News

  1. Of Big Views and Big Bears

    Of Big Views and Big Bears Story and photos by Sue Wasserman I’m a sucker for ‘big’ views. So when Steve Kemp, GSMA’s former creative services director and the namesake for my writing residency, suggested a hike to Andrews Bald, I was psyched—especially because it was yet another trail that would be new to me. Hoping to avoid the mid-June Read more...
  2. Trailside Talk: Great Bear Jams I Have Known

    Trailside Talk: Great Bear Jams I Have Known No one who visits the Smokies, particularly during the summer, should be surprised to encounter that long-time park phenomenon known as the bear jam. Someone spots a black bear along a park road. Brakes bring the car to a screeching halt. Sometimes the bear spotter pulls to the side of the road (if possible). Sometimes the driver will simply Read more...
  3. Partners Cooperate to Meet the Needs of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Partners Cooperate to Meet the Needs of Great Smoky Mountains National Park By Valerie Polk Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves more than 500,000 acres of treasured mountain landscape and roughly 2,900 miles of rivers and streams, all habitat for thousands of species of plants, animals, fungi, and more. In the midst of this impressive biodiversity are nearly 850 miles of trails and numerous iconic landmarks Read more...
  4. Summer Hiking Tips: Part One

    Summer Hiking Tips: Part One Story and images by Nancy East Imagine yourself in the open field atop Andrews Bald on a warm summer day. The shifting clouds form endless shapes, and an impromptu Rorschach test ensues with your hiking partners as you debate whether one looks like a fire-breathing dragon or a steam engine. As you pack up your lunch to hike back to the Read more...
  5. North Shore Decoration Days Continue Thanks to Park Staff

    North Shore Decoration Days Continue Thanks to Park Staff Bone Valley. Bradshaw. Higdon. Proctor. Hall. These are just a few of the names that grace more than 20 cemeteries in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are only accessible by boat. Today, pilgrims from this region and from all over the country are transported to these special burial sites — some extremely remote — Read more...
  6. Opening Doors with Wilma Dykeman, a Voice for All Writers

    Opening Doors with Wilma Dykeman, a Voice for All Writers Becoming a well-established writer is a challenging task for anyone, but it was an even steeper mountain to climb for young females in the 1950s. Wilma Dykeman. Courtesy State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC. Wilma Dykeman was one of these young women. Though publishers found her early works too controversial, she Read more...
  7. Wildflowers 101: Three Blue Flowers

    Wildflowers 101: Three Blue Flowers Story and images by Tom Harrington If you have an interest in wildflowers, perhaps you have noticed how many flowers are blue in color. The flowers we’ll examine today have small blue blooms. Blue-eyed grass To start, did you know that blue-eyed grass is not a grass? It is related to the iris species. The plant is Read more...
  8. Smokies Scenic Drives for Families: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

    The scenic drives in the Smokies can introduce you to plenty of wildlife, rushing streams, colorful flowers, lush forests, mountain vistas, and historic buildings—all from the seat of your car. To get the full flavor of the Smokies, be sure to park in plenty of the many pull-offs so you can get out and explore on foot as well. This is Read more...
  9. Smoky Mountain University Makes Me Want to Go Back to College

    Smoky Mountain University Makes Me Want to Go Back to College Story and photos by Sue Wasserman Ashley Morris had a dream. The Great Smokies-loving biology professor from Greenville, South Carolina-based Furman University was intent on immersing her students in diverse park experiences. She and I met serendipitously, shortly after I began my stint as Great Smoky Mountains Association’s Kemp Writer Read more...
  10. The Magic of a First Hike in the Smokies

    The Magic of a First Hike in the Smokies Story and photo by Hunter Upchurch Inspired by a family trip to Douglas Lake in East Tennessee in the summer of 2016, I decided I wanted to give hiking a try. Though I had grown up spending lots of time outdoors in the rural Mississippi Delta, the main activities were hunting and fishing, neither of which had much appealed to me as a kid. & Read more...

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