Great Smoky Mountains National Park begins phased reopening May 9

North Carolina news

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — In accordance with the White House Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin its phased reopening on Saturday, May 9.

The park will reopen many roads and trails.

“We recognize this closure has been extremely difficult for our local residents, as well as park visitors from across the country, who seek the park as a special place for healing, exercise, recreation, and inspiration,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are approaching this phased reopening with that in mind, as we balance our responsibility to protect park resources and the health and safety of everyone.”

Park managers are implementing new safety measures in facility operations and services to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as areas reopen to the public.

Campgrounds, picnic pavilions, visitor centers, and many secondary roads will remain closed during the first reopening phase, which is expected to last for at least two weeks.

Some of these measures will include disinfectant fogging operations for restrooms and public buildings, installation of plexiglass shields at visitor centers, personal protective equipment requirements for maintenance workers, new safety protocols for emergency services staff, and reduced group size limits.

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