Sevier County Mayor says he's working to get park open

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters says he's working to get the Great Smoky Mountains National Park open quickly.

In a statement released Friday, Mayor Waters said:

We in Sevier County have been working to expedite the opening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is vital to the economic health of our county, with millions of people visiting it each year. I, along with the mayors of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Pittman Center and Sevierville, sent a letter this week to our Senators and Representatives in Washington, D.C. explaining the urgency of opening the park due to the negative economic impact that our county would sustain if the shutdown is prolonged.

According to the U. S. Department of the Interior press release from Thursday, Oct. 10, “Secretary Jewell will consider agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states.” Today, my office has been communicating with the staffs of Governor Haslam, Senator Alexander, the National Park Service, Blount County Mayor Mitchell and the city mayors within Sevier County, to work on a plan to open the park as soon as possible. It is our hope that Congress acts quickly to end this government shutdown so that we will not sustain any further economic damage.

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