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.
“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.”
Priorities will be set to keep seasonal roads and trails open to the public. Downed trees, rock slides and snow plowing will continue on more heavily traveled roads including The Spur, Newfound Gap Road, Little River Road, Laurel Road and the Cades Cove loop. Other roads, if closed due to weather and natural events, may remain closed until the park is fully staffed or may take longer than normal time to reopen.
Park webcam footage will remain accessible but social media accounts and updated information will be suspended until the shutdown ends. The majority of park employees including rangers and staff continue to be laid off with no pay.
For updates on how the shutdown affects the park stay tuned to HeySmokies.com and the the official government shutdown site.