Friday, October 18, 2013

National Parks and recreation areas are now open

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and other national park properties are now open as usual. The end of the government shutdown brings the re-opening of national parks and lands that were previously closed.

Fall on Chilhowee Mountain
Word of the opening is welcome news for businesses in Tennessee. Many of which rely on the tourism generated by the parks. The fall foliage is just now coming into some color in the East Tennessee mountains
so now is a great time to see the fall foliage. Color always begin at the higher altitudes and then slowly descends into the valley. Visitors will want to shop or dine in the valley and then drive to the top mountain crests of the Smokies.

Opening the national parks and recreation areas couldn't have come at a better time. This is usually peak tourist season but businesses are reporting that traffic is very light. Some businesses are hoping that people who postponed travel plans will be able to come this weekend. All hope that the opening will be a boost to the area economy.

There are several areas where visitors can go to enjoy fall foliage. The Smokies is the most popular but other areas listed below are beautiful but may be more remote. Visitors may want to search online for each of these to see which one fits your personality. Then, all that's left is to gas up the car and head on over.

National parks in Tennessee include:
Great Smoky Mountains
Cumberland Gap 

Recreation areas include:
Big South Fork
Obed Wild and Scenic River

There are also state parks and several national forests that make for beautiful drives throughout the eastern part of Tennessee. The U.S. Parks website has links with information on the Cherohala Skyway, Roan Mountain and other parks and recreation areas in Tennessee (including state and national forests).

Drives that are listed above are my favorites for fall foliage. Everyone has their own favorite. What's yours?