Press release from National Forests in North Carolina:
Whitewater Falls and the Foothills Trail (TR 437) that connects to Whitewater Falls on the Nantahala Ranger District is expected to remain closed for some time.
Although the Whitewater Fire was only 23 acres, it totally destroyed the staircase and access facility to the Whitewater Falls observation deck. Due to the steep terrain, the site is unsafe and dangerous to the public.
“I regret the impact that this closure causes for the 75,000 plus people who visit this site every year, however, safety must be our first consideration,” said District Ranger Mike Wilkins.
The area will remain closed until funding can be secured and reconstruction can be completed. The National Forests in North Carolina is currently working with the Federal Highways Administration-Eastern Federal Lands to secure funding.
The cause of the Whitewater Fire is under investigation.