(WBIR - Gatlinburg) Anyone considering trespassing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the government shutdown should know there is only a skeleton crew on-hand to help with emergencies.
Friday morning a 59-year-old woman fell and dislocated her shoulder while jogging on the closed Gatlinburg Trail in the Park. GSMNP chief ranger Clay Jordan said rangers and Gatlinburg Rescue Squad workers responded to a 911 call, located the injured woman, and carried her out to an ambulance.
"Fortunately, this was a relatively minor injury and very close to the road," said Jordan. "We understand the shutdown is a difficult situation for everyone involved, but we are trying to get voluntary cooperation from visitors to please stay out. If this had happened on any of the trails deeper in the Park, it would have been a very difficult situation for a timely rescue."
While there are law enforcement rangers on duty, Jordan emphasized most search and rescue efforts are heavily dependent on assistance from the many park employees currently furloughed.
"We are short-handed," said Jordan. "Our search and rescues rely on help from all of our employees who have knowledge of the park. Everyone from biologists to maintenance workers to all of the other employees pitch in during an emergency and right now they are not here to help. Again, we ask people to please voluntarily respect the closure during the shutdown for everyone's safety."