Visits to Smokies down by 500K from 2010

Visits to Smokies down by 500K from 2010
Photo courtesy Flickr user Compass Points (Creative Commons).

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Visits to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park fell 9.5 percent in October from the same month in 2010 and year-to-date visits are off more than a half-million.

The National Park Service said there were 1,133,520 visitors last month, compared with 1,252,357 in October 2010. October is one of the stronger months for park visitation because tourists come to see the autumn foliage.

All entrances to the park showed declines last month.

For the first 10 months of 2011, there were 7,931,484 visitors to the 500,000-acre park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. That was 6.7 percent fewer than at the same time last year — a drop of 568,330 people.

The Smokies remains the most-visited national park.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.