Last Updated on August 27, 2021 2:11 pm
Update Friday, August 27, 2:08 pm – Blue Ridge Parkway officials have posted this update on social media: The section of motor road closed for Price Lake Dam repairs has REOPENED! Next week, staff will conduct additional inspection & finish repairs, which may result in another short-term road closure.
Update Friday, August 27 7:10 am
Blue Ridge Parkway officials announced on Thursday that staff will try to repair a damaged gate at Price Lake Dam on Friday, August 27, 2021. To safely attempt the repair, the Parkway will close at Milepost 297, between the entrances to Price Park Campground and the Price Park Picnic Area. The closure will go into effect at 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning, and is estimated to last approximately five hours. While repair work is underway, this section of the Parkway will be closed to all traffic, including cyclists and pedestrians. Park staff will be on site to help visitors navigate the closure area safely.
If normal gate function is restored tomorrow, park staff will conduct a thorough inspection of the dam while the water is low, and then begin the process of restoring the lake to normal levels. It is estimated to take approximately two weeks for water levels to return to normal.
The lake will remain closed to all uses, including fishing, boating, and all other activities, while lake levels are restored. An area closure is in effect at the lake, and violations of this closure can result in fines. A variety of hazards can be found on the lakebed which create a dangerous situation for anyone who enters the lake. The public’s cooperation with these closures is important to personal safety as well as the protection of Parkway resources.
If it is determined that more extensive repair work is needed, park staff will begin planning that work and an extended closure period is anticipated. Once the road opens tomorrow afternoon, updates regarding the repair attempt will be provided.
Price Lake Dam was constructed in 1958 and impounds the 47-acre Price Lake located near Blowing Rock, North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Parkway. When significant rain events are forecasted such as a hurricane or tropical storm, park staff preemptively open a slide gate within the dam to release water from Price Lake to accommodate a potential rapid increase in water flow into the lake from contributing streams.
On August 18, 2021, once Tropical Storm Fred had moved out of the region, park staff attempted to close the slide gate. The gate did not close and staff realized the gate had suffered a mechanical failure. As a result, water that would normally be impounded by the Price Lake Dam was released through the open gate, causing the lake water level to drop approximately 15 feet below its normal level.
Sunday, August 22 – Officials with the Blue Ridge Parkway have announced that Price Lake is closed after damage from Tropical Storm Fred.
The dam used to regulate the lake’s water levels was damaged in the storm, and the lake has now emptied. Fishing, boating, and other activities in the lake are prohibited until further notice, according to Blue Ridge Parkway officials. Price Lake Boat Rentals, the on-site concession operator, will be open with limited hours to offer firewood and some snack items, according to officials.
Videos & Photos from Sunday August 22 by Kenneth Reece/WataugaOnline.com