Stop in for Lunch at the LeConte Lodge

Friday, July 4, 2008

The National Park Service has announced that it has just awarded the current operator of the LeConte Lodge a new 10-year contract. The most interesting aspect of this new contract is that beginning in 2009, hikers will be able to purchase snacks, beverages and lunches at the Lodge.

Up till now, only Lodge guests were able to purchase meals at the Lodge.

What's your opinion on this?

Will this encourage more hikers to the mountain, and possibly cause issues with overuse on the trails?

Or, is this an innovative approach for the Park Service to exploit one of the unique features of the Smoky Mountains and increase revenues for a Park that desperately needs additional funding for various improvement projects.



smoky scout said...

Will it be a take-out boxed lunch or a made-to-order affair? If it's the latter I believe it will increase traffic. Hopefully they have done some research and expect to make a profit on this venture. They could make a small fortune selling bottled water to all the folks who underestimate how much water they need. I wonder if it will increase the amount of litter on the trails?

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

smoky scout,

I've read comments in a couple of other forums about concerns with litter. In my opinion, I don't think litter would increase as a result of selling lunches at the summit. I don't think the typical hiker would be any more inclined to litter just because they purchased a lunch on the trail as oppossed to packing-in their own, which is what they've done up until now.

To your point, however, if this new service were to attract a different crowd, then it's possible we could see an increase in litter on the trail. However, I don't see this happening either. The opportunity to purchase a lunch at the Lodge just doesn't seem to be incentive enough to make the long, strenuous hike to get there to take advantage of this new service.

I guess we'll all find out next year....

Smoky Mountain Hiker