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What Are the Federal Laws in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

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Since 1916, the National Park Service has worked to preserve land spanning the United States from destruction. In order to do so, strict regulations have been put into place to protect the wildlife that lives in these parks and preserve the land so that it exists for generations to come. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park houses over 522,000 acres of land that lies between North Carolina and Tennessee. With more than 11.3 million recreational visits in 2016, it is no wonder why specific rules are put in place to keep this land protected. Since the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is federally owned, those who violate these laws can be prosecuted at the federal level and face federal criminal charges and penalties. This level of crime can lead to severe legal consequences, making it crucial to understand the laws before stepping foot on the grounds.

Park Land Is Not Open Land

One of the benefits of the national parks is being able to see wildlife up close and personal. However, not all land in the national parks is open all year round and there are distance regulations put in place to protect the animals. It is strictly forbidden to approach any wildlife within 50 yards or within any distance that disturbs/displaces the wildlife. It is also prohibited to feed the wildlife. Designated fields within the park are closed in May and June as well as in September and October as these are elk calving and breeding seasons. It is a good idea to map your route and do your research before entering the park to be sure that you are complying with the park’s rules.

Is Alcohol Permitted?

Alcoholic beverages are not strictly forbidden; however, they cannot be opened before entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If a bottle or beverage has been opened, it is not allowed in the park. Restrictions regarding driving under the influence remain intact within the park. As is true on all roads, there is a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit within national parks. If you are found driving under the influence with a BAC higher than 0.08, you can face DUI charges at the federal level. Anyone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs places other visitors and wildlife at risk.

To Carry or Not To Carry

Many people feel more comfortable entering the park with a gun to be used in case anything goes awry. As is the case on the outside of the park, Tennessee residents are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so long as they have a valid concealed carry permit and have never been convicted of a felony. If you are visiting from another state, it is important to know if your out-of-state permit is recognized in Tennessee. Take heed to any signs that designate certain buildings or facilities as off-limits to weapons. If you are found in one of these locations with a gun, you could face weapons charges.

Call a Knoxville, TN Federal Charges Defense Lawyer

It is not uncommon for first-time visitors to come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park unprepared. Although it may be accidental, breaking the national park’s laws can leave you facing federal prosecution. Such charges are taken seriously in Tennessee since the Smoky Mountains are part of the state’s history. Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, works with Tennesseans who need assistance with their legal defense. Our experienced lawyer prioritizes each client to help them develop and execute a well-prepared defense strategy. If you are facing charges from a violation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, contact our skilled Knox County criminal defense attorney at 865-281-1000 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/management/statistics.htm

https://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/10listens-can-you-carry-a-gun-on-the-appalachian-trail/51-9485f2e7-bb34-47d8-841a-9d8d06e90349

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/management/lawsandpolicies.htm

 

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