Except for Newfound Gap Road (U.S.441), the Spur, and the Gatlinburg Bypass, all visitor centers, picnic areas, campgrounds, trails, and roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park remain closed as part of the partial federal shutdown
In the Park, 279 employees were placed on furlough, leaving only a few dozen rangers to protect property and resources throughout the park, as well as the public traveling the Spur and Newfound Gap Road. While most overlooks and pull-offs along the roadway are open to accommodate safe traffic flow over the mountains, facilities and trails remain closed. Park rangers are dependent on personnel, now furloughed, trained to support search and rescue operations when hikers become lost, injured, or ill in the backcountry.
“We ask that the public voluntarily respect the closure of the backcountry for everyone’s safety,” said Chief Ranger Clay Jordan. “With less staff on duty, we do not have the personnel on hand to sufficiently respond to emergency situations in the backcountry. We understand the desire of visitors to hike during this beautiful time of year and we are hopeful that the park will soon reopen.”