UPDATE: Welcome to the Smokies - Superintendent directs traffic as park reopens
By Lance Coleman, Knoxville News Sentinel
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell, left, and Superintendent Dale Ditmanson are all smiles as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park reopens on Wednesday. Photo by Paul Efird/News Sentinel
TOWNSEND (News Sentinel) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson was directing traffic near the Townsend Wye entrance to Cade's Cove Wednesday morning, and he couldn't have been happier.
"That's what we do is welcome people, so it's hard for us not to welcome people into the park," he said. "It is the most visited national park in the country at the busiest time of year. We could not be happier that the states of Tennessee and North Carolina and Blount and Sevier counties worked together to make this happen."
Park spokeswoman Dana Soehn said the Little River Road between the Townsend Wye and Metcalf Bottoms remained closed Wednesday morning because crews were making repairs to the pavement after a windstorm last week downed a tree that uprooted some of the pavement. Crews anticipated finishing their work before noon.
Ditmanson said rangers were able to start late Tuesday night reopening portions of the park, and he said the gate was opened to Foothills Parkway coming from Calderwood Highway about 11 p.m.