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Smokies visits about 9 percent ahead of last year

Smokies visits about 9 percent ahead of last year

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park entered the fall foliage season with nearly 9 percent more visitors, year to date.

Figures released by the National Park Service showed 963,317 people came to the park in September -- a 9.2 percent increase over September 2011.

Through the first nine months of this year, visits were up 8.9 percent, meaning 602,000 more people have come to the Smokies this year than in the first three quarters of 2011.

New snow machines at Ober Gatlinburg help kickstart season

New snow machines at Ober Gatlinburg help kickstart season

After a warm 2011-2012 winter in East Tennessee, hurting profits for the area's only ski resort, Ober Gatlinburg is not taking any chances this year for a good season.

"To get our tubing open early for guests that want to experience it that can't come later in the year, by opening tubing earlier for them," said Jerry Huskey, a spokesperson for the resort.

With a lofty goal of opening tubing by Thanksgiving, Ober Gatlinburg is already making snow on that trail -- something they could not do in the past during this time of year.

McCarter leads Sevier County past Morristown West, 48-27

Logan McCarter put Sevier County on the board before the offense even touched the ball on Thursday night.

The Smoky Bear defense forced a three and out on Morristown West's first possession. McCarter took the ensuing punt across the field and raced up the sideline to the endzone, getting help along the way on a devastating block from Peyton Otis.

50% off Swinging Bridge Adventure for 2 at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park

50% off Swinging Bridge Adventure for 2 at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park

Today Deal Chicken is offering 50% off Swinging Bridge Adventure for 2 at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park in Sevierville!

This safe yet exhilarating activity will have you close to wildlife and one with nature as you cross the Bridge to Prosperity to a covered walking bridge, leading into the Lost Mine Falls trail and finally the Cliffhanger Swinging Bridge where you’ll peer 60 feet below into the pooling water from above the falls. This hour-long experience will leave you feeling alive and vibrant.

Possible United Way closure could cause agencies to cut staff

Possible United Way closure could cause agencies to cut staff

Nineteen Sevier County agencies are re-evaluating their budgets after the United Way of Sevier County announced they will no longer be able to provide funding.

Wednesday, the United Way told the agencies they could be shutting their doors by the end of the year if they do not receive major support.

This board decision comes on the heels of an announcement that executive director, Tom Newman, is stepping down.

Smokies will start collecting backcountry camping fees early next year

Smokies will start collecting backcountry camping fees early next year

Starting early next year, backcountry campers will see some changes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including a new fee.

Last March, the National Park Service approved the park's proposal to begin collecting fees for use of backcountry campsites and shelters, which includes a $4 per person per night fee for backcountry camping.

The money collected will provide increased customer service for backcountry trip planning, reservations, permits and the backcountry experience