Your Fee Dollars at Work

In the first year of the Park it Forward parking tag program, Great Smoky Mountains National Park generated over $10 million in recreation fee revenue. The park is using this money to improve visitor safety, increase park ranger presence, and repair, enhance and maintain public park facilities. Launched in March 2023, Park it Forward was designed to provide critical support to protect and enhance the visitor experience at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, now and into the future. Park users directly contribute to protecting the park when they purchase a $5 daily, $15 weekly, or $40 annual parking tag. One hundred percent of the funds generated by park fees stays in the Smokies.

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Hear from Superintendent Cassius Cash about the benefits of the Park it Forward parking tag program.

Park ranger speaking with a family at Cable Mill in Cades Cove

Increase park ranger presence.
We’ve hired eight roving park rangers who travel across the park providing information to visitors. Since they were hired in March 2023, these rangers have made more than 117,000 visitor contacts, picked up over 612 pounds of trash, and assisted with dozens of search and rescue missions, motor vehicle accidents and wildlife incidents.

Overall, through the Park It Forward Parking Tag Program, we’re hiring over more than 25 rangers across the park.

Historic preservation crew works on chimney at Elijah Oliver cabin.
Improve roads and facilities.
We’re hiring additional maintenance employees to help us better maintain roads, bridges, and tunnels in the park. These crews will be able to repair road shoulders, patch potholes, and replace damaged signs and fences more quickly across the park. We will also use Park it Forward funds for campground and picnic area maintenance, to replace horse stalls at Tow String Horse Camp, resurface the Cosby access road and replace sidewalks in the Cosby picnic area. Future Park it Forward funds will allow us to continue to make improvements at several campgrounds throughout the park.
Park rangers engaging in search and rescue efforts

Improve visitor safety.
We’ve started the park’s first Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) team. These seven rangers aim to reduce search and rescue missions through visitor preparation, education and information—look for them on the trails this summer! They are also highly trained medics and EMS professionals who will respond to search and rescue incidents throughout the park. We’re also bringing on a team of arborists to quickly remove hazard and downed trees that may block roads or create unsafe conditions.

Last updated: March 27, 2024

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Mailing Address:

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738



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