Resort owners discuss economic future after fire

6:07 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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Photo courtesy of Ashlyn Whaley.

The Pigeon Forge fire destroyed nearly half of the cabins at Black Bear Ridge Resort. Fifty-nine out of 138 cabins are beyond repair. 

According to Black Bear Ridge Resort, 90 to 100 people own the cabins.

Joyce Whaley McCarter developed the resort with her brother, starting in 2002. Earlier this week, they finished construction on a couple houses.

Black Bear Ridge Resort spent much of Monday notifying owners on the status of their homes.

"Took a lot... We had a lot of builders, a lot of hard work. A lot of people got vacation homes and now they've lost their homes and some of them were permanent residences up there. It's devastating," Whaley McCarter said.

President of the Board of Directors for Black Bear Ridge Resort, Andy Entrekin, flew over the fire after it started.

"It's hard. We've really been working hard since this economic recession. We've been trying post-foreclosure to get all these cabins back up again and build up the rapport of the area and poured so much heart and soul and time into it. So that was a little gut wrenching to see that, to see basically everything going up in smoke," Entrekin said.

There are plans to rebuild.

"We built it in about seven years but it comes down a whole lot faster than it goes up," Whaley McCarter said.

The resort is notifying those who have reservations in the near future, helping them find other options.

Then, they will start contacting those who are renting cabins for later months.

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