Clingmans Dome Road Improvements
Visitors to Clingmans Dome will notice a several changes and improvements to the road, parking area and restrooms.
During spring and early summer of 2010, Clingmans Dome Road, including eight parking areas along the road and the parking lost at the terminus, were repaved.
In addition, three sets of vault toilets were installed at the west end of the parking area. These were designed to accommodate all visitors, including those with disabilities, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The switch to this type of facility was necessitated by the existing wastewater treatment system being outdated, over capacity, and not having a suitable location for reconstructions and expansion.
The existing comfort station was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps over 60 years ago. Since that time, visitation to Clingmans Dome has steadily increased and State requirements for managing and treating waste effluent have become more stringent.
Rather than let the existing facility, which is a historic structure, stand idle, the park, in consultation with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, developed a plan to adaptively reuse the building as a seasonal visitor contact station and Great Smoky Mountains Association sales outlet.
“We are excited that we have been able to develop an alternative use for this beautiful building that will allow us to expand our ability to serve the large number of visitors that make their way to Clingmans Dome each April through November” said park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “In addition to being able to educate the public on key park issues such as air quality and forest health at the one location where they are most evident, we will also be able to provide access to a select number of high quality educational publications and products provided by our cooperating association partner.”
This project was paid for with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Did You Know?
Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile. Bears can be found throughout the park, but are easiest to spot in open areas such as Cades Cove and Cataloochee Valley.