RALEIGH (AP) - The governors of Tennessee and North Carolina are working together to reopen the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for five days during the busy fall tourism season.
Like other national parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been closed because of the partial federal government shutdown.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that his state has sent more than $300,000 to the National Park Service to open the park, which straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said his state will contribute $75,000 to keep the park open Wednesday through Sunday.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the country's most visited national park with 9.6 million visitors in 2012.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The closure of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has sparked a call for a protest.
Appalachian artist Jeremiah Spelas told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he is organizing a protest on Saturday at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance sign on Newfound Gap Road. He says its aim is to express discontent about the closure and raise awareness about businesses and residents affected by it.
He stressed that illegal activities, such as trespassing, should not be part of the protest.
October is one of the busiest times of the year for the park, which was closed during the partial government shutdown.
Park officials say the Smokies average about 1.1 million visitors in October.
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