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Great Smoky Visitors Can Now Check Road Conditions Digitally

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park may now sign up to
receive status updates about the park’s most frequently used roads via
text message or on Twitter. In the past, travelers had to place phone
calls to the Park to determine the status of the roads, which can change
frequently with changing weather conditions.

The Park’s recorded information line receives more than 1,000
calls per day during the severe winter weather from people inquiring
about road conditions. When all of the incoming lines are in-use, the
calls rollover to the park’s Communications Center staff, often
resulting in more than 600 calls to be answered, hampering the staff
from responding to calls requesting park information and emergency

Those who wish to be notified of the status of the Park’s four
most popular roads – Newfound Gap (U.S. 441), Little River Road, Laurel
Creek Road, and Cades Cove Loop Road – can opt to get text messages to
their cell phones by texting follow smokiesroadsnps to 40404. To stop
receiving the text message alerts, text stop smokiesroadsnps to the same
number. Standard text rates will apply.

The public can get that same information via the Internet by going to: twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps
to read recent road notification postings. This is a Twitter website
maintained by the park, but anybody can access it at any time, without
having to establish a Twitter account.

Anyone having a Twitter account can go an extra step and choose to
have updates set to them by going to the site listed above and clicking
the “follow” button to see the updates on their own account page and
receive the notifications in the manner they specify. In addition to
notifications of winter road conditions, park officials plan to notify
travelers throughout the year of road openings and closings due to rock
slides, fallen trees, and accidents. Anytime the status of one of the
listed roads changes, a message will be sent.

As the National Park Service prepares for its 2016 centennial
celebration, officials are increasingly utilizing technology to connect
the American people to their national parks.

For more information about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for a link to the Twitter site, go to www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm.
Information on all of the roads in the Park as well as other Park
information may be obtained by calling the park’s information line at
(865) 436-1200 and following the prompts.

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