Some Great Smoky Mountain National Park Facilities Open Despite Government Shutdown. Beginning Sunday January 13, 2019 some basic services to visitors will reopen using revenue generated by recreational fees. Limited visitor services including restrooms and campgrounds will be available for park visitors.
The use of Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement Act funds will bring maintenance crews back to work to maintaining roads. Crews will reopen and maintain restrooms at Cades Cove campground, Smokemont Campground and the Deep Creek picnic area. Crews will also be dispatched to clear and reopen Litlle River Road between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend Wye. The Section of road has been closed for over two weeks due to reported downed trees and a rock slide. The restrooms at Newfound Gap and Cades Cove will remain open after emergency funds provided by Friends of the Smokies are depleted. The Great Smoky Mountain Association is also donating services to reopen the Cable Mill Visitor Center in Cades Cove. Thanks to a preexisting contract prior to the shutdown the dumpsters will continue to emptied. Sugarlands and Oconaluftee Visitors Centers will remain closed.
Smoky Mountain Hellbenders are the largest aquatic salamanders in the national park. You may recognize the Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) by one of its other colorful names; snot otter, water dog, Allegheny alligator or mud dog. The male and female Hellbenders average in length from ten to sixteen inches. It has a flat body and head with slimy skin which gives it the ability to easily slip under submerged stones searching for food. The Hellbender serves as both predator and prey in the ecosystem.
Hellbenders are found in fast-moving, clean mountain streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Like frogs, Hellbenders are excellent indicators of water quality in streams and rivers. Since they breathe through their skin, hellbenders are sensitive to poor water quality, and are considered “bioindicators.” These species can tell biologists about degrading environmental conditions when they first start changing. As Hellbender populations decline so do other species in the environment.
Smoky Mountain Park Facilities Close With Government Shutdown.
“Visitors are going to be on their own until the shutdown ends,” said Laurel Rematore, Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA), CEO. “We are encouraging people visiting the park to prepare for a lack of public use facilities such as restrooms, trash pickup and visitor center staffing.“
GSMA (a nonprofit partner of the Smokies) had been providing short term funding to the park which ended January 1st. The association provided a $51,000.00 donation which kept 15 rangers on the job and the Sugarlands, Oconaluftee, and Cades Cove visitors centers open through the holidays.
One park visitor told HeySmokies, “It feels like that moment in the Chevy Chase comedy favorite “Vacation” where the entire family has driven across county in the family truckster to Wally World only to find the park closed. This time it is no joke though.”
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe. What is behind the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Years day? Some folks say the people in the South were once so poor that is all they could afford but we know the truth. First and foremost this perfectly combined dish is delicious! Second, Southern superstition supersedes even flavor sometimes. Eating peas represents good luck in the new year. It is said that diners should eat one pea for every day of the year. That is 365 peas y’all. The greens represent money, and who does not want some of that in 2019? Eating greens ensures that your coffers will be full throughout the year. There is only one thing this dynamic duo of flavor need to accompany them in our opinion – cornbread!
HeySmokies culinary factoid: Are peas beans? They are officially both legumes so tell us your decision on the HeySmokies Facebook page.