published Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Smokies among parks closed due to federal shutdown

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park's distinctive natural mist rises in Walland, Tenn.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park's distinctive natural mist rises in Walland, Tenn.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is among the more than 400 parks across the country that have been closed as a result of the federal government's partial shutdown.

Smokies spokeswoman Molly Schroer said today that the shutdown of the nation's most visited park includes closure of all visitors' centers and trails.

She says 326 employees were sent home, but 47 remain, including law enforcement rangers, emergency dispatchers and a small maintenance crew.

Schroer says the shutdown comes during one of the park's busiest months. She says the park averages about 1.1 million visitors in October.

Also today, the Tennessee governor's office provided information about how the shutdown would affect state agencies. Eleven departments would face some impact, and another would be significantly impacted, if the shutdown lasts longer than 10 days.

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