Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on May 5, 2020
This past week saw the reopening of a number of businesses (mostly shops, restaurants and hotels) in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Visitors are starting to return to the area, and there are signs that life may gradually be returning to the old normal (although it's still too early to tell if this increased accessibility will lead to a new spike in illness rates). For now, most of the local attractions – including our zip lines in the Smoky Mountains – have chosen not to reopen just yet in the interest of ensuring guest protection. We will be welcoming guests back as soon as we feel it is safe to do so. We recommend following us on Facebook to keep up with the latest information regarding the status of our zipline attraction.
However, there are still plenty of good reasons to consider coming to the Smokies this spring and summer, and the biggest reason right now is Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). The National Park Service has announced that it will reopen this weekend, Saturday, May 9. It will be using a phased approach to increase access to the park, beginning with the reopening of many of the primary roads and trails. These will include Newfound Gap Road, Little River Road and Cades Cove, and restrooms will be accessible on these opened roads. While many areas will be accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue in phases, and services may be limited. Campgrounds, picnic pavilions, visitor centers and many secondary roads will remain closed during phase one, which is expected to last for at least two weeks.
“We recognize this closure has been extremely difficult for our local residents, as well as park visitors from across the country, who seek the park as a special place for healing, exercise, recreation and inspiration,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are approaching this phased reopening with that in mind as we balance our responsibility to protect park resources and the health and safety of everyone.”
Of course, the health and safety of employees, visitors and local residents remains the highest priority. Park managers will regularly monitor each facility and service provided to ensure that those operations comply with current public-health guidelines. New safety measures will include the disinfectant fogging of restrooms and public buildings, the installation of Plexiglas shields at visitor centers, personal protective equipment requirements for maintenance workers, new safety protocols for emergency services staff and reduced group size limits.
The park typically has more than one million visitors each month, May through October, from across the country. When visiting the park, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities. The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Park managers will continue to monitor all functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidelines and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
What will this mean in practical terms? If you're going to visit the park, try to target locations or trails that are likely to have the fewest visitors. And it's still important to try to keep at least six feet away from other park guests. The danger is that someone can feel perfectly fine and have no symptoms yet still carry the coronavirus and spread it to others. That's why masks are recommended, especially indoors. Wearing a mask won't protect you from getting the virus, but if you happen to be carrying it and don't realize it, it will help keep you from spreading it to others.