GSMNP entry 'at the visitor's sole risk' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

GSMNP entry 'at the visitor's sole risk'

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Photo courtesy of WBIR Photo courtesy of WBIR
GATLINBURG (WBIR) -

Though the federal government shut down at midnight Saturday, much of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened up on Saturday afternoon.

Laurel Creek Road and Little River Road near the park entrance in Townsend opened around 12:40 p.m. on Saturday. Cades Cove Loop Road opened an hour later.

Signs posted at visitor information stands and restrooms stated it is not a feasible attempt to prohibit all access to NPS properties and said, "Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor's own risk."

"All visitor services, including visitor information, restroom access, trash removal and emergency response will not be performed during the shutdown," the notice said.

However, the lack of amenities didn't stop visitors from making the most of their time in the mountains.

"There're no bathrooms, so that does make it a little hard. It would be really nice if they had those open, but you understand they don't have the staff to work and clean them after people," said Louise Merrill, a photography enthusiast from Georgia.

Though the restroom closures are inconvenient, the Park Service had portable toilets put in at the Cades Cove picnic area.

Read more from WBIR's website.

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