21 July 2017

Clingmans Dome Road to Close Aug. 19-21 for Solar Eclipse Viewing

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are reminding visitors that Clingmans Dome Road will be closed to all access beginning at 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 19 through the evening of Monday, August 21 following the event. No overnight parking will be allowed at Clingmans Dome Parking Area or pull-offs, parking areas, and trailheads along the road during this time period. The road will be closed to all motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

During the closure, all trails, campsites and shelters in the backcountry will remain open, but backpackers should carefully consider the road closure when planning their itineraries. All vehicles must be clear of Clingmans Dome Road by 11:00 p.m. Saturday, August 19. An interactive map is available on the park website at http://go.nps.gov/GRSM_ECLIPSE where backcountry users can view which backcountry campsites are within the path of totality.

Clingmans Dome Road is the only park road closed for the solar eclipse event, but park visitors should be prepared for high volume traffic across all park roads on Monday, August 21. Vehicles cannot stop in the roadway and must be parked in designated parking areas. If roads become congested or cause a safety concern, rangers may temporarily close them to additional inbound traffic until after the eclipse to reduce traffic congestion and allow access for emergency response. Visitors should expect temporary road closures throughout the day.

While the western half of the park lies within the path of totality, there are limited roads and parking areas available for travel. The risk of traffic jams and road closures is likely to increase throughout the morning of August 21. Managers suggest that visitors plan ahead to find the right eclipse experience for their situation. Many communities outside of the national park are hosting special events to observe and celebrate the celestial phenomena and those locales may be a great alternative for locals or travelers not wanting to risk traffic congestion in the park. Visit the park website for more information at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/2017-solar-eclipse.htm.

16 July 2017

Nashville Man Dies of Heart Attack on Alum Cave Trail Hike after Night at LeConte Lodge

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers responded to a report of man in cardiac distress on Alum Cave Trail at approximately 9:59 a.m. on Saturday, July 15. Phillip Basset Davenport, age 47, from Nashville, TN was hiking down the Alum Cave Trail from Mt. Le Conte with a group of friends after staying the previous night at LeConte Lodge.

He suddenly passed out 3 miles from the trailhead and bystanders administered CPR while park medics responded. Davenport passed away at approximately 11:14 a.m.

Davenport was carried off the trail by Park Rangers and then transported by the Gatlinburg Fire Department to LeConte Medical Center.