GATLINBURG (WATE) – All of the snow in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has kept some tourists away but the ones WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with Wednesday say they love seeing the park look like a winter wonderland.
Jeff Gannaway lives in Florida, but for his birthday wanted to leave the sunshine state and visit the Smokies.
“Of all the places I wanted to go on my birthday I wanted to be in Tennessee hiking,” said Gannaway.
He wasn’t expecting all this snow but says it is a wonderful surprise.
“It is just covered in three to four inches in this gorgeous white powder. It’s just a wonderland out here. When you’re down in Florida it’s the same weather all the time. You just miss it. You miss the snow. You miss autumn. It’s just great to be up here,” said Park Ranger Brent Everitt.
Everitt says the park is covered in four to six inches of snow. He says it’s been about two weeks since the ice and snow storm first hit and the winter weather keeps coming, forcing road crews to work overtime.
“Road crews have dropped over 500 tons of sand on the park roads to try and keep them open as much as possible,” said Everitt.
Some park roads have to close as more winter weather is in the forecast. Everitt says the park could see an additional three to seven inches of snow fall Wednesday night. Before the storm comes in, visitors like Gannaway hope to be off the hiking trails and in a cabin.
“We are looking for something lower elevations so we can get done early cozy up by the fireplace and drink a lot of coffee,” said Gannaway.
If you do want to drive to the park, make sure you call or check online to see if any roads are closed because conditions are continually changing as more winter weather comes in.