Ticket, please: Smokies to explore paid parking, shuttle service as crowd control tools

As visitor use in the already-crowded  Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues to climb, for the first time ever the park will try out paid trailhead reservations as a potential answer to overcrowding. 

Let’s talk about all the visitors

In the middle of the tourism season, is there any way to politely state the obvious: this region is being overrun by visitors.

Smokies, Parkway spared drop in park visitor spending

Visitor spending in national park communities during 2020 was just over two-thirds the amount spent in 2019, but parks in Western North Carolina were spared that drop, according to a new report from the National Park Service. Together, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway accounted for more than 10% of visits to national park units in 2020. 

Living in bearadise: Encounters highlight need for human responsibility in bear country

After flying into town and renting a car for their Memorial Day Weekend visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, three adults visited Cades Cove on Saturday, May 29. 

Made by mountains: Regional brand aims to drive entrepreneurship, stewardship in WNC’s outdoor economy

The outdoor industry has for years been on an upward trajectory in Western North Carolina, and a regional branding campaign unveiled May 18 aims to boost it even further. 

Town of Canton joins municipal TDA bill

A week after Haywood County Republican Rep. Mark Pless’ municipal TDA bill came out of committee wholly rewritten to include only the town of Maggie Valley, a third version has emerged and passed the House with an additional town listed. 

Canton, Waynesville to consider room tax increases

A tax bill sponsored by two western Republicans that’s currently making its way through the North Carolina General Assembly has the potential to bring even more room occupancy tax money to the town of Maggie Valley, but as other municipalities across the county and the region consider asking for potential inclusion in the bill, there’s concern over implementation and administration. 

Bryson City removed from room tax legislation

The Town of Bryson City has been removed from a piece of state legislation that would have allowed the town to levy its own occupancy tax and establish its own tourism development governing board.

No plans for town room tax in Sylva

While Sylva’s leaders have considered the idea of a town occupancy tax a couple times over the years, so far they’ve always walked away from the discussion deciding that it wouldn’t be the right move for the small town of 2,700.

Maggie Valley occupancy tax on the horizon

Maggie Valley may have the opportunity to create its own Tourism Development Authority for the purpose of promoting tourism in the town if House Bill 412 becomes law. Both the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen have expressed support for the idea. 

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