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@NCCapitol

NC, Tennessee pay to open Smoky Mountains park during shutdown

Posted October 15, 2013
Updated October 16, 2013

About 75 percent of leaves are turning color on Grandfather Mountain in this second weekend of October.

— Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that North Carolina and Tennessee have agreed to pick up the $380,000 tab to open Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the rest of this week – the height of leaf-watching season in the park.

North Carolina will spend $75,000 from its tourism advertising budget, while Tennessee and two counties will spend the remaining $305,000 to reopen the park that straddles the state line from Wednesday through Sunday.

Like other national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been closed since Oct. 1 during the federal government shutdown. About 10 million people visit the park annually, including 4 million who enter through North Carolina.

“This is about jobs and the economy,” McCrory said in a statement. “Many North Carolina communities depend on tourism generated by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s critical that we get the gates reopened during the fall season.”

He said he is exploring options to open other national parks in North Carolina.

Professor Steve Morse, director of Western Carolina University’s Hospitality and Tourism Program, estimated that each day Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed costs nearly $1 million in consumer spending in North Carolina.

The closure is potentially costing North Carolina workers $343,354 in lost wages per day, he said.

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  • kdogwnc Oct 17, 3:06 p.m.

    perseusomega9 - the typical ranger working for the National Park Service makes between $35K-$41K/year. They are typically trained in law enforcement and all manner of outdoor skills, including search and rescue, advanced first aid, and other necessary tasks related to their job.

    How much should a park ranger make?

  • nerdlywehunt Oct 17, 2:30 p.m.

    The impact of closure is huge to businesses in the area. Small investment for huge return IMO... Having said that, co

    So let business that benefit from it fund it already!!!!!!

  • nerdlywehunt Oct 16, 7:48 p.m.

    Republican welfare...........pure and simple......they complain about the Feds spending but when it stops they panic and now it is a crises.....gotta love it.....

  • liskm Oct 16, 5:57 p.m.

    GSMNP is the No.1 attended park in the country. The impact of closure is huge to businesses in the area. Small investment for huge return IMO...
    Having said that, could have been avoided entirely with less political theatrical, obstructionists in Congress.

  • kermit60 Oct 16, 2:11 p.m.

    The state will put up the money but will the folks profiting from the $1 million in consumer spending in North Carolina pay the state back? I'm sure there are many businesses losing out on much income from the disaster called a partial shutdown. Why support the tourist buisness in one park and not all of them?

  • jackjones2nc Oct 16, 1:05 p.m.

    The Republican shutdown and debt limit threats are completely owned by the Republicans.

  • NC_interest Oct 16, 12:59 p.m.

    "Blaming the so-called tea party is assinine. The tea party is a common sense ideology to save the country from debt. The blame goes to Obama and his lemmings.
    "

    This a perfect example of why this is the Tea Party's fault. Look at the hatred and blame present in this quote.

  • goldenosprey Oct 16, 12:56 p.m.

    "I still think this is exactly what he wants,,,,total control and eventually push Americans too far and declare marshall (sic) law." busy97

    I'm sure its in the book of Revelation somewhere...

    "Blaming the so-called tea party is assinine. The tea party is a common sense ideology to save the country from debt. The blame goes to Obama and his lemmings." Paladin2

    I laughed til I cried when I read this. The TP is many things but "common sense" is not one of their ingredients. Obama does not have a bill to sign.

    It's quite telling our state gov is opening its wallets so resort and tourist trap owners can make a profit on aging boomers from Florida on their Harleys, but when it comes to hungry children, impoverished families and the unemployed, it's "#@&* off you lazy bums!"

  • packfan27 Oct 16, 12:28 p.m.

    So, GSMNP is worth using state funds to keep open but Uwharrie and Hatteras aren't? What up with that?

  • perseusomega9 Oct 16, 12:14 p.m.

    Blaming the so-called tea party is assinine. The tea party is a common sense ideology to save the country from debt. The blame goes to Obama and his lemmings.-Paladin2

    If no-compromise extreme rightwing ideology is common sense...

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