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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Great Smoky Mountains visitor centers & other operations close to prevent the spread of COVID-19

While three of the visitor centers are closing the campgrounds, trails, and restroom facilities surrounding those centers will remain open.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — The Great Smoky Mountains are taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a press release from the Great Smoky Mountains Association and a spokesperson with the park.

Sugarlands, Oconaluftee, and Cades Cove Visitor Centers are closed until further notice, Great Smoky Mountain National Park officials announced on Tuesday.

The Great Smoky Mountains Association also announced that it would stop its bookstore, orientation shelter and historical operations in visitor centers around the park. Products from the association will still be available online.

Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health in consultation with NPS Public Health Service officers, these facilities are closed for the safety of staff and visitors.

Information assistance will still be available at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center and Swain County Visitor Center.

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A spokesperson with the park said seasonally open park campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, trails and restroom facilities located adjacent to the visitor's center remain open.

Starting Thursday, though, they will no longer accept campground fees on site. All campers must reserve and pay for sites online at recreation.gov to minimize the exposure risk for park employees and visitors.

They will also stop accepting reservation for gatherings at the following park facilities through April 30: Appalachian Clubhouse, Spence Cabin, Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church, Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church, Cades Cove Methodist Church, and Smokemont Baptist Church. 

All requests for reservation cancellations for campgrounds, picnic pavilions, churches, and Special Park Use permits will be honored with a full refund without cancellation penalties.

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