Is this a time limit on nature? I’m not quite sure but I’m glad I just paid a free visit. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has revealed a controversial pilot project to charge visitors $14 to park near Laurel Falls. This is one of the park’s most popular attractions.
This new action is a part of the National Park Service says the “congestion management project” and will operate September 7 through October 3rd, 2021. This is one of the busiest times in the 522,427-acre park. “During the pilot project, the trailhead parking will be provided by reservation only and no parking will be permitted in undesignated areas along Little River Road,” NPS officials said in a news release.
The plan quickly drew condemnation on social media, with some calling $14 exorbitant for a national park. Others called the two-hour window a “time limit on nature” that punishes hikers if they “stop along the way to enjoy the scenery and to have fun.” Just a few weeks ago my self and my significant other went and hiked Laurel Falls. It wasn’t crowded at all, however, we did go on a rainy day. You can see photos from our trip below.