Tennessee State Parks seeing a surge in traffic

Tennessee State Parks seeing a surge in traffic because of government shutdown

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Tennessee has 54 state parks and with the government shutdown, they're reminding visitors the parks are open. Tennessee has 54 state parks and with the government shutdown, they're reminding visitors the parks are open.
"As a result of the park closing, which, of course, we didn't want, we've seen an uptick in business," said Eric Hughey, Fort Loudon State Park manager. "As a result of the park closing, which, of course, we didn't want, we've seen an uptick in business," said Eric Hughey, Fort Loudon State Park manager.
"The state park are great, I highly recommend it," Pleasant said. "The state park are great, I highly recommend it," Pleasant said.
At their visitor center, the phones have been ringing a whole lot more. At their visitor center, the phones have been ringing a whole lot more.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

VONORE (WATE) – Staff at Fort Loudon State Park are expecting it to be a busy weekend. Tennessee has 54 state parks and with the government shutdown, they're reminding visitors the parks are open.

In fact, some folks who planned to be in the Smokies had to change their plans in the last minute, heading to a state park instead.

"I would have been in the Smokies yesterday," said Steve Pleasant, who we found fishing at the state park. Pleasant is from Texas and says he was headed to Smokies.

"Low and behold, when I got there, it was barricaded off.  So I'm like, why is it barricaded off? And it dawned on me that it was part of the national park. I didn't know that," he said.

"As a result of the park closing, which, of course, we didn't want, we've seen an uptick in business," said Eric Hughey, Fort Loudon State Park manager.

At their visitor center, the phones have been ringing a whole lot more.

"We've definitely seen in an increase in the number of people calling to see if we're open and if they can move their family picnics here," Hughey said.

They're reminding visitors that they too offer hiking, swimming, and a chance to see the Fall colors.

At Fort Loudon, they're also hosting re-enactments all day on Saturday.

"We're trying to pick up activities to help these folks out," Hughey said.

"The state park are great, I highly recommend it," Pleasant said.

We asked Steve Pleasant if he's rather be in the Smokies.

"C'mon you're putting me on the spot. Of course. You've got the Smoky Mountains right there and you can't go into it," he replied.

To give you some perspective, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park sees 35,000 visitors per day in October.

So that's the kind of traffic being channeled to other areas.

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