On Wednesday morning, roads and trails into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were finally re-opened, 15 days after being closed due to the recent government shutdown. Traffic was lined up outside the Townsend entrance to the park before it opened as tourists waited to enter. A ceremony celebrating the reopening had to be moved to the Tremont campground because of the traffic.
“We had traffic backed up at the Sugarlands and we also had traffic backed up from here at the “Y” all the way into Townsend,” said Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell. “That gives you an idea of what we were missing on a daily basis by this park being shut.”
Due a recent deal between Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, as well as support from county leaders in Sevier and Blount Counties, the park was temporarily re-opened from Wednesday, October 16th, until this Sunday, October 20th, at 11:59 P.M. However, the recent ending of the government shutdown as of last evening by the federal government further means that the National Park will remain open for the foreseeable future, past this Sunday at 11:59 P.M.
The National Park costs $60,100 to operate per day, according to the National Park Service. Prior to the resolution of the shutdown last evening, it would take $300,500 to keep the park open for the five days called for in the state-to-state brokered deal. All national parks were closed October 1 when Congress failed to pass a funding bill, leading to a partial government shutdown. However, the federal government agreed last week to allow states to re-open national parks if they paid for the operating costs. In addition, bills introduced in the U.S. House and Senate would reimburse states within 90 days for any costs associated with reopening the parks during the shutdown. Now that there is a resolution to the shutdown by the federal government as of last evening, the National Park is on track to remain open for the foreseeable future.
What does this all mean? For now and into the foreseeable future, it appears that the National Park will be open, and will remain open, to the public, following the last evening’s resolution to the recent government shutdown by the federal government. This comes during the middle of the changing of the leaves in the fall season here in the Smokies, which attracts many people to the area every year and is expected to do so again this year.
While enjoying the wonder and splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as the now re-opened National Park, why not see what else the Smokies can offer you? Please feel free to browse our available properties, and see what is available for you if you are thinking about buying a new home in the area. Let our team help you realize your home ownership dreams today, as we have many great properties available!
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