“Recent overcrowding along portions of the trail, concern for increasing the burden on local emergency medical services and the health and safety of all trail users were the driving forces behind the decision,” said Matthew Crum, the President of the VCT Conservancy.
The decision aligns with state and local measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and guidance from the CDC. It is aimed at preventing groups from congregating and violating social distancing guidelines and is consistent with the closure of several other public trails across the Commonwealth.
As of 5 p.m. on April 6, all access points along the 34-mile trail from Abingdon to Whitetop Station will be temporarily shutdown until further notice.
“Ensuring the health and well-being of our communities, visitors and employees is our top priority,” said Toby Timm, Forest Supervisor for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
“We look forward to reopening the Creeper Trail and welcoming all trail users back as soon as we safely can,” added Lisa Quigley, Executive Director of the VCT Conservancy.
The Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail is a 34.3-mile rail-to-recreation trail, traversing two counties from Abingdon through Damascus and ending just past Whitetop Station in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at the Virginia-North Carolina border.
Local governments administer the trail from Abingdon to Damascus (miles 0-15) while the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest Service manages from Damascus to the North Carolina border (miles 15-34).