Smoky Mountains fall foliage 'spectacular' this year
(WBIR - SEVIER COUNTY) The falling leaves in the Smoky Mountains helped bring in more visitors than the park has seen in 15 years.
"Every October is a high visitation period. This year seems to be extremely high for us because the fall foliage is quite spectacular for this year," said National Park Service Park Ranger George Luther.
Last year, the park saw the highest numbers since the year 2000. This year, there is a 5.5 percent boost in tourism even from 2014.
Visitors like 89-year-old Mary Wright visit from all over the country. Wright came with four different generations of her family to see the fall colors. It's a rare opportunity for the entire family to get together.
"It changes every year. It's different, but this year I think it's the most beautiful," Wright said.
This year's trip passed on a special moment from generation to generation.
"My grandmother was telling my daughter earlier about how she would jump the rocks across the creek. And then I remembered doing that as a child and my mother did that when she was growing up. So now having my daughter do the same thing is just a nice memory to have. It's a great place to come," said Wright's granddaughter Angela Brown.
With heavy foot traffic comes possible dangers around the park. Park Ranger Luther said it's important to always pay attention to the road while driving.
"Because of the number of people in the park, we are asking people to pay attention to the road ahead of them because many people are looking around and unexpectedly stop and if you're not paying attention, there's a possibility of running into them," Luther said.
Luther said the peak season should last about 10 more days.
Monday, August 21 2017 4:21 AM EDT2017-08-21 08:21:48 GMT
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