14 miles of Blue Ridge Parkway closed in North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway saw almost 15 million visitors last year. | Credit: WHSV
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The National Park Service says it has closed 14 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway through southwestern North Carolina in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials didn't say when the stretch would reopen.

The parkway runs more than 450 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, and the service noted that other sections would remain accessible. Officials said they would continue to monitor conditions in the region.

The announcement comes as popular national parks across the country, including Great Smoky Mountains, closed their gates Tuesday as visitors continued to flock to the sites.

The Shenandoah National Park remain open, but with several trails and hikes closed after visitors failed to uphold social distancing guidelines.