News

  1. Wildflowers 101: Summer Finds

    Wildflowers 101: Summer Finds Crimson Bee Balm Story and images by Tom Harrington As we advance in the summer season, it is only fitting that we examine some summer wildflowers. In this report we will check out crimson beebalm, Turk’s cap lily, and filmy angelica. Crimson beebalm is recognized as having one of the most brilliant scarlet red Read more...
  2. Trailside Talk: Reports from the Rangers

    Trailside Talk: Reports from the Rangers Ranger giving information at kiosk. Photo courtesy of GSMNP archives. By Mike Hembree How much has Great Smoky Mountains National Park changed over the past half-century? A lot. And not much at all. The trees are bigger. The streams are wider and deeper. River rocks grow a tiny bit smoother with each passing storm. Parts Read more...
  3. Mountain Time: “The Green Tunnel” Through the Smokies

    Mountain Time: “The Green Tunnel” Through the Smokies By Arthur “Butch” McDade The Appalachian Trail (AT) is an iconic American long-distance path. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it runs over 70 miles along the park’s high ridges and gaps, including Clingmans Dome, the highest point on the AT. For many hikers, it’s the premier trail in the park. And while the Read more...
  4. Road Ecology Comes to Southern Appalachia

    Road Ecology Comes to Southern Appalachia By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director On July 1, the United States House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act to reauthorize funding for transportation projects across the country. Aiming to protect biodiversity, stimulate the economy, and reduce highway fatalities, the bill proposes $400 million for projects to reduce Read more...
  5. It’s Time to Try Birding Beyond the Backyard

    It’s Time to Try Birding Beyond the Backyard  by Aaron Searcy, Publications Associate If you found yourself paying closer attention to the natural world around you this past year, you’re not alone. Months of lockdowns, layoffs, and isolation have translated into soaring popularity for simpler outdoor pastimes, including a unique growing community of “bird nerds.&rdquo Read more...
  6. Knowing the BearWise Basics Can Save Lives in the Backcountry

    Knowing the BearWise Basics Can Save Lives in the Backcountry By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director June is traditionally the most challenging month for managing human–bear conflicts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. By mid-month this year, the park had already closed several campsites where bears had damaged tents and taken backpacks in search of food. Then, in the early hours of Read more...
  7. Trailside Talk: The Wild and the Mild

    Trailside Talk: The Wild and the Mild By Mike Hembree The cloak of green that covers the Great Smoky Mountains in summer blankets streams, wildflowers, trails, animals, hills, and hollows in some of the Southeast’s finest high country. It also covers roadways, visitor centers, maintenance shops, parking lots, restrooms, vehicle barriers, stores, and administrative Read more...
  8. Wildflowers 101: Flame Azalea

    Wildflowers 101: Flame Azalea Story and images by Tom Harrington If we were to take a vote on which wildflower is the most popular in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, my guess is that the flame azalea would certainly be in the top three. The flame azaleas start to bloom in the lower elevations in late April. Higher elevations, including Andrews Bald and Gregory Bald Read more...
  9. A Firefly Season Recap from the Experts

    A Firefly Season Recap from the Experts By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director In Southern Appalachia, late May through June is a time of birth. Wildflower blooms erupt, fawns and cubs scamper through the woods, and baby birds test their wings. When night falls, other creatures take flight. For the charismatic, glowing beetles we know as fireflies, it’s not the Read more...
  10. Trailside Talk: A Last Ride With Dad

    Trailside Talk: A Last Ride With Dad Story by Mike Hembree In his later years, my father showed considerable interest in things of his past: his service in World War II, the first car he owned (a Chevrolet, of course), and the cattle he raised, largely as a hobby. For most of his 87 years, he talked little of the past, particularly avoiding the war years. Like many of his Read more...

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