Corona virus closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Corona Virus Closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park. GSMNP closes to support COVID – 19 prevention efforts. Park officials have closed all areas except the Foothills Parkway and the Spur. The closure will take effect Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The park will reopen Monday, April 6, 2020.The park will continue to assess changing conditions in our region and work with local communities to extend or terminate closures, as appropriate to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, partners, and local residents.
“We are sad it has come to this but in the interest of public safety it is the right thing to do” said Bill from Louisiana.
All access to the park, including trails and roads, will temporarily close in alignment with efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 across the region. This includes Executive Order 117 issued by NC Governor Roy Cooper, Executive Order 17 issued by TN Governor Bill Lee, Executive Order 6 issued by Principal Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, Graham County travel restrictions, Pigeon Forge, TN Safe-at-Home Advisory, and requests to close or partially close the park received from Swain County, Sevier County, and Bryson City, NC.
Despite park efforts over the last week to comply with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance for social distancing, approximately 30,000 people entered the park daily resulting in congested conditions at popular locations such as Laurel Falls, Newfound Gap, and Cades Cove. Visitors from across the country have flocked to the area due to spring break, wildflowers, and warm weather conditions. This two-week park closure allows the park to support local efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Park rangers can still help answer questions via email or phone during business hours at (865) 436-1291, (828) 506-8620, or GRSM_Smokies_Information@nps.gov. The NPS is working with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor COVID-19 and adjusting measures to control its spread.
Source material – GSMNP