Big Lookout Boulder To Be Left In Place On Hiking Trail

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A huge boulder that tumbled down the side of Lookout Mountain on Dec. 31 will be left in place for now, TDOT officials said.

Jennifer Flynn of TDOT said, "Some of our construction and maintenance personnel met on Monday afternoon with National Park Service and Lookout Mountain Conservancy representatives to further discuss the situation.

"Our maintenance division had offered assistance to help in breaking up and moving the boulder using a non-explosive expandable grout, but after Monday’s meeting it was decided that the best option is to leave the big boulder on the hiking trail where it is.


Ms. Flynn said the boulder "is in no danger of moving, and it may act as a buffer should other rocks fall from the slope."

She added, "In the event that anything should affect the nearby state highway, TDOT will step in and address the situation immediately."

Ms. Flynn said TDOT Soils and Geology personnel plan to examine the bluff where the boulder rolled from in the near future.

Cathy Cook, Chickamauga Park superintendent, said earlier there was some concern that the collapse had left the bluff vulnerable to another break-off of a section of rock.

The boulder that fell heavily damaged two switchback sections of the Mountain Beautiful Trail and it has been temporarily closed.

The boulder landed just above heavily-traveled Scenic Highway on the old Broad Gauge Railroad trail that is now owned and managed by the Conservancy.

It was projected that some 20 feet of the boulder dug into the trail with about 16 feet showing above the trail. 

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