Smokies Visitation for 2010
Contact: Nancy Gray, 865_436-1208
During a year of weather extremes, landslides, and major construction projects, Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitation in Calendar Year 2010 pulled through to match 2009 levels. Visitation through the Park's three main entrances and outlying areas in 2010 was 9,463,538, just slightly below 2009, the Park's 75th anniversary year which reported 9,491,436 visits.
"Other occurrences that had both negative and positive influences on Park numbers during the first part of the year were several landslides on primary thoroughfares through the mountains both in and outside the Park," Ditmanson commented. The most significant one was the landslide that closed all lanes on Interstate 40 at the North Carolina and Tennessee border from October 2009 through April 2010. During this impasse, travelers used the Park's Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) as a detour which most likely pushed April visitation up.
Meanwhile, the Park had a large number of major road construction projects which limited access to some Park roads and facilities throughout the year and played a part in altering visitor statistics. For instance, the Outlying Areas tally recorded double digit decreases several months during peak season when two significant secondary entrances were affected by construction on the Foothills Parkway (Cocke County) and Cherokee Orchard Road.
For a monthly breakdown of 2010 visitation by Park entrances visit the Park's website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/visitation.htm.
Did You Know?
More than 240 species of birds have been found in the park. Sixty species are year-round residents. Nearly 120 species breed in the park, including 52 species from the neo-tropics. Many other species use the park as an important stopover and foraging area during their semiannual migration. More...