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National Park Service seeking public input on future Foothills Parkway construction, improvements

The new proposed Foothills Parkway section, 8D, would extend the parkway for 9.8 miles from Wears Valley to the Spur near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

TENNESSEE, USA — The National Park Service is seeking public input in regards to the proposed construction of the next section of the Foothills Parkway and access improvements between Wears Valley and the Metcalf Bottoms area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

A virtual public meeting is set for October 14 and comments may be submitted from October 1 through October 31.

According to a press release, the new proposed Foothills Parkway section, 8D, would extend the parkway for 9.8 miles from Wears Valley to the Spur near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. It would provide direct access to one of the primary entrances to the park. 

In addition, NPS is seeking comments about developing better access to the Metcalf Bottoms area to address safety concerns along Wear Cove Gap Road, improve the overall visitor experience, and protect park resources. 

Both these efforts could alleviate existing and future motor vehicle congestion to complement overall visitor access and traffic flow on the Tennessee side of the Park, officials said.

Officials said the civic engagement public comment period for the proposed projects is open from October 1 through October 31 and includes opportunities to submit written comments and participate in a virtual public meeting. The information obtained will be used to identify and refine the design elements and alternatives under consideration.

A virtual public meeting to discuss the proposed projects and answer any questions about the process is set for October 14 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

During the first 30 minutes of the meeting, NPS will present an overview of the proposed actions with the remainder of the meeting reserved for a question-and-answer session.

Participants are advised to join the meeting five to ten minutes early to test audio and internet connections. Participants are welcome to call in on listen-only mode, and not view the presentation, by dialing 312-626-6799 and entering Webinar ID 856 4513 5682.

Officials said that NPS will also accept written comments regarding the proposed projects online or by postal mail. Comments may be submitted:

  • Online (the preferred method). Click here. Select “Open for Comment” on the left menu bar, open the Foothills Parkway Section 8D/Metcalf Bottoms Newsletter folder, and click on the green “Comment Now” button to access the online commenting form.
  • By Postal Mail at:
    • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Section 8D/Metcalf Access Civic Engagement, 107 Park Headquarters Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Written comments on the proposed projects must be submitted online or be postmarked by October 31 to be considered.

For more information, click here.