National Park Service Logo
PEPC Planning, Environment & Public Comment
PEPC Home Documents by Park Policy/Links Park Planning Search Documents
Cades Cove Loop Road during traffic congestion caused by wildlife viewing in August 2020.

Visitor Experience Stewardship Engagement

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials invite the public to participate in a survey and a virtual workshop that will focus on Visitor Experience Stewardship. The park seeks to gain input from the public about their ideal experiences in the park as well as their ideas for how access and experiences could be improved.

The public will have four opportunities to attend facilitator-led, workshops online with park managers on the following dates: Monday, October 19 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Tuesday, October 20 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.; Thursday, October 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; or Thursday, October 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Participants can register for a workshop until October 14th by completing this online form: https://tinyurl.com/grsmves.

The survey will be open from October 8th, 2020 to October 31st, 2020. The survey along with the workshops make up the current civic engagement on Visitor Experience Stewardship in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Through the workshops, participants will learn about the current state of park visitation and be introduced to congestion management strategies used on public lands across the world. Participants will be asked to provide input on the following places in the park: Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Deep Creek, Big Creek, Rainbow Falls Trail, Trillium Gap Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Chimney Tops Trail, and Laurel Falls Trail. In small online groups, participants will be asked to provide input on how the park might improve visitor experiences and alleviate congestion at these busy destinations. These areas have been chosen because they are typically the most congested areas in the park.

The feedback the park receives during civic engagement (both survey responses and workshop participation) will be summarized in a report which will serve as the basis for a high-level feasibility analysis. During this analysis, park staff will assess the solutions that are proposed for each area. Some of the solutions will be selected to pilot as soon as 2021. Other solutions that require deeper planning effort will be considered as well but will take longer to implement.

The following maps and resources may be helpful for you as you think through the questions listed below.
(1) Visitor Experience Stewardship Information: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/management/ves.htm
(2) Park Map: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/grsmmap2-2.pdf
(3) Trail Map: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/GSMNP-Map_JULY19-4.pdf
(4) Campground Information: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/frontcountry-camping.htm

Please answer the following questions. Please provide feedback on sites you are familiar with. You may skip as many questions as you like. The last two questions allow you to provide feedback on sites we have not addressed in any of the other questions.
 
Comment Period: Closed        10/08/2020 - 10/31/2020
Topic Questions Instructions:
Please provide the site(s) or area(s).
Topic Questions:
1. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in Cades Cove Loop Road/Destinations & Cades Cove Day Use Area (campground parking, picnic area, orientation shelter area, horse stables parking, and campground store area)?
2. Do you have any suggestions for how the park can reduce congestion in Cades Cove Loop Road/Destinations & Cades Cove Day Use Area (campground parking, picnic area, orientation shelter area, horse stables parking, and campground store area) to improve the experience of visitors?
3. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in Laurel Falls Trail (trail use, trailhead parking)?
4. Do you have any suggestions for how the park can reduce congestion in Laurel Falls Trail (trail use, trailhead parking) to improve the experience of visitors?
5. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in Clingmans Dome Day Use Area (trail use, trailhead parking, restrooms, observation tower)?
6. Do you have any suggestions for how the park can reduce congestion in Clingmans Dome Day Use Area (trail use, trailhead parking, restrooms, observation tower) to improve the experience of visitors?
7. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in Alum Cave Trail and Chimney Tops Trail (trail use, restrooms, trailhead parking)?
8. Do you have any suggestions for how the park can reduce congestion in Alum Cave Trail and Chimney Tops Trail (trail use, restrooms, trailhead parking) to improve the experience of visitors?
9. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in Rainbow Falls Trail and Trillium Gap Trail (trail use, trailhead parking, restrooms)?
10. Do you have any suggestions for how the park can reduce congestion in Rainbow Falls Trail and Trillium Gap Trail (trail use, trailhead parking, restrooms)?
11. Do you have any suggestions for how the park can reduce congestion in Deep Creek Day Use Area (Deep Creek Trail, trailhead parking, picnic area)?
12. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in Deep Creek Day Use Area (Deep Creek Trail, trailhead parking, picnic area)?
13. Do you have any suggestions for how the park can reduce congestion in Big Creek Day Use Area (Big Creek Trail (midnight hole), trailhead parking, horse camp, campground, picnic area)?
14. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in Big Creek Day Use Area (Big Creek Trail (midnight hole), trailhead parking, horse camp, campground, picnic area)?
15. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in another location in the park?
16. How would you describe the optimal experience for visitors in the location you described in the previous question?
Document Content:
NPS Congestion Management ToolkitNPS Congestion Management Toolkit   (9.1 MB, PDF file)
VisitorExperienceStewardshipVideo.mp4VisitorExperienceStewardshipVideo.mp4   (66.8 MB, .mp4 file)
Disclaimer: Links within the above document(s) were valid as of the date published.
Note:Some of the files may be in PDF format and can be viewed using the Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
You may download a free copy of Acrobat Reader from Adobe Systems.