Park Welcomes Record Number of Visitors in 2017

For the second year in a row, Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomed over eleven million visitors. In 2017, a record 11,338,894 people visited the national park, which is a slight increase, 0.2%, over 2016. The park continued to see the highest visitation in July which was followed by October and June. Monthly visitation records were set during the shoulder season months of January, February, April, September, and November in 2017 which follows a pattern of the park seeing increased year-round visitation.  

“We strive each year to provide exceptional services to the visitors who come to enjoy the Smokies,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “With increasing visitation across seasons, this does not come without challenges. I am proud of the employees who work hard each day to meet these challenges, along with the support of our volunteers and partners who collectively help us care for this incredibly special place.” 

In 2017, over 2,800 park volunteers donated over 115,000 hours of service. These volunteers provided much needed help across the park including trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, and providing visitor information along trails, at visitor centers, and in campgrounds. Visitors spent nearly 400,000 nights camping in the park which was slightly down from 2016, but above the 5-year average.  The park offers 9 front country campgrounds and 100 backcountry campsites for visitors to enjoy across the park.

Notably in 2017, the park hosted the largest special event in park history. The western half of the park provided prime viewing to experience totality for approximately 2 minutes during the Great American Total Solar Eclipse. Thousands of visitors participated in ranger-led events on the weekend leading up to the eclipse on Monday, August 21. Over 15,600 people attended eclipse events offered at Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Oconaluftee Visitor Center, and Sugarlands Visitor Center. Over 47,000 visitors entered the park from the four main entrances to view the eclipse on August 21, marking a 64% increase in visitation for that day over 2016. Another 26,000 people watched the live broadcast of the Clingmans Dome event in partnership with NASA and another 6 million people watched the event online from across the world via the NASA 360 broadcast. 

For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/.

 

-NPS-

www.nps.gov/grsm

www.Facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainsNPS

www.Twitter.com/GreatSmokyNPS

www.Instagram.com/GreatSmokyNPS

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, 25, Chandler 21, and Naomi 11. 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 9 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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