Emotional Video Shows Colorblind Park Visitors Seeing Fall Colors for First Time
Around this time of year, millions of people travel to Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains to witness the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows of autumn foliage.
But for the 13 million Americans who have protanopia and protanomaly (red-green color blindness or red-blind), they might not be as impressed with the scenery.
To help visitors with this affliction, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has installed special viewfinders that can alleviate red-green color deficiencies.
The viewfinders, which were unveiled last week, can be found at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area near Oneida, and at the Westbound Interstate 26 overlook near Erwin in Unicoi County.
As seen in the video above, the colorblind travelers who have peered through the lenses shed tears of joy or were stunned into silence after seeing the fall colors for the first time in their lives.
"I'm glad to have seen it. I just wish I had seen this all my life," one said.
"I really feel like now I know why people come from miles and states around just to see this," another said.
Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park drew more than eleven million visitors last year, making it one of the most popular parks in the country.
"One of the main pillars we promote in Tennessee is our scenic beauty," Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “The reds, oranges and yellows in the fall and the incredible colors in the spring are a staple of what comes to mind when people think about Tennessee or visit here."
"But to realize, through red/green deficiencies and other forms of colorblindness, there potentially are more than 13 million people in our country alone who cannot fully appreciate the beauty our state has to offer, we wanted to do something about that. We wanted to provide opportunities for more people to see what those of us who can may take for granted."