GATLINBURG, Tenn. – Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers and the Gatlinburg Police Department partnered for a targeted enforcement event on the northbound Spur on Sunday, March 28 and Monday, March 29. The coordinated targeted enforcement was implemented to ensure that motorists transporting trash, construction debris, or other cargo was properly secured to prevent materials from littering scenic roadways.
“With increasing visitation trends and more use of park roads for business and recreation, we need everyone to do their part to keep our roads litter free,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “To protect our scenic values and wildlife, it is vital that we prevent trash from ever being discarded in a National Park.”
Thousands of vehicles travel the Spur each day, including motorists hauling garbage from rental units or private residences to trash collection centers. Garbage bags and construction waste that is blown out of vehicles is often scattered along the roadways after being hit by vehicles, causing significant litter accumulation along our roadways.
Through targeted enforcement patrols, officers checked for compliance with Tennessee State Code 39-14-303, which states that any motor vehicle which transports litter, or any material likely to be blown off, is required to have the material either in an enclosed space or fully covered by a tarp. Over the course of the two-day targeted enforcement event, officers with the National Park Service and the Gatlinburg Police Department made a total of 37 stops resulting in 25 verbal warning and 13 citations.
“The City of Gatlinburg is very concerned about the litter issues in the area and is willing to work with the National Park and coordinate efforts, such as this targeted enforcement event,” said Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle. “Together we can all make a difference to help keep our area beautiful for everyone to enjoy.”
The Spur, a 5-mile section of roadway between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, is traveled by over 10 million motorists annually and accumulates the largest amount of litter among the Park’s 384 miles of roads. Additional targeted enforcement dates are also scheduled throughout the remainder of 2021.
On Tuesday, March 30, the park and Keep Sevier Beautiful hosted a volunteer cleanup on the Spur. Volunteers from the Save our Smokies group participated along with additional volunteers for a total of 39 participants. For more information about volunteering in the park, visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/getinvolved/volunteer.htm.
For more information about how you can help prevent litter in Sevier County, please visit the Keep Sevier Beautiful website at https://keepsevierbeautiful.org.
– National Park Service release