Great Smoky Mountains National Park to soon benefit from passage of Great American Outdoors Act

Local News

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Millions of dollars of backlogged maintenance in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park could soon be taken care of thanks to the Great American Outdoors Act.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander helped to get the act passed and onto President Trump’s desk to sign earlier this month.

The legislation, which sets aside an estimated $20 billion dollars to be spent restoring national parks over the next 10 years, gives the biggest funding boost to the United States’ 419 national parks in half a century.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone is needing more than $220 million; however, the park won’t get that entire amount, but the spokesperson says any funding is helpful.

“Our highest priority needs in the park are our roadways systems, our administrative facilities and our waste water and water treatment facilities in the park,” GSMNP spokesperson Dana Soehn said. “If we can replace and address these needs, it’s going to give us a lot of ability to continue to provide services for the level of visitation that we have now.”

The park has undergone only a few major renovations in the last 50 years. The infrastructure is outdated and cannot handle the now-more than 12 million visitors that visit GSMNP each year.

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