Observe the beauty

  • Pennsylvania residents Jo and Tony Stefanon (left, center) chat with Texas native Aja Stefanon about the breathtaking views at the Maple Springs Observation Deck. Photos by Kevin Hensley/editor@grahamstar.com
    Pennsylvania residents Jo and Tony Stefanon (left, center) chat with Texas native Aja Stefanon about the breathtaking views at the Maple Springs Observation Deck. Photos by Kevin Hensley/editor@grahamstar.com
  • The Maple Springs Observation Deck, located off the Cherohala Skyway, re-opened three weeks ago.
    The Maple Springs Observation Deck, located off the Cherohala Skyway, re-opened three weeks ago.
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Cheoah – After a nearly three-year wait, the Maple Springs Observation Deck is back open.

Located 61/2 miles off the Cherohala Skyway, the scenic views offered by the destination make the site a must-stop for those wanting to take in the beauty of Graham County. Three weeks ago, the deck was officially resurrected for public use.

The new structures – one at the parking lot
and another at the deck itself – are connected by a wrap-around concrete walkway. Rampant wildfires in 2016 attempted to alter the location and for the most part, it did. But not fully.

“The supports were burned up, but it wasn’t completely destroyed,” Heath Emmons of the U.S. Forest Service said.

What followed was an assessment by the Federal Highway Administration’s disaster relief funding, after which Forest Service members got together an estimate to apply for monies to repair the location. 

After all was said and done, the work completed was funded by the highway administration’s Office of Federal Lands Highway. The estimated cost was roughly $200,000 and work began in July this year.

“A local contractor did all the work and did a good job,” Emmons added.

Anyone that wants to visit the Maple Springs Observation Deck can follow N.C. 143 West until you pass Snowbird Mountain Lodge, then take the next right. Follow for 6.6 miles until you reach the deck.

For details on the deck, call the local Forest Service office at 479-6431.