It might have been the weather, the doldrums of the economy, or the fact that Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 75th anniversary is two years gone. Whatever the cause, visitation to the park continues to slide.
Entries into the park were down by 2.5 percent for November 2011 as compared to November 2010. Visits year-to-date for calendar year 2011 are also off, by 6.4 percent, versus January through November of 2010. The Park counted 8,537,228 visits so far this year, compared with with 9,121,026 in 2010.
All three of the Park's major entrances saw a decline for this November: Gatlinburg was off 6.4 percent, Townsend down 1.6 percent, and Cherokee slid 2.5 percent.
There were no obvious anomolies like road work or bad weather that would account for the decline, say park officials.