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December 7, 2012

Forestry technicians to spray for tourists in Cades Cove

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park today announced plans to close the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road on Monday, Dec. 10 to spray for obnoxious tourists. The popular scenic road is expected to be closed to all vehicular traffic Monday and part of the day Tuesday.

Forestry technicians will treat the road for sightseers who park their vehicles in the middle of the road and wander off to take photos of bears. Technicians are also expected to spray for tourists who feed table food to park animals. In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will be rescheduled.

"We have been spraying every year since 2004," said Obnoxious Tourist Project Coordinator Holly Augland. "At first it was pretty effective, but the tourists seem to be building immunity. We'll be treating the road again this year. We may have to employ more drastic means in the future. It's possible that we'll just train the bears to steal the cars of people who clog up the roadway. We don't want to rule anything out at this point."

During the close on Dec. 3, only hikers will be able to access Loop Road. Bicyclists will be redirected to a henna tattoo shop in Gatlinburg.

As part of the park's efforts to control the spread of obnoxious tourists, actions will include spraying the road near known bear habitats with concentrated doses of an anti-narcissism agent.

"In addition to spraying for unbearable vacationers, we will be using a systematic pesticide from truck-mounted sprayers," said Augland. "We plan to treat the Loop Road, as well as the campgrounds, picnic areas and along the roadside. Basically we are looking at all areas where someone is likely to be an inconsiderate buffoon."

Obnoxious tourists are an invasive species that migrated into the park shortly after it was established in 1934. Though the non-native organisms are generally not considered dangerous, they have been known to raise the blood pressure of those just trying to enjoy a freaking Sunday drive, is that too much to ask?

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