View Full Version : Cades Cove: Creative Solutions!

01-31-2008, 12:35 AM
I'm no civil engineer but I can think of one alternative to the proposed Cades Cove tram system currently being investigated. Thus, I thought starting a "brain storming" thread on this subject to hear any other ideas you folks can propose might be interesting. I'll start off by thorwing mine out there for all the world to na or ya! Please feel free to love or hate it as you wish.

The issues at hand with Cades Cove seem to be several. Automotive emissions, "bear james" /any human & wildlife interaction seem to be two big issues. I suppose a tram system would definetly help on that level but what of a system which would allow people a less restricted access to Cades Cove, particularly one that allows folks to enjoy the cove much the same way as they do now but not requireing people to ride in a bus that runs on a set schedule, & requires me to ride and deal with folks I don't have to deal with in my car, could be devised and could generate revenue to not only pay for itself but help fund other things badly needed in the park such as rangers. Any proposed solution also has to coincide with those original missions of GSM and Cades Cove which was to preserve things via minimal impact as they where ages ago. Putting it simply this is a tough one!

The idea: Limiting automobile access, inside the cove only, and then to provide an alternate form of readily available electric vehicles, I'm not talking about George Jettson stuff, but something simple similar to golf carts. Small semi-personal vehicles such as this are quiet, pollution free, and not difficult to maintain and provide folks of a vast age group access to the cove ala cart much as it is now. This could solve the traffic jams as well. Smaller vehicles would make it simpler to create added # of pull offs on the already preexisting road with out having to widen and destroy land and thus allowing say the entire left side of the road for through traffic. You could effectivly split the preexisting road in half and, theoreticaly should never have problems moving traffic. Of course you fellas are all thinking, great but where do we put all of those parked cars. That ones going to require construction. I'm talking verticle on this one, the dreaded & typicaly ugly parking garage! But it makes sense when you realize that it has a smaller foot print and has the lowest impact. Alternatives to a garage would require some sort of joint effort between U.S. parks association and the good folks of the Townsend /Blount County area to develope a place with in reasonable distance of Cades Cove to temporarily leave automobiles & jump into their electeric jeeps. Access to the cove and gsm itself would still be free but a hopefully nominal fee would be assessed to use the cart itself. You would be allowed to keep the cart in the cove as long as you wish. Thus a mode of transportation would be available to me when I fish Abrams and I'm not going to have to worry about catching a bus to ride out of the cove! I'd say it's a much larger # of people who will be doing what they do now in their cars which is spend maybe an hour or two in the cove then leave and thus an adequate number of carts "should" be available most any given time.

Drawback: This thing would cost alot more then a few of those dang trams which you could board in Gatlinburg, Townsend, Pigeon Forge and making the where to put the cars issue less of an issue.

Honestly: I'm for leaving it the way it is!!

Hope to hear some neat ideas from you guys.

01-31-2008, 11:53 AM
Chad, Thanks for starting a thread on this topic.

I like the idea of charging an entrance fee to the park to help fund some improvement projects. It could be daily, weekly and/or yearly. I know there was an agreement to keep the park free to all, but that agreement was made in a different age, for different times. I don't think the original founders of the park thought for a minute that there would be the pollution and traffic problems that we see today. Besides, if there are descendants of original land owners still running around (there are) give them lifetime passes, so that they never have to pay. They could hand the passes down form generation to generation, so we wouldn't go back against the original land owners (although there is lots of precedents for doing that in the past, as well....

As for Cades Cove, I think the best think to do would be what they have done in Acadia National Park in Maine. Pave two lanes around the park, with stopping only permitted in the left lane (if I remember correctly). You will get a costly ticket if you park in the right lane. This doesn't eliminate all congestion, but it sure reduces it. And also include a few pullouts with a few more parking spaces in the major sightseeing areas. Acadia only charges a fee for the main loop rd (like Cades Cove), so the rest of the park is free. The same could be applied to the Smokies. A weekly pass to the Acadia Park Loop Rd was $20/week or $50/year. It would cut down on traffic and bring in some much needed revenues if they did the same thing here.

