March 27, 2020
Because large crowds were gathering at the Sassafras Mountain Tower and at Bald Rock Heritage Preserve, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has made the decision to close the two Blue Ridge Escarpment destinations beginning Saturday, March 28.
"With a limited amount of space on top of Sassafras and Bald Rock, it is hard to practice 'social distancing' when large numbers of people are using these sites," said Tom Swayngham, SCDNR assistant chief of wildlife. "We know how much people love Sassafras and Bald Rock, and how beautiful the view is at these scenic places. This was not an easy decision for us to make, but in order to keep people safe and healthy, we need to close both the Sassafras tower and Bald Rock temporarily, until conditions improve."
Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina at 3,883 feet, is in northern Pickens County, and Bald Rock Heritage Preserve is in northern Greenville County, near Caesars Head State Park. Both sites are owned and managed by SCDNR.
The remainder of the Jocassee Gorges property is open to public use and officials ask users to follow recommended guidelines and executive orders on keeping people safe by practicing social distancing.
"Please take care of each other and the properties," Swayngham said. "Emergency response for injuries or accidents during this time will be an increased challenge that first responders do not need."
Pickens County controls the road to the top of Sassafras Mountain, and a gate on the road near Carolina Point Young Life camp has been closed with the County's permission.
The decision to close both Sassafras Mountain and Bald Rock follows closely the announcement that all State Parks in South Carolina will close beginning March 28 to support the state's response to COVID-19.
SCDNR announced earlier that the beach access at Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve, a popular tourist destination near Edisto Beach in Colleton County, will also close March 28.