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Contact: Bob Miller, 865-436-1207
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that Park visitors and local travelers may now sign-up to receive status updates about the Park’s most frequently used roads via text message or the Internet. In the past, travelers had to place phone calls to the Park to determine the status of the roads which can change frequently with changing weather
“I am excited that visitors and park travelers with cell phones or access to the Internet can now obtain information on road status changes immediately,” said Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent, Dale Ditmanson. “While better serving the public, we can also reduce the workload to the Park’s Communications Center.”
The Park’s recorded information line receives more than 1,000 calls per day during the severe winter weather from people inquiring about road conditions. When all of the incoming lines are in-use, the calls rollover to the park’s Communications Center staff, often resulting in more than 600 calls to be answered, hampering the staff from responding to calls requesting park information and emergency assistance.
Those who wish to be notified of the status of the Park’s four most popular roads - Newfound Gap (U.S. 441), Little River Road, Laurel Creek Road, and Cades Cove Loop Road – can opt to get text messages to their cell phones by texting follow smokiesroadsnps to 40404. To stop receiving the text message alerts, text stop smokiesroadsnps to the same number. Standard text rates will apply.
The public can get that same information via the Internet by going to: http://twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps to read recent road notification postings. This is a Twitter website maintained by the Park, but anybody can access it at any time, without having to establish a Twitter account.
Anyone having a Twitter account can go an extra step and choose to have updates set to them by going to the site listed above and clicking the “follow” button to see the updates on their own account page and receive the notifications in the manner they specify.
In addition to notifications of winter road conditions, Park officials plan to notify travelers throughout the year of road openings and closings due to rock slides, fallen trees, and accidents. Anytime the status of one of the listed roads changes, a message will be sent.
As the National Park Service prepares for its 2016 centennial celebration, officials are increasingly utilizing technology to connect the American people to their national parks. For more information about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for a link to the Twitter site, go to http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm. Information on all of the roads in the Park as well as other Park information may be obtained by calling the park’s information line at (865) 436-1200 and following the prompts.