RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will reopen for five days during the busy fall tourism season with the help of money from both Tennessee and North Carolina, officials say.
The park, which straddles the border of the two states, will reopen Wednesday through Sunday. Like other national parks, it had been closed because of the partial federal government shutdown.
Tennessee is giving $300,500 to open the park, while North Carolina is contributing $75,000, the governors of the two states said Tuesday.
Tennessee's $300,500 share is officially being paid by Sevier County, home of heavily visited tourist attractions like Pigeon Forge, Dollywood and Gatlinburg, though 80 percent of that amount will come from the state in the form of a tourism grant. The rest will come from Sevier and Blount counties.
"The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America's most visited national park, and for the Smokies and the people around it, the month of October is the most important time of the year," Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in a release. "I remain hopeful that an end to the federal government shutdown will come this week."
North Carolina's share is coming from tourism advertising dollars, Gov. Pat McCrory said.
"Many North Carolina communities depend on tourism generated by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park," McCrory said in a release. "It's critical that we get the gates reopened during the fall season."
McCrory said he's exploring options to open other national parks in his state.