National Park Traffic Jams Getting Worse

Knoxville — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling the line between Tennessee and North Carolina, is the most-visited national park in the country.

The head of the University of Tennessee’s Transportation Center said traffic problems in the park continue.

“The serenity and beautiful outdoor scenery attract people to the mountains,” said Dr. Steve Richards. “You get more and more people coming in their private automobiles, and at some point the traffic overwhelms the roadways.”

The National Park Service reported that more than 4.3 million vehicles visited Great Smokies in 1999.

Officials are looking at alternative forms of transportation within the park.

“There’s been some experimentation over the past few years with bus service into some areas of the park,” Richards said. “That sort of opportunity may expand in the future.”

Richards said another problem is the amount of vehicle exhaust emissions in the park, which could also be reduced by using mass-transit systems.