Great Smoky Mountains National Park seeks public input on visitor experiences

What are your thoughts on these destination in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 11:39 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - Great Smoky Mountain National Park Officials are asking for the public’s input about their experiences with congestion.

“We look forward to working hand-in-hand with our local communities and visitors from across the country to thoughtfully address growing challenges associated with extremely high visitation,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Congestion at the most visited park in the nation is complex, but we believe by working together, we can find solutions that help us continue to protect the park and provide better experiences for millions of visitors.”

GSMNP officials said increased congestion is becoming an issue as park visitation increases. According to a release, visitation at the park has increased by 32% since 2009, resulting in congested roadways, overflowing parking lots, roadside soil erosion, vegetation trampling, and long lines at restrooms and visitor center facilities.

According to a release, the park received a record 12.5 million visits in 2019 and has set monthly visitation records in June, July, and August in 2020.

Anyone who would like to participate in providing feedback is invited to attend two-hour online workshops with park managers. Workshop dates are:

  • Monday, October 19 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 20 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

During the workshop, participants will be asked to provide feedback on Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Deep Creek, Big Creek, Rainbow Falls, Grotto Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, and Laurel Falls. They will also get a chance to learn about how management is working to improve the park.

Participants must register for the workshops online. Click here to sign up.

The public may also submit input without participating in the workshops by sending comments through October 31 to the following:

On the web

• By mail:

Visitor Experience and Stewardship

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

107 Park Headquarters Rd

Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.