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Vote to Preserve the Dome Tower

Posted by | 05.26.2016



In celebration of the National Park Service's Centennial, 2016 Partners in Preservation is embarking on its first national campaign focused on raising awareness about the preservation needs of historic structures within 20 sites of the National Park Service system. The program will award $2 million in grants to help preserve historic structures within beloved National Parks across the country. Grant recipients will be decided by popular vote.

If/When the vote comes out in favor of the Smokies, grant funds will be applied toward preservation of the 1959 observation tower at Clingmans Dome. Repairs to the tower will include correcting a structure settlement issue and repairing the overall deteriorated condition of the tower, including delaminated surfaces, spalls, exposed rebar, damaged handrails, and missing flagstones.

Clingmans Dome tower is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Visitors reach the tower from a trail up from the terminus of Clingmans Dome Road or via the Appalachian Trail, which runs by the foot of the tower. It is estimated that the majority of the more than 600,000 visitors traveling this road each year visit the tower. In 2015, 284,000+ visitors stopped for information at the contact station at the foot of the trail leading up to the tower and rangers made 80,000+ visitor contact on trail.?

From today through July 5, the public is encouraged to visit and place up to five votes for five separate national parks per day, including GSMNP. Voters are then eligible to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park sponsored by National Geographic.


The parks with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be awarded grants for their historic restoration projects. In this particular case the old saying "Vote Early & Often" is highly encouraged in support of much-needed repairs of this icon Smoky Mountain structure.

Clingmans Dome Tower Facts and Figures

  • Built in 1959. Designed by Bebb and Olson, a Knoxville architecture firm, and built by WC Norris, a Waynesville construction co.
  • Added to National Register of Historic Places in 2012
  • Similar “modern” tower designs are used at Look Rock Tower, also in the Smokies, and Shark Valley Tower in the Everglades
  • Elevation 6,643 ft, Tower is 45ft tall. Highest point in GSMNP, TN, and along A.T.
  • 3rd highest point in North Carolina behind Mt. Mitchell and Mt. Craig respectively



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