Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Reopen During Shutdown

Fall color in Great Smoky National Park.
Fall color in Great Smoky National Park. Photo: Photomatt28/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Tennessee and North Carolina are the latest states to pony up money to Washington D.C. during the government shutdown. For $304,440 from Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will reopen for five days, from Tuesday through Sunday, according to the National Park Service. (North Carolina, which is also home to the park, is spending $75,000, according to news reports.)

North Carolina and Tennessee, which is taking its Volunteer State nickname to heart this week, are the sixth and seventh states to fund the reopening of national park units. Utah paid to open eight units while Arizona, South Dakota, Colorado, and New York each opened one. All are temporary openings (dates and updates are listed on the park service's default shutdown homepage).

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California officials said they have no plans to pull money from this year's delicately balanced state budget to fund some or all of its national park units, which number more than 25.

The government shutdown, which began October 1, prompted the closure of all 401 national park units. Areas that prospered from the economic activity surrounding the parks took an immediate hit. For towns serving the Great Smoky Mountains, the loss was estimated to be $33 million in the first 10 days, according to Professor Steve Morse, director of Western Carolina University's Hospitality and Tourism Program.

After all, it is the height of the park's fall color season.

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