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Twin Falls at Gorges State Park
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Volunteers Needed

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Gorges State Park in partnership with Friends of Gorges is constructing a New Interactive Trail at the park Visitor Center.   This short, easy, all age friendly trail is being sponsored by the Friends of Gorges. We need YOU to make it a reality by May 1st 2018!
 
Scheduled Work Days:
February – 10, 14, 17, & 21.
March – 21, 24, & 28.
April – 11, 14, 18, 25.
 
9:00am to 4:00pm each day. Or Whenever YOU can make it !
 
Contact Information:  To sign-up contact Patricia at:828.966.9099 or patricia.riddle@ncparks.gov
                                    For more information contact Steve at 828.966.9099 or steve.pagano@ncparks.gov
 

 Posted on: Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 2:23pm
Gorges Spring ART Show   

The Friends of Gorges State Park is pleased to announce its first spring art show May 18 – 20. 2018 hosted by Gorges State Park. Located in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina our fine art show will focus exclusively on the landscape and wildlife of this area. Acceptable media will include painting, fiber and photography. There will be no cost to the artists and all works may be exhibited for sale to the Park visitors.

 

The show will be located in the Park's Visitors Center which is open to the public everyday except December 25. The Auditorium and Classroom will be used for the artist setups and will be secured during show off hours. Exhibitors will be required to provide their own setups with chairs and a table available from the park.

 

Artists interested in exhibiting may receive more information by contacting events@friendsofgorges.org or visiting www.friendsofgorges.org.

 Posted on: Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 12:18pm
TRAIL ADVISORY   

All trail users are urged to use caution on ALL Park Trails.  The winter has been extremely wet with rain totals already over 20" since January 1 !   Trails are extremely wet, soft, and slippery.  Please becareful  , stay on designated marked trails and watch your footing.

 Posted on: Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 2:18pm
Ecology

Get plant and animal checklists at the park office.

Gorges State Park is located along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, an area where five streams carry water to the ocean from the divide between the Tennessee Valley drainage and the Atlantic drainage. The upper reaches of the escarpment mountain streams gradually descend, but near the state line the water plunges over waterfalls and rushes through steep-walled gorges.

With such a rugged and contrasting topography contained within a small area, the park includes 21 of the 44 natural community types known in the mountain regions of North Carolina. Nearly 125 rare plant and animal species that occur in the mountain counties of North Carolina are found in the park, in addition to 12 endangered or threatened plant and animal species.

From the rock outcrops of the peaks, to the high-elevation forests, to the spray cliffs surrounding the waterfalls, to the streams themselves, this ecologically rich region has been identified as being of national ecological significance by the state's Natural Heritage Program.

Several plant species more typical of the tropics thrive where the constant spray from the park's numerous waterfalls and plunging whitewater streams showers the sheer rock walls and talus slopes with mist. Scientists are unsure how these species came to grow so far from the tropics. One theory is that spores blew north from the tropics and settled in the region. Or perhaps the species remained in the region from tens of thousands of years ago when a warmer climate existed in North America.

While few larger plants can establish a hold on the steep, slick rocks surrounding the spray cliffs of the gorges, a rich community of ferns, mosses and liverworts grows in the moist, moderate temperatures of the region. Rare species found clinging to the spray cliffs include Carolina star-moss, characterized by its dark green rosettes. The moss is known in the Dominican Republic and also survives in the southern Appalachians. Pringle's aquatic moss, another rare species, attaches itself to rocks under running water. Pringle's moss is found in Mexico, but in the United States it is solely found in the southern Appalachian escarpment region.

Gorge filmy-fern, Appalachian filmy-fern and dwarf filmy-fern, plants with leaves that are only a single cell thick, are also found in the Gorges. The ferns require constant humidity, which is provided by the continuous spray from the waterfalls.

The gorge filmy-fern grows only in the southern Appalachian gorge region. The gorge bottoms are constantly wet with spray, but the steep slopes leading to the rocky, mountain ridges rapidly drain moisture from the terrain. The land supports oak and pine communities typical of dry mountainous regions, but the high rainfall also supports several rare species.

Abundant species include rhododendron and mountain laurel, along with white pine, hickories and red oak. Oconee bells - also known as shortia - are rare flowering plants that also occupy some of the same territory. The plant is most abundant in the gorges region of North Carolina, and because so few populations of the plant are known, Oconee bells are considered to be an endangered species. The plant has single-stalked, white flowers, which stand above the evergreen leaves that form low patches along Escarpment streams.

While the popular animal species of the region include black bear, wild turkey, fox, coyote, wild boar and deer, as well as a variety of squirrels, North Carolina's largest known population of green salamander occurs in the gorges. This secretive salamander hides in the damp, shaded crevices of cliff faces.

The forests of the gorges also provide abundant habitat for neotropical migratory birds, including the largest North Carolina mountain populations of Swainson's warbler. Three fish species - turquoise darter, redeye bass and rosyface chub - have their only North Carolina populations in the park's rivers that are part of the Savannah River drainage. In addition, the nearby Horsepasture River is both a designated federal Wild and Scenic River and state Natural and Scenic River.

Contact:

Gorges State Park

976 Grassy Ridge Road
SapphireNC 28774
Phone(828) 966-9099
gorges@ncparks.gov, Caution: GPS directions in this area of the state are not reliable.
Latitude: 35.096000
Longitude: -82.951000

Park Hours:

General Park Hours
7am to Midnight

Picnic Areas
8am to Dusk

Visitor Center
Monday - Friday 
9am to 4pm
Saturday - Sunday 
9am  to 5pm 

Business Office Hours 
Monday - Friday 
8am to 4pm
Saturday - Sunday 
Closed