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It is possible you’ve heard the news already, but if not, we’ll be happy to introduce you to it here. Beginning March 1st, 2023, the Smoky Mountain National Park will require parking tags on vehicles for parking accessibility at National Park destinations. Daily passes are $5 and weekly and yearly passes are also available.
Let’s get this out of the way: while the most immediate and obvious reasons for the Park’s decision to sell parking access seem counter-intuitive, this program, called the “Park It Forward” program, is actually designed to improve driving safety and traffic issues that had been increasing for visitors and locals in recent years. The “Park It Forward” program will improve traffic conditions in the National Park by making planning ahead for parking conditions in the Park mandatory as well as produce a large new potential revenue source for maintenance and further improvements.
From the GMNSP headquarters website:
* Three tag durations are available for purchase for all vehicle sizes and types:
Daily – $5
Weekly – $15
Annual – $40
* Parking tags are not replaceable, refundable, transferable, or upgradable.
* Each tag is valid for a single vehicle and must include a license plate number matching the vehicle in which it is displayed.
* Parking tags are available for purchase both online and onsite.
* Display of physical parking tags in each vehicle is required. Digital representations are not accepted.
* Parking tags are not location-specific. A parking tag is required to park anywhere within the boundaries of the Smokies.
* Parking tags are not required for motorists who pass through the area or who park for less than 15 minutes.
* Interagency passes (senior, access, etc.) are not accepted in lieu of a parking tag.
“Annual parking tags must be displayed in the front, lower passenger side windshield. Daily and weekly parking tags must be placed face-up on the front, lower passenger side dashboard.”
See more information at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fees.htm or https://www.gatlinburg.com/great-smoky-mountains/parkitforward/.