Government approves $10 million transportation grant for Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From RISP website: Located at the confluence of the Collins and Caney Fork Rivers, this 883-acre park features Great Falls, a 19th century textile mill and one of Tennessee's early hydroelectric plants.

Today, the federal government approved a ten million federal transportation grant that will improve access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The money will help complete a 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway in Blount and Sevier counties, improving access to the park and "enhancing tourism and economic development" in East Tennessee, according to a supporter of the grant, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

Alexander continued, "I grew up hiking, hunting and fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains, a national and Tennessee treasure. Completion of this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway will help the Smokies' more than nine million visitors from around the world experience the park more easily and have greater access to panoramic views of the mountains."

In April, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) submitted a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application to fund the completion of a 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway.