GSMA joins effort to create comprehensive outdoor recreation mapPosted by | 10.20.2016
More than 2 million acres of public forests, parks and scenic byways throughout East Tennessee and Western North Carolina can now be viewed in print and online in a new Outdoor Recreation Map initiated by the Cherokee National Forest.
Whether visitors are traveling by car, motorcycle or RV, a printed map of this type is a valuable guide, especially in areas where mobile device signals cannot reach. Major highways are included on the map, but its creators hope that travelers will explore more scenic routes, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway or Cherohala Skyway.
"This is a perfect map for anyone traveling in this incredibly scenic part of the country,” said John Innes, executive director of the Partners of the Cherokee National Forest. “We view this map as an ‘owner’s manual’ for public lands. It highlights the wide variety of public recreation opportunities in the area.”
The free map replaces an outdated map once used by the Cherokee National Forest. Doug Byerly, Forest Recreation Program manager, noticed that visitors were still requesting the outdated map. Byerly reported this to the non-profit partners of the Cherokee National Forest. He urged them to publish another “big picture” map, which included Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other nearby national forests and state parks.
"The Partners of the Cherokee National Forest invited other public land organizations to join the project,” said Innes, “We were delighted that every group we approached contributed their time, talent, funds, and/or distribution centers to the project. By working together, we can serve the public in this new way.”
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development joined the Partners, along with 10 other government and non-profit agencies to create the map. Those groups include Cherokee National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, Great Smoky Mountains Association, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, Tennessee State Parks, North Carolina State Parks, Visit North Carolina, and Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
Some 50,000 maps have been printed; they may be found at state welcome centers and visitor information centers. The map will be periodically updated. To view and download the map online, visit http://recreationlinks.org/.