According the planning document at: http://www.cadescoveplanning.com/pp_alter.htm, the planning commission does not believe that its feasible to build a two lane road through the park:

Q. Why don't you just make the existing road into a 2-way roadway as it used to be many years ago?
A. Historically, the Loop Road was a single lane road used for two-way traffic by Cove residents. With the opening of Laurel Creek Road in 1950, and easier access to Cades Cove, one-way traffic was initiated to accommodate increased traffic. Today, the Loop Road continues to follow the route residents of Cades Cove used historically with the curves and narrow roadway being an integral part of the visitor experience. The Loop Road cannot be widened to accommodate two lanes of traffic without changing how the visitor experiences and understands the history of the Cove. The two-lane option was considered but rejected because this option would compromise the historic integrity of the roadway and roadside resources.

If that is truly the case, then those areas that could support 2 lanes could be widened and the rest remains the same. Surely a dozen passing areas would help with congestion. I'm not sure I buy the "historic integrity" angle on the road in its current configuration. But that is for others to decide, I guess.

I also think that interaction with wildlife should be more closely monitored and discouraged. The park shouldn't be looked at as a petting zoo, it spoils the intent of the park to have people in too close a proximity of the wildlife. By having an entrance fee to Cades Cove, you could pay for more rangers and more enforcement.

My $.02

Jack M.
01-31-2008, 03:21 PM
As an infrequent visitor entering and leaving the Cove just to get to the creek, I would like to see these measures taken to enhance my park experience:

1. If you are on the road you must drive 20 mph. If you wish to go slower, you must pull over and let every single car behind you pass;

2. Failure to obey the above rule results in a $300 fine.

Rog 1
01-31-2008, 04:11 PM
As long as I have been coming to the Park there has always been a traffic jam in the Cove as well as anywhere else the wildlife decides to make itself visible from a road....while I know the car traffic adds to the pollution my understanding that the bigger problem is the coal fired generators producing electicity in the region....just keeping car traffic out of the cove or cutting back on the number of cars allowed into the park will not put a dent into the air quality problem since the park is surrounded by gamblers, Dollywood and generating stations.....

01-31-2008, 07:06 PM
I'm with Jack. People just need to pull over if they are gawking. You're supposed to anyway, but last time I was there, I only saw one sign near the beginning saying so. It would be cheap to add more signs and perhaps a few more turnouts.

01-31-2008, 07:54 PM
As a decendent of Russel Gregory I dont think a fee to get in the park or cades cove is fair. Yeah traffic jams are a Headache but an eco friendly tram system and some serious public awareness/education or what ever you want to call it would go a long way. Stiff traffic enforcement and a few new rules would help also. But I side with Rog1 on the traffic. With GSMNP being the most visited and to some extent the most endangered NP you would think there would be some govt grants available to help w/ the expense of the trams. It cost something like $30 to see the Grand Canyon I just dont think its ethical to charge tax paying americans to see what is theirs.

01-31-2008, 08:16 PM
well, i am for leaving it the way it is.....all ecological or environmentally sensible.......plus i don't want townsend to be a "parking lot"......not to mention the graft and corruption associated with any political "solution".

01-31-2008, 11:11 PM
I'm OK with the tram rather than sitting in traffic. While I would never act on my frustration, I must admit getting through that loop brings out a side of me I'm not proud of.

But, before buying a bunch of trams I would like to see a volunteer or a temp GS-5 put at the gate during heavy traffic. They could pass out info, strongly encourage people to use pull-offs, and point out the donation box. I've never made a donation for fear that the person that goes past me as I donate will be the slowest person in history.

If the decision comes down to an eco friendly tram or sitting in traffic, give me the tram! I know its not the politically correct thing to say, but I hate that traffic. Please allow me to have that opinion and spare me the whole take in the scenery stuff... I too believe that Cades Cove is beautiful. I'd just rather see it at a steady 20mph. Thanks!


02-01-2008, 01:49 AM
Thanks for all the great feed back! You guys make some sound points!

