Monday, November 28, 2011

Chimney Rock's Outcroppings Trail to Undergo Improvements Dec. 5

To maintain Chimney Rock as one of the Southeast's premier outdoor
destinations, the developing Chimney Rock State Park will undergo
construction on December 5, 2011, to improve access by upgrading one
of its upper trails called the Outcroppings. The Park will remain open
to visitors during the winter capital improvements and its lower
trails and many points of interest will be open to the public. A new
elevator, renovated Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli and the Chimney are
scheduled to reopen upon completion of improvement projects in spring
2012.Starting December 5, winter admission will be $9 for adults and
$4 for youth (ages 6-15) and free for children under six. Winter hours
will be Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza
closing at 4:30 p.m.

"There's never a convenient time to make improvements, but we're doing
everything we can to limit the impact on our guests. These significant
upgrades help preserve access to the Park's 535-million-year-old
natural wonder while improving the guest experience for generations to
come,"said Mary Jaeger-Gale, General Manager, Chimney Rock at Chimney
Rock State Park.

Outcroppings Trail Replacement. During the winter, a section of the
Outcroppings trail that provides access to the Chimney will be
replaced from the top parking lot level up to the bottom of the new
stairs completed last April. The new, steel-framed wooden stairways
will allow for easier access to the Chimney and points of interest
above, such as the Opera Box, Devil's Head and Exclamation Point. The
improved Outcroppings trail will accommodate more traffic, offer a
better guest experience and help maintain access for future
generations. With the park's elevator currently undergoing a complete
modernization, the Chimney and upper Chimney Rock Mountain will not be
open to the public during the winter.

"It's an exciting time in the history of Chimney Rock State Park.
Being able to not only preserve this amazing natural resource, but
also to enhance the experiences our citizens and visitors have at the
park for decades to come is very important. Since the attraction's
inclusion into the N.C. State Park system in 2007, the Division of
Parks and Recreation has been dedicated to caring for this incredible
destination through phased improvements each year," said Adrienne
Wallace, Park Superintendent, Chimney Rock State Park.

Attractions Remaining Open. Areas of the park that will remain open
to the public throughout improvements include the 404-foot-tall
Hickory Nut Fallsand its trail, Cliff Dwellers Gift Shop and the
Meadows area, including the Great Woodland Adventure and Four Seasons
trails, Grady's Animal Discovery Den, Classroom on the Meadows and the
covered picnic pavilion. Chimney Rock continues to offer events to
enhance guest experience during improvements, such as Santa on the
Chimney on December 3 and 10 and workshops and free guided hikes in
early 2012.

Elevator Modernization. The 26-story elevator, which provides
convenient access to the top of Chimney Rock, is currently undergoing
a complete modernization designed to increase its reliability, speed
and capacity. The original elevator opened in 1948—more than six
decades ago—and although it was renovated in the mid-80s, it is due
for a complete modernization. Taken out of service in April 2011,
nearly every part including the original elevator car is being
upgraded or replaced. Construction on the 26-story metal egress stairs
is nearly complete, and work on replacing the elevator itself will be
underway soon. The Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli has been renovated and
its restrooms updated to meet the American Disabilities Act (ADA)
regulations. The restrooms on the Meadows and in the top parking lot
will also be renovated during the winter. Portable toilets will be
provided while the Park restrooms are under construction from early
December to the end of March. The new elevator, along with the
Outcroppings trail, is scheduled to reopen in spring 2012.

"It's time to make these improvements so that our kids, grandkids and
great-great grandkids can enjoy making memories at Chimney Rock for
another century," said Jaeger-Gale. "It's like making improvements to
your home. At some point, the roof must be replaced. While it may not
be opportune, it has to be done."

New Hours & Admission. Rates will be reduced during improvements,
effective December 5. Winter admission is $9 for adults and $4 for
youth ages six through 15. Children under six are admitted free. When
the Hickory Nut Falls trail is closed due to inclement weather, adult
admission is $5 and kids under 16 are admitted free. Winter hours are
Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza closing at
4:30 p.m. Both the Park and Old Rock Café, located in Chimney Rock
Village near the park's entrance, will be closed Tuesdays and
Wednesdays. The park will be closed Christmas day but will be open
every day from December 26 to January 2, 2012, including New Year's
Day. In case of inclement weather, check the Park's website for
opening status.

Great Deals on Annual Passes. Adult Annual Passes, a great stocking
stuffer for family and friends, are available for $20 during a holiday
special November 25 to December 24. Guests who visit the park during
discounted winter admission rates can also save money by upgrading
their admission tickets to Annual Passes for only $11 for adults and
$4 for youth (ages 6-15) within 30 days of purchasing admission. Buy
your upgrade online, call 800-277-9611 or show your receipt at the
Ticket Plaza on your next visit within 30 days.

Old Rock Café Improvements. The Old Rock Café, located in Chimney
Rock Village and operated by the Park, will be closed for renovations
for about three weeks in January. The project includes redesigning the
layout, replacing equipment and paneling in the kitchen and replacing
the carpet. Starting Dec. 5, the restaurant's winter hours will be
Thursday-Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed Tuesdays and
Wednesdays along with the Park. However, the Old Rock will be open
daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from December 26 to January 2, 2012 for the
holidays, including New Years' Day.

Follow Our Progress. Future updates, progress reports and photos for
winter capital improvements can be found on the Park's website and on Facebook at ChimneyRockParkNC.

Definitions: The Outcroppings trail is the trail from the top parking
lot to the Chimney area. The Skyline trail leads from the Chimney
level to the Opera Box, Devil's Head and Exclamation Point. The Sky
Lounge is the Gift Shop and Deli at the top of the elevator. Cliff
Dwellers Gifts is located at the top parking lot.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international
outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway
64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the
Southeast's most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The
Park's 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests
75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory
Nut Gorge, one of the state's most significant centers of
biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal
species, and the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern
United States. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special
events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for
schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock's
website at More information on current Capital
Improvement projects or by calling