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Bike trails included among proposed Smokies projects

Planning is underway to address visitor access, safety, transportation and recreation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and public feedback is requested to help park officials make those decisions. 

The projects involved are: 

  • Wears Valley Mountain Bike Trail and Metcalf Bottoms Access Improvements Feasibility Study. These two separate projects are being considered together, and would include the possibility of developing a mountain bike trail network along the Foothills Parkway — if approved, this would be the first location in the park to allow mountain biking. In addition, a range of options would be analyzed to address deficiencies on Wear Cove Gap Road and to improve traffic flow from the planned Foothills Parkway Section 8D in Wears Valley to Little River Gorge Road in Metcalf Bottoms. 
  • Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Spur Safety Improvements Planning. A July 2019 study of the Spur indicated a need to address safety issues, traffic congestion and planning for future improvements. Several improvement concepts are being considered to improve intersections and widen corridors. 
  • Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Spur Greenway Feasibility Study. In the same study area as the Spur Safety Improvements, the Spur Greenway project will explore the feasibility of a multi-use (pedestrian and bicycle) trail between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to connect with existing and future greenways within these gateway communities. The project aims to encourage visitors to be active and enjoy the park outside of their vehicles. 

Public comment is open through May 22. After considering the input received, the park will develop a range of concepts and preliminary alternatives for each project and determine whether a formal National Environmental Policy Act process is needed. The NEPA process would include more opportunities for public comment. 

Learn more or submit comments at Comments can also be mailed to Transportation and Recreation Planning Projects, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 107 Park Headquarters Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

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