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Part of Trail to Close at Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

Posted on 3/12/2019 by State Nature Preserves

Licking River impacts popular trail

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced that a small portion of the Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve hike/bike trail had to be closed immediately due to hazardous conditions. The popular trail, located in Hanover Township in Licking County, was closed in 2014 for similar issues resulting from hillside slippage along the Licking River.

Most of the over 4-mile-long trail will remain open with access permitted from both the east and west parking areas. From the east parking lot at Toboso, nearly 3 miles of trail remains open while ¾ of a mile of trail is still accessible from the west parking lot on Brushy Fork Road. Just as it did in 2014, the flooding of the Licking River has eroded a section of bank and undercut the paved trail, making it necessary to close for visitor safety. Once the bank stabilizes, options to repair the trail will be assessed, and the trail will be reopened if possible. There are no estimates on how long the trail will need to be closed.

Gates have been installed at both closure points to prevent visitors from hiking into the impacted section of trail. Until the riverbank stabilizes, visitors are asked to avoid entering the area. All other trails within the preserve, including the Quarry Rim Trail, the Chestnut Trail, the Canal Lock Trail, the Marie Hickey Trail and the Oak Knob Trail, remain open. Pets are only permitted on the paved Blackhand trail in this state nature preserve.