Smokies shift focus from rescue to reopening

1:15 PM, Jul 7, 2012   |    comments
Workers clear damage from the Great Smoky Mountains national Park after storms.
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TOWNSEND, TN - Rangers are shifting their focus from rescue efforts to reopening a popular section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after violent storms led to two deaths and several injuries.

Chief Ranger Clayton Jordan says a concentrated effort to clear hundreds of fallen trees could allow public access to the park to resume by Saturday afternoon.

The storms hit Thursday evening at the west end of the 500,000-acre reserve on the Tennessee-North Carolina line. A swimmer and a motorcyclist were killed, and several others were injured.

Much of the damage was in the popular Cades Cove area of the park and in communities just outside the park boundaries.

A steady stream of visitors was turned back from the park entrance on Friday as workers cleared an emergency path.

The Associated Press

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