Honestly, I'd rather not see Cades Cove get a garage or any part of my beautiful Townsend get paved much more then whats currently in existance. I've got a sneaky suspicion that handeling traffic and parking issues is probably going to be a key issue for Townsends smart growth future regardless of what will or will not develope there or how. The place is going to be effected enormously by the less then smart growth that has already occurred and can continue to in those counties that surround it. Also, you can bank on huge #'s of folks moving to East Tennessee from all directions. One lrg. population will be retirees'. Alot of folks can't afford to retiree up North and Florida's not looking as attractive as it used to. States such as Tennessee with no state income tax are going to start to pull a premium & have already.

I'm leaning towards keeping the park free but I would be currious if any one might be able to come up with a good means of continus fundings to do things which aids the pre-existing regulations? Volunteers are great when you can get em but my experience is that they can be only so effective & reliable. I'm thinking something more permenant with a bit more bite. Park rangers aren't exacly easy to come by and I suppose the funds to get more of them aren't easy to come by either though I think that would solve some of the problems aside from the sheer #'s of people that will be visiting GSMNP & Cades Cove in the not so near but not to distant future. It's already the most visited national park in the country and I'd be currious to know if it has similar # of rangers as other parks such as those out west?

Thanks again for the input! Thought all the responses where very good!


02-01-2008, 07:21 AM
My $0.02:

I feel adding an entrance fee would help the Smokies two fold 1.) it would keep the riff-raff and through traffic out 2.) it would generate much needed cash flow.

It's not rocket science: put up a booth, collect a toll. Take the cash from the toll and invest it into the park. :eek:

From Yellowstone's website:

http://www.nps.gov/imr/templates/images/graphics/spacer.gif The entrance fee is $25 for a private, noncommercial vehicle; $20 for each snowmobile or motorcycle; or $12 for each visitor 16 and older entering by foot, bike, ski, etc. This fee provides the visitor with a 7-day entrance permit for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Remember to keep your admission receipt in order to re-enter the parks. Snowmobile operators must possess a valid motor vehicle operator's license.

From Glacier's website: (rates go up in the summer)

7-Day Automobile/Vehicle Permit
Winter Rate - $15.00 November 1, 2007 - April 30, 2008
Entrance fee for all persons traveling in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle (car/truck/van). Non-transferable.

7-Day Single Entry Permit
Winter Rate - $10.00 November 1, 2007 - April 30, 2008
Per person entrance fee for a visitor traveling on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or for individuals traveling together in a vehicle as a non-commercial, organized group. Non-transferable.

Both parks offer very reasonable "Season Passes" that allow access to the park. If I were a serious Smokies fisherman (which I'm not, but if I were..), I wouldn't have a problem paying $30-$50 per year to support the park that I love.

02-01-2008, 09:39 AM
Don't get me wrong, I am all for an entrance fee for the park as well as a tram for Cades Cove, however, I don't think there'll be an entrance fee since the government made a promise to the people that were kicked off their land when the park was formed that they wouldn't have to pay to enter. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they also included their relatives.

As for the tram, I think they could put a parking lot in Townsend and have it not look too bad. It can't look any worse than the Port-A-Pot business that's located as soon as you enter from Maryville. Maybe plant some shubs along the road and keep it clean. A logistical problem that they would be faced with is the fact that when you have a large group of people congregated in an area, like in a parking lot, you have to supply restrooms. There is no sewer in Townsend. Which is a double edged sword in itself. On one side, with a sewer, you've got a cleaner watershed. On the other side, once they get a sewer, it will become a Pigeon Forge.

Just some things to think about.

02-01-2008, 10:26 AM
I don't know, I'm thinking that adding a big ticket season park pass is adding too much on the locals who already pay too much in my opinion for a license and trout stamp (granted you don't need a stamp for the park) I love the park, its my home waters, but I pay my dues and my support in other ways...and again, I love 'em, but this isn't the caliber of Yellowstone or Glacier as far as fish are concerned...granted Glacier has similar poor nutrient streams character in much of it as we do.
I think a couple of dollar per car "toll" into the cove is a good start...you figure 9+ million people visit this park, a portion of that go to the Cove, there is revenue there to collect,create,and bring in the law enforcement needed of the larger and stiffer fines which combined could lead to the creation of the inside 20 mph no stop loop...I'm all for historical preservation, but I think exposing more people to history(yes its a double edge sword, but then you would have revenue now to deal with that) could potentially bring more awareness if people have a better experience and then more apt to pledge support for it.

