Great Smoky Mountains National Park to re-open some basic services

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) --- Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced on Sunday that recently closed areas of the park will once again be accessible to visitors beginning Sunday, January 13.

"It's big," said Tammy Cunningham, who was visiting Cades Cove. "It means we could stay in the park longer."

The park was forced to close when funds for some basic visitor services were no longer available due to the government shutdown.

Park Officials have determined that by using Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement Act funds to immediately bring back park maintenance crews to maintain roads and some basic services, they will be able to restore accessibility to the park for visitors while ensuring health and safety.

"It's very important to have them available," said George Cunningham, who was visiting Cades Cove. "They really need them here in the picnic area if people are going to enjoy the outdoors."

Park officials reported that the following services will reopen using revenue generated by recreation fees:

* Cades Cove Campground and Picnic Area, including restrooms.

* Restrooms at the Smokemont Campground.

* Restrooms at the Deep Creek Picnic Area.

* Little River Road between Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area and the Townsend Wye.

* Foothills Parkway East.

“We greatly appreciate the generous contributions of park partners who have provided funding to staff visitor centers over the holidays and keep bathrooms at Newfound Gap and Cable Mill open during the lapse in appropriations,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Their efforts have contributed significantly to our ability to restore access and basic services to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

Roads and trails that are seasonally open will be maintained and remain accessible to visitors on a prioritized basis. Operational efforts will be performed with reduced staffing using revenues from recreation fees.

For more information on facilities available at the park you can go to https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm.