GSMA completes $3.4M investment in North Carolina side of the SmokiesPosted by | 12.10.2014
With the opening of the Swain County Visitor Center in downtown Bryson City this past September, Great Smoky Mountains Association wrote its final check toward a $3.46 million investment in projects located in the North Carolina section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“We've made it a point over the last decade to focus on enhancement projects in North Carolina,” said GSMA Executive Director Terry Maddox. "Each of our three NC park visitor center locations tell both the natural and cultural stories specific to these important areas of the national park.”
The 2014 opening of Swain County Visitor Center, in partnership with county leaders, represents a $100,000 investment in this community. The county's new heritage museum fills the historic building's upper level, while GSMNP plans to tell the Horace Kephart story on the first floor adjacent to our newest store location. Kephart, one of the national park's strongest proponents, called Bryson City home for many years. "Our Southern Highlanders" is a product of his time spent in and around this park gateway community.
The 2011 opening of both Clingmans Dome and Oconaluftee visitor centers represent investments of $285,108 and $3,088,356, respectively. Located at the end of Clingmans Dome Road, 7 miles from Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome Visitor Center sits at an elevation of 6,300 feet. A 0.5 mile trail leads from the visitor center to the Clingmans Dome observation tower atop Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains and the third highest mountain in the East. Exhibits in the center provide an overview of the history of the area and the rare spruce-fir forest ecosystem.
Located 1.5 miles north of Cherokee, NC, on Newfound Gap Road, Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Museum features a state-of-the-art interactive indoor museum on the history of the area and an outdoor museum with a furnished log home, smokehouse, springhouse, apple house, blacksmith shop, heirloom garden, and other features. Special events, demonstrations, old-time music jams, and ranger-guided walk and talks, including special Junior Ranger programs, are offered periodically from spring through fall.