Smoky Mountains Shutdown Sparks Call for Protest

By Associated Press | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The closure of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has sparked a call for a protest.

Appalachian artist Jeremiah Spelas told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he is organizing a protest on Saturday at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance sign on Newfound Gap Road. He says its aim is to express discontent about the closure and raise awareness about businesses and residents affected by it.

He stressed that illegal activities, such as trespassing, should not be part of the protest.

October is one of the busiest times of the year for the park, which was closed during the partial government shutdown.

Park officials say the Smokies average about 1.1 million visitors in October.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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