SEVIERVILLE, TN— The new section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley is driving a record number of visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).  

Now park and government leaders are trying to come up with ways to use the land that was bought for portions of the parkway that may never be built.

The original plan for the Foothills Parkway approved in the 1940s was a continuous 72-mile scenic route along the northern boundary of the GSMNP.  The government acquired the right-of-way for the entire parkway. 

With the completion of the longtime "missing link," there are now 34 miles finished from U.S. 129 to Wears Valley.  There is also a 5.6-mile section of the parkway completed on the eastern end from Interstate 40 to Cosby.

That leaves a 33-mile stretch of land where construction never started. 

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