By TAYLOR DURDEN | WAVE 3 News
Bernheim Forest has seen an unusually high number of visitors this week, causing them to stop allowing visitors for about an hour Wednesday afternoon.
The park expected a lot of visitors because of spring break, but the amount of people they have seen so far was more than they expected, Executive Director Dr. Mark Wourms said.
“The state police asked us to close down to relieve pressure on the highways,” Wourms said.
He said the 16,000-plus acres of protected forest were only closed for about an hour before reopening at 2 p.m.
Wourms said the interest in the forest has been overwhelming, especially thanks to the new Forest Giants in a Giant Forest created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo.
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“It’s going to take our visitation from 270,000 visitors a year to who knows what!” Wourms said.
Bernheim urges visitors to arrive before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. for the rest of the week and weekend, to help with overcrowding.
“I encourage people to come out,” Wourms said. “They’re fabulous and there’s hiking trails and nature and forest giants. But come out early or come out a little later.”
Wourms said the three giant sculptures made of recycled wood from the region are each special and different.
“They make everybody think in the back of their minds that they’re still kids and still full of imagination,” Wourms said.
The sculptures are free to see and are expected to be at Bernheim for about three years.