Great Smoky Mountains National Park Reopening Limited Services
Great Smoky Mountains National Park reopened some campgrounds and restrooms in the park that had been closed since the partial federal government shutdown began in December.
The National Park Service will use money from the Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement Act to bring back furloughed park maintenance crews to maintain roads and ensure some basic services in the North Carolina park, according to the Friends of the Smokies.
The Appalachian Trail, which runs through the park, has technically been closed but accessible to hikers during the shutdown. New backcountry hiking and camping permits for the Smokies and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia will not be issued during the shutdown, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Passes that have already been issued will be valid for the length of time of the permit, the ATC said on its website.
Areas in the Smokies that began reopening Jan. 13 include:
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,” Park Superintendent Cassius Cash told the Friends of the Smokies. “Their efforts have contributed significantly to our ability to restore access and basic services to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”
The nonprofit Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains Association have been donating assistance and money to keep some services open in the park during the shutdown.
During the closure the park has not been updating its website.
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