GATLINBURG, Tenn.—On March 1, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will launch the ‘Park it Forward’ program which requires visitors to buy and display a valid parking tag for any vehicle parking for more than 15 minutes.
“We owe a huge thanks to our park neighbors, communities, partners, and visitors for their support and feedback for this important and historic program,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Park it Forward will undoubtedly help protect the park resources and enhance visitors’ experiences in a substantial way now and into the future.”
The $40 annual parking tags are available for purchase online through Great Smoky Mountains Association. The $5 daily and $15 weekly parking tags are available for purchase at recreation.gov and by credit card at automated fee machines available year-round, 24 hours a day at several locations in the park. All parking tag types are also available for purchase at several store locations.
Park users will directly contribute to protecting the park when they buy a parking tag. All revenue generated through the Park it Forward program will remain in the park to support operational costs for managing and improving visitor services such as trail maintenance, custodial services, and trash removal. The program will also support more resource education programs, emergency responders, and law enforcement staff across the park. Parking tags cannot be transferred between vehicles and must include the license plate number matching the vehicle in which it is displayed. Obtaining a parking tag will not guarantee a parking spot at a specific location. Parking will continue to be available on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the park. Visitors should plan ahead when visiting busy locations like Laurel Falls Trail or Clingmans Dome by considering visiting during off-peak hours, mid-week, and during the cooler months to increase the chances of securing a parking spot. With more than 800 miles of trails and nearly 400 miles of scenic roadways, there are ample opportunities for recreation across the park each day.