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More parking for Bays Mountain Park

Staff report • Apr 23, 2019 at 9:10 AM

KINGSPORT — Bays Mountain Park is getting some much-needed additional parking, but the construction project will temporarily limit parking for visitors on April 27 and 28.

On those days, construction crews will be completing paving efforts on the park’s new and updated parking lots. This includes the new lots, the maintenance building/overflow parking area and the road that leads to it, as well as the access road between the observatory and summer day camp cabin.

Chestnut Trail, which feeds into the maintenance building parking area commonly used by mountain bikers, will also be closed during this construction.

The park advises anyone planning to visit on April 27 or 28 to carpool, if possible.

Parking has long been an issue at Bays Mountain. During the warmer weather months, from roughly March to October, you may struggle to find a parking space. On the weekends, Bays Mountain sometimes has to turn visitors away at the gate because the park is simply out of parking.

The 75 new spaces are being built across the street from the nature center, above the summer day camp cabin and below the police officer’s residence. Park officials say the new spaces are critical to the future growth and success of the park.

Six companies bid on the project, with McFall Excavating of Clintwood, Virginia, submitting the low bid of $468,001. With engineering costs and contingencies, the total cost of the project is closer to $580,000.

About Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

Annually, more than 200,000 visitors pass through Bays Mountain Park, making it one of Tennessee’s top 50 most-visited attractions, according to the State of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. One of the nation’s largest city-owned parks with 3,550 acres, Bays Mountain Park features about 40 miles of hiking trails, a state-of-the-art planetarium, wildlife habitats, fun exhibits, a 44-acre lake, ropes course with zip line, trails for mountain biking and much, much more.

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