BREAKING Blount mayor asks if county can reopen Smokies to tourists
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell is asking the federal government if the county could take financial responsibility to reopen Great Smoky Mountains National Park to tourist traffic.
Mitchell has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell asking if the county could pay for employees to keep Cades Cove and the Foothills Parkway open or if it could provide security, emergency services and supervision to allow the areas of the Park in Blount County to be open for tourism.
“I have asked Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to allow Blount County to enter into an agreement that would allow the park to stay open for the traffic at no cost to the federal government,” he said. “I would hope they would consider this matter as seriously as we do and respond quickly and favorably.”
There were no estimates of how much it would cost the county to provide those services. “This is a burden we can bear for the benefit,” Mitchell said.
There has been no response to the request, which was emailed to the Department of the Interior on Thursday. A spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Check back here for more details or read Saturday’s print edition of The Daily Times.