Great Smoky Mountains back open for business

Tennessee

After 35 days of government shutdown uncertainty, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is back open.

“We’re back. We’re so happy to be back at work here in the national park again,” said Lisa Nagurny, Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranger.

A re-opened government is bringing renewed seven-day coverage and a full staff back to the Smokies. 

“Trails are open. Currently, roads are open, weather permitting. We have our visitor’s centers open, restrooms are open, trashcans are being picked up again as well. So, we are back to normal as far as park operations go,” Nagurny said.

That means the people visiting this weekend are able to take in the sites and get the full Smokies experience. 

“It’s beautiful and I’m just glad that I get to see it,” said visitor T.J. Shaw.

“I love their view and I love their colors and all that stuff,” said visitor Rori Gann.

During the partial government shutdown, the park’s nonprofit partners temporarily funded some services and volunteers stepped up to help keep the park clean.

Nagurny said, “The outpouring of support from the community has really been great for this last month.”

The park-goers we spoke to were also thankful that a resolution, even if it’s temporary, finally arrived. 

“We’re extremely happy for the families, and they deserve this. The families that come here vacationing deserve to have clean restrooms and that kind of thing,” visitor Jacky Gann said.

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