The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has approved the use of e-bikes in the park.
The new regulation allows the use of low-speed electric bikes in the park at all locations where bicycles are currently allowed. That includes seasonally closed roads; the Gatlinburg Trail between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Gatlinburg (1.9 miles); the Oconaluftee River Trail between the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the town of Cherokee (1.6 miles); Indian Creek Trail (2.9 miles); and Deep Creek Trail (1.4 miles).
Both Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, which can provide electronic assistance until the rider reaches a speed of 20 mph, are allowed under the new regulation.
"E-bikes enable more people to enjoy a cycling experience in the park in a manner that is consistent with conventional bicycle use," according to a press release from the park. "More people, especially those with physical limitations, will now have the opportunity to explore the park in a unique way."
The regulation allows cyclists to use the small electric motor to assist pedal propulsion, not to propel the rider without pedaling. The only exceptions to that would be in locations open to public motor vehicle traffic.