Due to a five percent budget reduction, the 2013 season will see the Great Smoky Mountains National Park close three campgrounds, two picnic areas, one horse camp, and selected access roads.
Facilities that will be closed are: the Look Rock Campground and picnic area, the Abrams Creek Campground and the Balsam Mountain Campground and Picnic area (including the Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain Roads) and the Tow String Horse Camp.
In addition to the closing of the Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain road closures, the Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road will open April 1; Parsons Branch and Rich Mountains Road will open on April 5 and the Roaring Fork Nature Trail and Little Greenbrier will open on April 1.
“We regret this will cause inconvenience to park visitors,” stated Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson, “especially those who have enjoyed these more remote areas of the Smokies year after year. We have focused our workforce to maximize the utilization of facilities throughout the remainder of the park in order to serve and provide recreational opportunities for our millions of park visitors.”