GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Beginning next March, visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park will need to purchase a parking pass to use the facilities. Park Superintendent Cassius Cash says the fee is needed to keep up with maintenance and staffing demands at the country’s most visited national park. The Smokies have seen at 57% increase in visitors over the past decade with a record 14.1 million visits in 2021. However, Cash says appropriations aren’t based on visitations and have remained relatively flat. In addition to the parking passes, the park is increasing camping fees. All the money raised will go directly into staffing, deferred maintenance and operations.
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