Smokies sees more than 12M visitors despite virus closure

GATLINBURG, Tenn. - Despite closing for more than a month because of COVID-19, Great Smoky Mountains National Park experienced its second busiest year on record last year.

The park had a total of 12,095,720 visits in 2020, according to a news release. It saw a record 12.5 million visitors in 2019, a 1.1 million increase over 2018.

But the surge in use at the park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border has brought problems with traffic, overflowing parking lots, crowded bathrooms, damage and litter.

Over the last year, park managers have worked with local communities and visitors to try to solve the challenges. Through virtual workshops and online comments, the park collected more than 2,000 ideas they are now using to develop a pilot project that will address congestion for at least one park destination in 2021.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited national park. In 2020, the next most-visited park was Yellowstone with 3.8 million visits.
Read more on Toronto Star
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
GATLINBURG, Tenn. A National Park Service report says that visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park spent $953 million in communities near the park last year. A park news...
FORT COLLINS, Colo. Rocky Mountain National Park recorded nearly 4.6 million visitors last year, making it the third most visited national park. The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports the Colorado park...
Citing data from the National Park Service, news outlets report Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco overtook the southern destination in 2018. The parkway, which runs more than...
RALEIGH, N.C. Fourteen miles 23 kilometres of the Blue Ridge Parkway through southwestern North Carolina were closed to the public Tuesday in an effort to slow the spread of...
ROANOKE, Va. Visitors to Virginia’s scenic Blue Ridge Parkway had an estimated $1.3 billion economic impact last year in the park’s various communities. The National Park Service’s annual survey...