Or, forget the loop - just create us fisherman a direct HOV lane to the Abrams Trailhead :p

As far as man vs nature, well hopefully with generated revenue there would be better law enforement - but hey as far as I'm concerened, a bear's gotta eat...;)

02-01-2008, 10:36 AM
the government made a promise to the people that were kicked off their land when the park was formed that they wouldn't have to pay to enter.

I think that a provision could be made to allow the relatives of past residents into the Cove for free. In fact, that should be a major part of any proposed entrance . But, I think a fee is necessary. In Acadia NP in Maine, they have a one-way loop road that is $20/wk and there are Park Rangers everywhere. I've seen more Park Rangers on one trip on their loop road, than I have in the Smokies on 12 years.

I know a lot of folks feel that they are already paying for the park in their taxes, and to some extent they are. But to preserve the park for our future generations we need to increase the funding now, and I think use/entrance fees would be a more equitable way of doing it. If you use it, you should pay more.

Buzz, I completely agree with you on the sewer situation. Keep the sewers out and keep Pandoras box closed...

02-01-2008, 11:10 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm for an entrance fee to the park. I know that since I'm not a TN or NC resident, my opinion may not hold any weight, but maybe if you were a resident you'd get a 50% discount on the fee? As for the descendants of people that used to live in the park, I don't think it would be that difficult to have an application process for them to get life time park entrance ID cards, that they could in fact hand down to their children.

Yes there were promises made, but its like the constitution. It had to evolve eventually, due to unforseen circumstances. I would *gladly* pay 25-35$ to visit for 7 days. I also wouldnt mind paying a small fee for the ability to drive my car around the Cades loop; $5 sounds fair enough. This way people might use the Bus, but not feel like they were forced to pay some crazy amount if they didnt want to.

You could also make the yearly fee for TN / NC residents like 35-45$ and at the same same time lower the yearly fishing license fee for said residents. Although I would keep all license fees for non-residents the same as the are now, maybe $5 cheaper since we'd be paying the park entrance fee.

I think that the fee is the only solution, otherwise everything will stay the way it is. Honestly I don't think those buses will help all that much, since most people drive to the cove, what incentive do they have to use the tram(s)? Now the few people that actually use the bus, will be stuck in them rather than their own vehicles during jams. Of course the trams are eco-friendly, but I know I'd rather be stuck in my own car, than on a bus.

There's no way they'll put up a garage, or widen the road to two lanes. Its just not possible (I think) without cutting down some tress, and I don't think they want to do that. Fees will not hurt the park in my opinion. They would only help improve the quality of the time everyone spends in the park, and at the same time protect & preserve it for generations to come.

02-01-2008, 11:48 AM
Honestly I don't think those buses will help all that much, since most people drive to the cove, what incentive do they have to use the tram(s)? Now the few people that actually use the bus, will be stuck in them rather than their own vehicles during jams. Of course the trams are eco-friendly, but I know I'd rather be stuck in my own car, than on a bus.

This is the reason why I don't feel Alternative 4 will work, I feel the tram needs to be an all or nothing deal, Alternative 5. If I was going to Cades Cove and was offered the chance to drive around it instead of taking a bus and possibly being stuck next to someones crying child, I will drive, even if I have to make a reservation. Then, as soon as a bear/deer/sqirrell runs out in front of me, I'm throwing the car in park where it is, and running out to take a picture of it (i'm actually not doing this, but others will).

As for the fee, I'm still for it, however I think there are too many people, who are descendants from Cades Cove, with political clout for it to happen, IMO.

02-02-2008, 11:52 AM
I think we need a $400 tube permit. (An extra $100 if the tube is pink). :)

Byron Begley
02-02-2008, 12:55 PM
Here is something we are working on right now. The Cades Cove road is in need of replacement. The repair requires that the surface be removed and repairs made to the base before the new asphalt is laid down. There is money in the budget to do this in 2009. I talked to Bob Miller about it when we took the Hybrid Bus ride. Even though the money is in the 09 budget it still doesn't mean it will happen.

