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Final 2 trails reopen after 2011 Smokies tornado

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May 1, 2013 09:37 AM EST | AP


GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Two Smoky Mountains hiking trails have been reopened, two years after tornado damage forced their closure.

The National Park Service said Beard Cane and Hatcher Mountain trails – both in the west end of the 500,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park – have been repaired and are again open. They were the last of 10 damaged trails to be reopened.

Thousands of trees were knocked down by an F-4 tornado that struck near Cades Cove in April 2011, forcing the closing of 50 miles of trails. One campsite, Backcountry Site 11, has been permanently closed because damage left it unsuitable for use.