Windstorm Damage May Cost Smokies Over Half A Million


Gatlinburg, Sevier County (AP) -- Repairs costs following a windstorm that closed roads and damaged vehicles and buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is expected to cost over half a million dollars.

Park management has already submitted a request to the national park service for storm damage relief totaling $350,000.

Trail workers and fire fighters will be asked to work until Christmas to remove debris and clear trails.

That extra labor will cost the park an additional 200,000.

Wind gusts up to 106 miles per hour left several roads on the Tennessee side of the park closed for days after the storm hit on October 16th and 17th.

Three park vehicles and several buildings were damaged.

Most the damage is Blount and Cocke Counties. More than one thousand trees are down and 24 trails are closed to horse travel.

Assistant park superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald says they anticipate having only six weeks to complete most of the repairs until the weather gets too cold.

He said there will be trails that will have to be closed all winter.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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