Blue Ridge Parkway visitors spent 1.1 billion in “gateway towns” last year

A National Park Service visitor spending report shows that in 2018, 14.7 million visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway spent an estimated 1.1 billion in local communities, also known as “gateway towns.” The 11.4 million visitors that crossed the threshold into Great Smoky Mountains National Park spent $953 million. Visitors to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC created an economic output of $5.3 million. The largest amount of money visitors spent last year was on lodging, followed by restaurants and gas. Economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted the spending analysis.

Woman rescued on the closed Glen Onoko Falls trail will face fine

A woman who had to be rescued from Pennsylvania’s closed Glen Onoko Falls trail will face a fine after 25 first responders spent a good part of the day on Sunday extracting the woman from the forest. The 21-year-old told officials that she felt her knee go out and feared she’d dislocated it. The Glen Onokio Falls trail, one of the most popular in Lehigh Gorge State Park, was closed indefinitely on May 1 after the Pennsylvania Game Commission deemed it too dangerous. At least 15 people have died on the trail and over 80 have been injured. Officials say that the rescued woman will face a fine.