Park visitation down slightly in January

by Feb 20, 2013NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments

Total visitation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for January 2013 was down 1.4 percent as compared with January 2012. During January 2013, a total of 265,633 visitors came into the Park as compared with 269,282 in 2012, a decrease of 3,649 visitors.

Visitation for Entrances:

  • Gatlinburg: 92,938
  • Townsend: 42,353
  • Oconaluftee: 55,147
  • Outlying Areas:75,195

Visitation for January 2013 was 3.5 percent below the five year average, and is the second lowest visitation rate for the month in 5 years.

An above average amount of precipitation, and subsequent road closures, likely contributed to the decrease in the park’s January visitation. The park averages around 5-7 inches of rain during the month of January, but received 14-17 inches during January 2013.

Many flooding events occurred which washed away gravel from roadways, damaged trail bridges, and most notably washed away approximately 200 yards of roadway on Newfound Gap Road during a landslide. This landslide has temporarily prohibited all through traffic from driving across the park between Gatlinburg, Tenn. and Cherokee. The road reconstruction process is currently underway to repair the road and open it to traffic by mid-May.