Great Smoky Mountains National Park sees record visitation

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circa 1950: A view from a highway across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park saw a record number of visitors in 2018.

According to the park, more than 11.4 million people visited last year, an increase of a little less than 1 percent from the previous year.

Park officials attribute the increase to the completion of a new section of the Foothills Parkway in November that opened new vistas to park visitors. The Smokies saw record visitation in the last two months of the year.

Park Superintendent Cassius Cash said in a news release that the new section of the Foothills Parkway “is a spectacular scenic driving destination.” Nearly 200,000 people visited it in November and December. Cash said he hopes “people take the time to explore it across the seasons.”

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