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Strong August keep Smokies visits up

Associated Press Published: September 21, 2012

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — A half-million more people visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park through August than during the first eight months of 2011.

The National Park Service reported year-to-date tourist visits are up 8.8 percent over last year.

Mild late summer weather resulted in a strong August, during which 1,052,790 people came to the 500,000-acre park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. The monthly figure was 5 percent above August 2011.

Park spokeswoman Molly Schroer said the year-to-date figure is about 3.4 percent above the five-year average attendance in the Smokies.