Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Wednesdays Begin May 5

Great Smoky Mountains National Park invites the public to enjoy the Cades Cove Loop Road on vehicle-free Wednesdays beginning May 5 through September 1. Participants are encouraged to visit in the afternoons and early evenings to spread use out throughout the day. Parking on site is limited, with parking lots often filling to capacity during the early morning hours. 

“We look forward to offering this unique experience again, but we are making some modifications to better protect our roadside infrastructure and camping experience from out-of-bounds parking,” said Superintendent Cash. “I heard from many people who loved having the full day to walk or ride their bikes around the cove. The credit for the idea goes to the local field staff who brought the concept forward in an effort to allow people more time to enjoy the loop road and to reduce congestion.” 

This year, staff will manage on-site parking to improve visitor safety, minimize impacts to campground operations, and reduce roadside parking on non-durable surfaces. Roadside parking damages shoulders and creates unsafe conditions for visitors walking from their car to their destination. Parking at this popular destination is limited. Park staff are developing information systems to better alert visitors when parking lots are full before they enter the park. In addition, park staff are exploring shuttle opportunities to safely bring people to Cades Cove from the Townsend area. Staff plan to have some of these additional options in place later during the summer season. 

Cyclists are reminded to properly prepare for a safe experience. Serious cycling accidents have occurred along the Cades Cove Loop Road. The State of Tennessee requires that children age 16 and under wear a helmet. All riders are strongly encouraged to wear helmets and to ride properly fitted and well-maintained bicycles. During summer and fall, bicycles may be rented at the campground store located near the Cades Cove Campground on a first-come, first-served basis. For information call 865-448-9034.

For more information about congestion monitoring in the park, please visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/management/ves.htm.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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