KODAK, Tenn. — Friends of the Smokies wants to make sure visitors heading to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend are able to enjoy the park to the fullest.
The holiday weekend is expected to bring an influx of visitors to the park, so the group is funding the temporary reopening of Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina, for Friday through Monday, Jan. 18-21, a news release from the group said.
Both of the visitor centers will be open on Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and then from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The group will provide park rangers with funding for the Resource Education division to reopen the centers and provide the public with information, as well as funding for park employees to clean, reopen and maintain restrooms at the centers, per the release. Employees from the Great Smoky Mountains Association will staff the park stores at both centers.
“We are incredibly grateful for Friends’ contribution,” Laurel Rematore, Chief Executive Officer of Great Smoky Mountains Association, said in the release. “We appreciate every chance we have to help park visitors learn more about this park’s resources through sales of our ranger-approved merchandise.”
The visitor centers will close again after Monday until federal funds for the park are restored and the park reopens, according to the release.