Some Great Smoky Mountains National Park facilities reopen, but park is not back to normal

Locating an open public restroom in Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be easier starting this week but finding someone to suggest a good spot for a family hike or to replace a washed out trail bridge won’t be.

Workers are reopening limited facilities and in a few locations around the park that had been closed during the partial federal government shutdown, park officials announced Sunday, January 13, 2019.

They include restrooms at Smokemont Campground, located just off U.S. 441 about 5 miles north of the park entrance at Cherokee, and those at Deep Creek Picnic Area near Bryson City.

The changes that began Sunday are part of a National Park Service initiative to reopen some areas or facilities using revenue from user fees. That money ordinarily goes to enhance park facilities, additional visitor services or major maintenance projects.

Damage to parks, overflowing trash cans, litter and human waste have been reported in national parks around the country during the shutdown. People with two nonprofit groups that support the park say those problems appear to be less in the Smokies but there have still been issues.

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