Popular Motor Route in Smokies to Keep Backwoods Character

Gatlinburg, Tenn. (AP) -- A yellow sign at the entrance to popular Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park carries a message, "very narrow, crooked, one-way road."

Outdoors enthusiasts don't see that as a warning, but an invitation, even those who want to see the country's most visited national park without leaving their car.

A nearly $10 million improvement project is being planned for a nine-mile scenic route that begins and ends in Gatlinburg. The Woodland Loop links Cherokee Orchard Road, which is open year-round, and the roaring fork trail, which closes in winter.

The 3.7 mile Cherokee Orchard Road carries about 122,000 vehicles a year, while the 5.3 mile Roaring Fork Trail attracts about 83,000 annually. At peak periods, more than 100 vehicles per hour use Cherokee Orchard and 58 per hour use Roaring Fork.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated press. All rights reserved.


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