Park entries up 4 percent through Townsend

Entries into Great Smoky Mountains National Park were down by 0.7 percent for March 2011, compared with March 2010. Travel through March is off 1.6 percent year-to-date.

Entrance to the park through the Townsend gateway, however, was up. March visitation by entrance was as follows: Gatlinburg: -19.4 percent, Townsend: +4.0 percent and Cherokee: -5.8 percent.

The outlying entrances were up by 44.6 percent. That gain was mostly due to a 300 percent jump at the Foothills Parkway East where the 2010 rockslide on I-40 which dried up traffic past Exit 443. I-40 is back to normal this year.

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