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Thousands of downed trees close trails in Smokies

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SMOKEMONT, NC (AP) -- More than 20 miles of trails and a number of campsites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed because of extensive tree damage from tornadoes that ripped through the area.

Park officials have closed trails to Abrams Falls, the Ace Gap Trail, Hatcher Mountain Trail, Rabbit Creek Trail and portions of Hannah Mountain and Little Bottoms trails.

Horse riders also are barred from trails at Abrams Falls and Abrams Creek Ranger Station because of the downed trees.

The strong tornadoes in the park broke or uprooted more than 4,000 trees, washing out portions of several trails, and creating hazardous conditions for hikers and horseback riders.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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