Park: Crowds stayed manageable during reopening of Smokies

Posted at 10:41 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 23:42:06-04

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WTVF) — Officials say crews had to rescue one hiker and dealt with congestion in a few popular places when the Great Smoky Mountains reopened over the weekend, but crowds stayed manageable.

Park spokeswoman Dana Soehn said officials evaluated weekend events on Monday and determined conditions weren't overwhelming for staff or visitors.

Major roadways, most trails and some restroom facilities became accessible for the first time Saturday when the Smokies became one of the country’s first national parks to reopen after closing in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Soehn says officials will continue a social media campaign aimed at helping visitors plan a safe visit that includes social distancing.