- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 17, 2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park says it is raising fees for front-country campgrounds and picnic pavilions by 10 to 25 percent.

The park said in a news release Tuesday that the rate increases are scheduled to begin March 1.

Park officials say rate increases are needed to meet rising operations costs, reduce a maintenance backlog on park facilities and start needed improvements. Park officials also are adding three campgrounds to the national reservation system.

Located in North Carolina and Tennessee, the park operates nine open campgrounds, seven group campgrounds, six picnic pavilions and five horse campgrounds.

The park says that fees have not been increased since 2006 or earlier at any facility aside from Cataloochee Campground, which was added to the reservation system in 2011.

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