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*Great Smoky Mountains News Release*

Release Date: Immediate
Contact: Dana Soehn, Dana_Soehn@nps.gov
Phone number: 865-436-1207
Date: October 15, 2013

*National Park Service Announces Agreement to Reopen Smokies*

The National Park Service announced that it has entered into an agreement with the State of Tennessee that will allow Great Smoky Mountains National Park to temporarily reopen on Wednesday, October 16, after being closed for 15 days due to the partial government shutdown. The park will begin opening facilities at 8:00 a.m.
The state of Tennessee, working in partnership with Blount and Sevier counties, is donating funds to the National Park Service for the sole purpose of enabling National Park Service employees to reopen and manage Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The agreement funds the park for
a period of 5 days, running from October 16 through October 21 at the donated amount of $300,500.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has also been working with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to reopen the park which lies in both states. The state of North Carolina has expressed interest in providing financial support for the reopening.
"We are grateful that our Blount and Sevier county neighbors and the states of Tennessee and North Carolina have offered to support reopening the park," said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. "We are anxious to welcome the public back into the park to enjoy the changing fall colors."
Due to the lack of appropriations from Congress, the Department of the Interior was forced to close all national parks across the country and furlough more than 20,000 National Park Service employees who ensure the safety of visitors and the security of the resources.
Responding to the economic impacts that the park closures are having on many communities and local businesses, Secretary of the Interior Jewell announced last week that she would consider agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states.
"This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in Tennessee during this shutdown," said Secretary Sally Jewell. "We want to re-open all of our national parks as quickly possible for everyone to enjoy and call on Congress to pass a clean continuing resolution to open the government."

For more information about the partial government shutdown, please visit
http://www.doi.gov/shutdown.


 
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  • #1. Great Smoky Mountains, U.S.

    The Great Smoky Mountains, long regarded as the ancestral homeland of the Cherokee Indians, is a region rich in natural diversity and pioneer history. Named by the Cherokee for the mysterious wisps of blue-gray smoke that often shroud the highest peaks, this majestic mountain range marks the southern climax of the Appalachian chain. Established as a national park in 1934, the area today spans a magnificent 500,000 acres (202,500 hectares), making it the largest wilderness area of the eastern United States. Within proximity of its extensive 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) of walking trails lies an abundant reserve of both natural and historic interests. The Smokies are home to more than 130 species of trees, 1,500 varieties of flowering plants, and 200 types of birds. Nestled within this haven of cascading waterfalls and fantastic mountain vistas stand the preserved remnants of pioneer heritage: the log cabins, farmhouses, grist mills, and barns built in the 18th and 19th centuries by European settlers. Entering into this immense and abundant forest, walkers can retrace a pioneer past that follows the footsteps first marked by the Cherokee Indians.

  • From the National Geographic book The 10 Best of Everything, 2nd Edition
  • Top 10 Walks & Hiking Tours

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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