With the enactment of the continuing resolution, staff at Great Smoky Mountains National Park resumed regular operations on Saturday, Jan. 26. Many basic services were accessible to visitors on weekends and holiday periods throughout the shutdown period using a combination of partner funds and revenue generated by recreation fees. Park visitor centers are now accessible seven days a week and reservation services for the frontcountry and backcountry are fully operational.
Visitors may experience delayed openings this spring at some park campgrounds, picnic areas, and seasonal roads due to a reduced timeline for seasonal staff hiring and project planning. An updated park operating schedule will be posted on www.nps.gov/grsm as soon it is available.
“On behalf of the employees of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to our partners and communities for their unwavering support over the last five weeks,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “In addition to the monetary support offered by our partners to provide basic visitor services, we were moved by the number of people and organizations who stepped up to organize litter pickups and the outpouring of generosity expressed to our employees through meals and gift cards.”
All park staff, including biologists, engineers, education rangers, and administrators have resumed work functions critical for year-round park operations. Employees are glad to be back at work protecting resources and assisting visitors in having a safe and enjoyable experience. If you are interested in helping take care of the park, please visit www.nps.gov/grsm/getinvolved/volunteer.htm for more information on how to become a volunteer.
– National Park Service release