(I'm wearing my Tourism and Travel hat right now.)

Shutting down the Cove during the summer to do this would cause a significant slowdown in the tourist business. Much of my volunteer work deals with tourism and planning for our area so I can't help but look out for the people who are friends and neighbors living here who make their living based partially on tourists being able to visit Cades Cove. Would it hurt our business? Probably not at all.

We are planning to meet with the Park Management and hopefully work out a plan where this work can be done at night or somehow keep the road open during construction. That would cost more money. Maybe we can help raise the difference.

Some of the Park's options include building a welcome center or station at the beginning of the loop road. 2009 would probably be a good year to do that. Also, during the road re-construction adding more pull-offs would be easier and less expensive to do. You have all of that equipment and personnel there so do it then.

I think every person who enters the cove should confront a ranger, take a printed sheet that says you can do this or you can't do that and maybe the traffic problem would ease.


02-02-2008, 03:51 PM
It is a complex problem and one to which I do not believe there is an easy answer or a single answer. There is a balance between public use and preserving the nature. In theory, the National Parks belong to each citizen of the United States as public land. That said, as citizens, we have a right to use and visit our land. However, it takes money to maintain facilities and enforce regulations that make it possible for all to enjoy "their" land.

Knowing how road improvement projects go, it will take a number of years to fix the road and while that is going on, the astetic pleasure of the cove will be destroyed. It will be mud, bulldozers, dump trucks, concrete mixers, graders, jack hammers, noise, dust and monumental traffic jams. The best approach would probably be to close the cove during construction. There's probably no way to do this with zero impact on wildlife and on the ecology of the cove.

The road to the cove will become more dangerous as well with large trucks hauling materials to and waste from the construction project. Face it, replacing the road is going to create a mess and there's no logical way to avoid it.

Charging a fee to enter the park is not going to reduce the number of people who visit unless that fee becomes punative. A fee that would discourage visitation is counter to the purpose of the public land school of thought. A fee may help fund some of the park facilities and law enforcement, but it cannot be made high enough to discourage park visitation.

So, it's a complex problem and one that, unfortunately, has to be made by politicians who depend on their living by being elected through popular vote. By very definition, they are not going to make decisions that are widely unpoplar.

I am not smart enough to know the answers. I'm just a fisherman and "computer guy" who goes to the office every day to try and feed his family and have enough left over to buy fishing stuff (and guitars). I donot envy the folks who must make the tough choices to fix this problem. My prayers are with them as they evaluate the options.


02-02-2008, 04:26 PM
I am completely in favor of an entrance fee to enter the park. The purpose of the fee is not to reduce the number of tourists but to have the necessary funds to manage the park properly. I would love to see more rangers hired to keep the littering and various other activities under control. Tell me something, is it some sort of tradition for people to leave their underwear hanging in the trees along the streamside. The last 3 trips I have made to the park I found multiple pairs of underwear up in the limbs a good 6 or 7 feet above ground. I still have lots of national parks to visit, having only visited 3. However, the 2 other than the Smokies have charged an entrance fee of greater than $10/vehicle. I am going to the Grand Canyon in March, and guess what they also charge a vehicle entrance fee of $25 per vehicle. I feel that charging a fee somewhere around $12/vehicle is completely reasonable to protect and maintain our beloved park.

The air quality is another issue altogether. Would the eco-friendly vehicles help, yes, but their impact will be minimal. The regions coal fired power plants are a major contributor, but they are meeting their emission limits set forth by the EPA.


