Home Register Today's Posts Members User CP Calendar FAQ

Go Back   Little River Outfitters Forum > Fly Fishing Board > Smoky Mountain Fishing

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-31-2008, 12:35 AM
limbsnagger limbsnagger is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Crossville
Posts: 60
Default Cades Cove: Creative Solutions!

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.
Get outdoors & have fun!
Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 11:53 AM
PeteCz's Avatar
PeteCz PeteCz is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Maryville, TN
Posts: 800

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

Last edited by PeteCz; 01-31-2008 at 12:29 PM.. Reason: Information/Updates from Other Thread
Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 03:21 PM
Jack M. Jack M. is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 141

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.
Please bear in mind that I have no idea what I am talking about.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 04:11 PM
Rog 1's Avatar
Rog 1 Rog 1 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Posts: 906

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.....
Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 07:06 PM
snaildarter snaildarter is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 160

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 07:54 PM
oody3wt oody3wt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lenoir City, TN
Posts: 68

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 08:16 PM
sammcdonald's Avatar
sammcdonald sammcdonald is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Glades
Posts: 572
Send a message via AIM to sammcdonald Send a message via Yahoo to sammcdonald

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".
I started with nothing, and I have most of it left.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 11:11 PM
Kevin_Thomas's Avatar
Kevin_Thomas Kevin_Thomas is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Maryville, TN
Posts: 408

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!

Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 01:49 AM
limbsnagger limbsnagger is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Crossville
Posts: 60

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!

Get outdoors & have fun!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 07:21 AM
UofMontanaAlum's Avatar
UofMontanaAlum UofMontanaAlum is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 177
Send a message via MSN to UofMontanaAlum

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.

From Yellowstone's website:

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.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:40 PM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.