Landslides force Nantahala Gorge in NC mountains to close for Labor Day

FRANKLIN, N.C. (WTVD) -- Landslides in the North Carolina mountains have closed a popular Labor Day destination ahead of the holiday weekend.

The U.S. Forest Service issued an Emergency Closure Order closing an eight-mile stretch of the Nantahala River. The closure is in effect for national forest land between Beechertown Launch Ramp and the Silvermine Take-out Ramp. It also applies to Ferebee Memorial Park.

Nearly a week ago, major landslides sent debris through the area, drastically changing the landscape. Crews continue to clear debris from the river, and forest rangers said it remains too dangerous for paddlers and hikers.

This comes at the worst possible time for businesses in the area.

"Everybody who comes to visit us or other outfitters on the river drives to the area... they spend money on gas, lodging, other experiences in the area. That's the big number that's the true impact in the community and the one that we are most concerned about," Jan Wojtasinski with the Nantahala Outdoor Center said.
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