Friday, October 24, 2008

Cades Cove Heritage Tours shuttle service officially started in Cades Cove

Cades Cove is not on the most loved section of the Great Smoky Mountains national park, it is also the most congested and crowded especially on weekends and holidays and leaf season when there is peak visitation.

To help alleviate some of the traffic congestion as well as being able to offer a professional guided tour of Cades Coves history, natural resources and spin some yarns about some local stories Cades Cove Heritage Tours is now officially offering mini bus tours of the Cove.

Cades Cove Heritage Tours shuttle service officially started in Cades Cove

The 19 passenger white Cades Cove Heritage Tours shuttle busses have already been touring Cades Cove but the official shuttle service stared today after a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The ticket prices for this 3 hour tour is $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for kids from 6-17 and children under 6 are free. Members of the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center get reduced rates and you can get a combo ticket for both the entrance to the heritage center tour and the Cades Cove shuttle.

While some are touting the shuttle tour as an environmental friendly option which will reduce pollution, Cades Cove Heritage Tours which is a non profit organization should have made a far wiser choice in the purchase of their vehicles to reduce their carbon output and reduce engine noise.

While this is a small step that that could slightly help reduce traffic which exceeds 800,000 vehicles a year on the Cades Cove 11 mile loop it is a small half step.

It is a shame this opportunity to make a huge difference in the air pollution output created and the use of resources used by touring the Cove was not tackled in a modern and environmentally friendly manor.

3 comments:

dan said...

I love the smokies,I go about 2or3 times a year.The problem I see on oct 26th and all the years going there people stopping in the middle of the road and not pulling off.The road needs widen and watched by the park service.The elk over at cataloochee was great ,saw fights and herd buegoling. Thanks for a great web site.

Smokies Hiker said...

Dan,

While your idea of widening the Cades Cove Loop Road seems like a simple solution it just can not be done.

Why you may ask? Because the fence posts along the road as well as some other features are entered into the national historical register and by law must be preserved and cannot be moved.

There would also be a significant environmental impact in widening the roadway, not to mention the expense which is just not even feasible. The park is still working on competing roadways starting in the 1970s in which funding has run out numerous times.

What needs to be done is people need to be courteous when driving on the Cades Cove Loop Road. If you see a deer, turkey or bear you wish to photograph and observe, pull over at the next possible DESIGNATED pull off and SHUT OFF YOUR ENGINE!

These simple actions would allow others to also enjoy or bypass what interests you, reduce the noise of engines in Cades Cove and save hundreds of gallons of gas being burned A WEEK in the Cove which is presently wasting a valuable resource and choking the air with carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and damaging and visibility reducing ozone.

One of the best things that the national park service does in the GSMNP is that for a few months a year the Cove is shut down to all traffic until 10:00 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This needs to be extended to year round and should also be extended to another day in the week.

Closing the road to vehicular traffic year round on some mornings would not only greatly add to the enjoyment of anyone biking or hiking the Cades Cove Valley, it would greatly improve the environmental impact of visitors to the Cove.

This is a win win solution with the only real downside being a minor limitation to access to persons with mobility issues, but even then there would still be enough open times that the Cove can be driven on in the early mornings as to not discriminate against those persons.

Do you agree with this idea? Comment back and if I get enough feedback I will create a petition to try to get this done.

Chris Hibbard
Your Smokies

dan said...

I do agree with your comments.

Dan