Despite the government shutdown, the states of Tennessee and North Carolina have come together to temporarily reopen Great Smoky Mountains National Park. America's most visited National Park will be open from Wednesday, October 16, 2013 through Sunday, October 20, 2013. State and local officials cited economic reasons for reopening the park, as the communities surrounding the park rely on tourism and the government shutdown has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars. Workers have lost millions in wages as well.
This particular National Park is in a unique position compared to the other national parks across the country that have been able to reopen with funding from their state governments. Unlike parks solely located within one state, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. This means that reopening the whole park requires cooperation from two state governments in a time when government cooperation of any kind is rare. According to the Ashevilla Citizen-Times, North Carolina will be spending $75,000 and Tennessee (plus 2 counties) will front $305,000.
While the reopening of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is temporary, it comes during a usually busy fall season. Autumn is a beautiful time of year in the Smoky Mountains and from mid- to late-October the park is full of people traveling to see the fall colors. At this time, the color is starting to appear in the higher elevations of the park and will steadily move down the mountains into the lower valleys and coves.