Visitors once again enjoying the beauty of the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is back open for business.

The states of Tennessee and North Carolina, along with Blount and Sevier County, are paying the $300,500 dollars necessary to operate the park for the next five days during the federal government shutdown.

More than 200 furloughed workers were back at work bright and early Wednesday morning, removing barricades, unlocking doors, and doing a little cleaning up so they could welcome visitors. The park has been closed for two weeks.

Visitors streamed into the park as it opened around 8:00 am. Many headed to Cades Cove to see the changing leaves.

"We spend a lot of time in Cades Cove every year, and we were kind of disappointed when it shut down. But, we are glad it's open today," said Joe Simms from Lebanon, TN.

Many people from out of state said they were trying to extend their vacation so they could enjoy the park now that it is open.

"We postponed leaving. We were going to leave this morning because this is why we came, for the park. If you can't get in there is no reason to stay," said Sandy Coyle from New Jersey.

Unless a deal is reached to reopen the federal government, or another funding agreement is made, the park could shut down once again Sunday night at 11:59 pm.

October is the busiest time of the year for the Smokies and the surrounding areas.


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