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Virginia Creeper Trail reopens, but social distancing regulations apply

Staff report • May 17, 2020 at 9:45 PM

ABINGDON — The Virginia Creeper Trail reopened last week, but facilities and services along its length will remain closed.

The Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines related to social distancing will be required for use of the trail during the COVID-19 pandemic along with other steps aimed at protecting public health.

The decision to reopen the trail was made jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the towns of Abingdon and Damascus in consultation with the Mount Rogers Health District.

In compliance with the CDC’s guidelines, all trail users should maintain physical distancing, including maintaining at least six feet between individuals and others who are not in the same party. No groups of 10 or more should travel or congregate on the trail, at access points or in the parking areas.

In addition at this time, for protection of trail users and employees with limited personal protection equipment, all restroom facilities, visitor and welcome centers and picnic shelters will remain closed. All visitors should plan to bring their own water and hand sanitizer. Most trash receptacles will not be available, so trail users should plan to “pack in and pack out.”

Moreover, routine trail maintenance will be limited.

“We are so glad to reopen the trail, which is such an asset to our residents and visitors. We are grateful for the coordination between all the stakeholders who have worked hard to ensure that the trail is being reopened as quickly and safely as possible,” said Matthew Crum, president of the Virginia Creeper Trail Conservancy.

Spanning 34.3 miles, the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail is a former railroad bed that traverses two counties from Abingdon through Damascus and ends just past Whitetop Station in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, at the Virginia-North Carolina border. Damascus and Abingdon administer the trail from Abingdon to Damascus (miles 0-15), and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests’ Mount Rogers National Recreation Area manages the trail from Damascus up to the North Carolina line (miles 15-34).

For more information, visit vacreepertrail.org.

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