescue efforts to reopening the popular area to the public.
Violent storms hit at the west part of the 500,000-acre reserve on the Tennessee-North Carolina line. casing the park to close. Cades Cove and communities just outside the park boundaries received the most damage.
Two people were killed at Cades Cove and several others were injured. At Abrams Creek Campground, a tree fell into a swimming hole, killing 41-year-old Rachael Burkhart, of Corryton, Tenn., according to a Park Ranger. Also killed in the park was Ralph Frazier, 50, of Buford, Ga., who was riding a motorcycle when a falling limb struck him in the head.
Many campers were still in the Cades Cove area Saturday.
The National Park Service maintains developed campgrounds at 10 locations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
• Abrams Creek
• Balsam Mountain
• Big Creek
• Cades Cove
• Deep Creek
• Look Rock
Each campground has restrooms with cold running water and flush toilets. Each individual campsite has a fire grate and picnic table. There are no showers or electrical or water hookups in the park. Shower facilities are available in the communities surrounding the national park. Please inquire about the nearest facilities when you check-in at the campground. (15 amp electric hookups are available at a few sites in Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont for use only by those with medical needs. Check www.recreation.gov for more information.)
Campsites at Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Elkmont, and Smokemont may be reserved online or by phone at (877) 444-6777. Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground. All remaining park campgrounds are first-come, first-served.