Brian Griffing
02-02-2008, 05:04 PM
Got it. This one's easy. There are two ways to solve this dilemna.
Solution #1: Post the rules on a large stone tablet at the entrance to the Cove, just like the Ten Commandments or the Code of Hammurabi. They would have such simple laws as "1. Don't feed, get close to, chase, yell at, or otherwise annoy the wildlife. 2. Don't stop in the middle of the road. 3. Anyone found in violation of the rules will be subject to mob justice. 4. All those who are 'corrected' by the mob, will have all money and valuables placed into the donation box."
Solution #2: Close, barricade and tear up every road leading into the park and erect a sign that reads "Beyond this sign is wilderness. Enter at your own risk."
Sorry if this sounds a little over the top, but I came up with it while sitting in my truck on the Loop road, watching the guy in front of me stop his Family Truckster in the middle of the road, 10 feet shy of a turn-off, get out, and take five minutes to photograph trees, all the while I'm sure the trout were rising on Abrams.

02-02-2008, 06:23 PM
i simply approach the traffic blocker and ask him/her to pull over. they usually are obliging and somewhat chagrinned.

02-02-2008, 08:22 PM
obviously the cove is a very popular spot and, as long as it's open to autos, there are going to be problems with traffic. when a car full of people sees an animal that they're not used to seeing, they're going to stop right in the middle of the road every time...with complete disregard to what anyone told them at the gate or the 50 cars behind them. it's just the way it is and, unfortunately, the reason myself and many others often avoid one of the best places in the park.

i would like to see the park charge a $10 fee and make more "bicycle only" time on the loop. ... ... and how about a ban on those trucks with couches in the back??

02-03-2008, 03:59 PM
enforcement just has to do the job on those pickups with the sofas.....park regs call for all passengers to wear seat belts. that would include those hanging out the sun roof, the sofa bubbas, and the people hanging out mini-van doors. only would support more bicycle only time if there were a total ban on them at all other times....i was there yesterday and at 2 pm, two kids and mother were dead tired and blocking traffic...and this is before the visitor center at the cable farm.

Gerry Romer
02-04-2008, 03:48 AM
Just venting here...

Went up to the Cove today, thought I'd give Abrams a try since I haven't been there in probably 15 years. I was quickly reminded why I haven't been there in the last fifteen years.

It was gray. It was rainy. And the loop road was loaded with tourists trying to see something that wasn't there. Took forever to just get to the Abrams parking area. Got geared up. Worked the stream from the bridge up toward the meadow for about a half mile in the rain. Had a herd of dear - about 25 strong - cross the stream about 20 yards upstream from my position... which I thought was kinda funny since I had just put up with about a half hour of all those slow moving visitors looking for them...

Got skunked. Worked my way back down to the bridge and headed out. Only one other car in the parking lot when I left. 5:23 pm and I'm thinking it's gonna be a breeze getting out of the Cove in the rain at 6 pm on Super Bowl Sunday. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I got behind a woman in a Plymouth Voyager who apparently was dyslexic. I'm sure she read those 20 mph signs as 02 mph. On downhill stretches she actually reached speeds of 10 mph! Get this though. She's got kids in the back (couldn't tell how many) and they're watching a movie on their own personal DVD players... So even if there had been some wildlife to see - in the rain - whoever was in the back would have had to pause their movie to actually see the aforesaid wildlife. Pity.

This chick would absolutely not pull over and let me pass. I mean, 5 miles per hour in Cades Cove, in the rain, at 6 pm on Super Bowl Sunday!?

We hit the loop road exit and we're headed back out of the Cove and what does she do? She pulls into the first right hand turn out and lets the entire convoy that's backed up behind her pass. Why she couldn't have done that in one of the forty or so turnouts in the cove I have no idea...

Oh yeah... no plates on the car and no temporary tag in the window either. But the van came from East Tennessee Nissan's used car lot on Clinton Highway - I spent about a half hour on her bumper reading that stupid dealer sticker on the back of the van. So she was a local. A brain dead, inconsiderate local who needs to have her license permanently revoked.

Nuff said.


02-04-2008, 11:48 AM
There's only one cure for idiots and unfortunately, it's not something society can or will do.

I've been stuck behind people like her in the cove before. I've also been stuck behind ones like her on the interstate that think they have to drive 3 mph when two snowflakes are in the air.

They're everywhere, not just in the cove.


02-04-2008, 03:02 PM
Unfortunately, a visit to Cades Cove has become nothing more than a reminder that the entire Ohio population has never seen a Deer.

