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September 9, 2008

North Carolina, South Carolina agree to Jocassee Gorges access solution

Agencies in North Carolina and South Carolina have agreed on a solution to the problem of accessing the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges through North Carolina.
     
The Jocassee Gorges was purchased by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 1998, and certain sections can only be legally accessed over roads in North Carolina. The South Carolina DNR secured an easement across certain roads to ensure public access in 1998. In 1999, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources bought the property that supports those roads and established Gorges State Park.
     
South Carolina DNR and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources have differed in opinion as to how the easement roads will be managed and used by the public."This was a tough situation, where we want to be good neighbors, protect the environment, yet use the privileges we secured for public access at the same time," said Mark Hall, South Carolina DNR Jocassee Gorges project manager. "With help from Duke Energy, which also has a vested interest in the road system, we’ve finally worked out an arrangement we can all live with."
     
Access to Crossroads Mountain for the fall and winter of 2008 will be on the old Auger Hole Road, which starts on Frozen Creek Road, at the North Carolina Gorges State Park’s Frozen Creek access point in Transylvania County, N.C., near the town of Rosman. The Auger Hole gate and road will remain open until Gorges State Park completes construction activities at its main entrance, near Sapphire on NC Highway 281. Once construction is complete at the Sapphire location, permanent access will then be provided from the point on NC Highway 281, through Gorges State Park and down Grassy Ridge Road.
     
Visitors will be required to abide by North Carolina Parks’ regulations and may not stop or leave their vehicles until they reach North Carolina Game Lands at Turkey Pen Gap. Hunters must have guns cased. After reaching Turkey Pen Gap, visitors can travel west about one-half mile on Auger Hole Road, then south on Bear Creek Road to South Carolina’s Crossroads Mountain.
     
Interested visitors may contact South Carolina DNR’s Mark Hall at (864) 878-9071 or North Carolina’s Gorges State Park at (828) 966-9099.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.


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