Workers survey the new passage to the Outcroppings Trail.

Winter is often a time of hibernation and rest, but at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park it’s a time for regeneration and growth.

Chimney Rock State Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood recently stated that NHM Constructors, LLC is working on several projects for the park.

The first project contractors are focusing on is a new passage that will allow guests to access the Chimney while the deck near Gneiss Cave is being replaced.

“The plan is to get those bypass stairs complete first,” said Ledgerwood. “Once those are complete, contractors can totally close off and demo (the old deck). The bypass stairs will be the route that people use to access the Chimney while work is being done on the deck at the base of the Outcroppings Trail.”

The new deck will be larger and provide additional room for picnickers and educational programs.

Along with these projects, the stairs that connect the top parking lot to the Hickory Nut Falls Trail, which leads to a 404-foot waterfall, will be replaced.

North Carolina State Parks Project Manager Owen J. Daniels stated that work at the construction site is going well.

“Everything is going as well as any of the other project we’ve had in the park,” said Daniels. “The connector (stairs to the falls) should be done by July and we hope to have the deck (near Gneiss Cave) done in May.”

Daniels also stated that repairs on the parks elevator are continuing with workers coming to do ground-level repairs this month. Elevator renovations will continue into later this year.

The estimated cost of these projects is $1.7 million dollars.

For the latest project updates on Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, visit chimneyrockpark.com and at facebook.com/chimneyrockparknc.

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park’s winter hours are Friday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Extended hours for the park will start on Saturday, March 12 and continue into November.

Contributed to the Breeze by Landdis Hollifield, Public Relations and Promotions Manager, Chimney Rock State Park.