Please forgive my cynicism ;)

when they were taking public suggestions on the traffic situation, I wrote that the loop road should be hikers or bikers only and the Tram be reserved for the physically challenged (or Anglers trying to get to Abram's)......

but tourism is business so......

02-04-2008, 08:13 PM
Only saw one thing that might be doable on a short term basis, and it may already be in effect. Someone mentioned not stopping on the way in to put some money in the donation box for fear of being passed. What if the donation box were on the way out of the Cove? And maybe just before a speed bump that would require a stop? And after a big (eco-friendly of course) sign that put a big guilt trip on those who did not ante-up? On the way in there might be informational lit that had a charge to get, also in front of the speed-bump, etc. As far as other suggestions, all would help, if there were political will to so do. As I recall, the only vehicles allowed into Grand Canyon are for hikers with permits and those with reservations for spending the night. Day-trippers must use the trams. Unfortunately we are loving our parks to death; appears to me we take some nominal steps now to avoid draconian measures when the trees all start to die. Watson

02-04-2008, 09:00 PM
Last time I was on the Loop road there was a a young volunteer on a mountain bike with a radio. He would come around me when the traffic stops and tell the people to move on, then keep them away from the wildlife. Then he would move on to the next stop traffic. He had to be in great shape. One fool drove through a field to get around the traffic, the little guy on the bike got on his radio. When I got to the pull off at the mill a law enforcement ranger was writing the fool a ticket in the parking lot.
The way I understand it, is that the money raised by the Great Smokey Mountain Asst. (Book sales and Donations) all the profits goes to the park and some of that is being used to help fund additional Law enforcement. Get a membership and help the park. I personally am on my third year installment for a life time membership. $125 for 4 years. If your willing to pay $30 for a yearly entry fee, pay the $35 for a yearly membership.
On thing that has not been mentioned is safety. I was on roaring fork motor trail when the was an accident, I could hear the ambulance for 30 min. before it came around me, and I had to break the law to let it around by putting the truck in 4wd and climbing a bank to give it room. I rented a bike in Cades Cove on year and was informed that an accident would involve a life flight ride
because it would take too long to get an ambulance to you.
I wish I knew the answer, I would not ride a tram to fish. Just sight seeing? Maybe.

02-04-2008, 10:04 PM
I think a key for trams to be successful is frequency (every 30 minutes?) and the ability to board and get off at will. For example, get off at one of the churches, look around and then hop on the next tram, and get off at the next stop. If you want to fish, get off at Abrams parking lot, and then hop on later in the day to go back to Townsend or G'burg.

If you can't get on and off at will, then the trams are probably going to meet more resistance than it's worth.. Also, private cars would have to be banned totally.

I'm not sure if it would work, but done right it may be a good thing.


Gerry Romer
02-06-2008, 12:21 AM
Not the best job of photography, but I thought y'all might want to see what all those slow moving vehicles were looking for.

This first one was a quick shot I tried to get as the herd was crossing a small upstream channel in the rain. They weren't moving all that quickly, however they surprised me and I wasn't quite ready to take pictures.


I took this one directly across from me after about half of the herd had crossed the upstream channel. Kinda hard to find all of 'em, but I counted twelve deer in this one after I took it.


Tried to zoom in on one looking at some old fool who was standing very still, up to his a$$, in the middle of Abrams Creek.:biggrin:


I think the auto flash must have gone off! Either that or this was one of those alien deer that were mysteriously dropped into the Cove back in the 60's :eek:

One critter I din't get a shot of was the Blue Heron I stumbled into. I had reversed direction and fished a few hundred yards below the bridge before I quit for the day. As I was wading my way back out - in the now heavy rain - I fished right up to a Blue Heron perched on a rock in the middle of the creek. I thought for sure he'd spook and take off, but he apparently didn't like the idea of flying in the rain. Can't say as I blame him. He wouldn't budge, so I told him I was just passing through. He kinda looked at me as if to say, "Are you that same old fool who was up to his a$$ in the middle of the creek taking pictures that those deer told me about??" I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Yes, sir, that would have been me.:redface: "

Then I turned and waded to the bank, climbed up to the trail and left him to his rock.