News

  1. Great Smoky Mountains Association commits to funding national park visitor centers during federal government shutdown

    During the extended government shutdown in October 2013, the public’s access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was nearly non-existent. This time, however, if a government shutdown goes into effect at midnight on December 21, Great Smoky Mountains Association is committed to creating a different reality for park visitors during the upcoming holiday week.

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  2. Great Smoky Mountains Association Announces New Writer’s Residency

    GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Great Smoky Mountains Association has announced the launch of the first-ever writer’s residency offered in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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  3. The big and small of it

    Photo by Jessica Hill with Shutterfox Photography

    This month, my Experience Your Smokies class got another peek behind the curtain of park operations and travelled to Twin Creeks Science Center to fish out aquatic invertebrates.

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  4. Chestnut Branch Trail November 2018

    Chestnut Branch Trail

    Not far from the Big Creek entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a straightforward hiking trail where a streamside 1890s-era logging settlement and other signs of former inhabitants have long since been reclaimed by the forest.

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  5. Food, Family, and Community: Celebrating Christmas in the Great Smoky Mountains

    Celebrating Christmas in the Great Smoky Mountains

    With the Christmas holiday approaching, I thought it only fitting to delve into the history of Christmas celebrations in the Great Smoky Mountains. Rather than consult our traditional archival collections, I decided to plumb the depths of the parks extensive oral history collection to learn how these mountain folk celebrated Christmas in the decades immediately before the establishment of the park. While some of these reminiscences reminded me of stories I’d heard growing up in Texas, others were certainly unique to Southern Appalachia, and some even prompted me to say “I had no idea.”

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  6. Looking towards tomorrow: memories of a holiday hike in the Smokies by Elizabeth Giddens

    Winter in the Smokies

    When I was in grad school at the University of Tennessee in the 1980s, I usually came back to Knoxville from the Christmas break before New Year’s. Doing so gave me a week to get ready for the next quarter at school, plan for classes I would be teaching, clean my drafty and dusty Ft. Sanders apartment, get groceries in, and goof off some. Even so, my hiking friends and I usually found time for a day hike, an all-day one—an extravagance that would not come often once the pressures of classes took over our lives. Another draw was that the park was quiet in January—it was not leaf season, not wildflower time, no rhododendrons blooming. Few folks were on the trails, so we could get a long hike in and be away from care as well as traffic and, well, people.

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  7. Clingmans Dome Visitor Center to host public Open House

    Clingmans Dome Visitor Center

    Before Clingmans Dome Road closes for the winter, Great Smoky Mountains Association invites all park visitors to an open house at the visitor center store in honor of the season.


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  8. Park, Congressional Leaders, and Governor Dedicate Foothills Parkway

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials were joined by Senator Lamar Alexander, Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr, Congressman Phil Roe, Governor Bill Haslam, and NPS Southeast Regional Director Bob Vogel to dedicate the long-awaited section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley, TN before the public opening on Saturday, November 10. The public will be able to experience this new section of roadway for the first time since construction began in 1966, including the 1.65-mile section known as the ‘Missing Link’ which is now connected by a series of nine bridges. 

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  9. EYS Exotics & Invasives: Larry and the Lady HWAs

    Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

    During my most recent Experience Your Smokies class, I learned the details of a sad story. It all started in 1951, when a seemingly innocent shipment of trees made its way from Japan to Richmond, Va. The trees were intended for used as exotic suburban showpieces. Unfortunately, they carried with them an invasive species that would, in 40 years time, almost completely destroy one of the most ecologically important tree species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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  10. Finding solitude, wildflowers on park's Quiet Walkways

    There's nothing better than waking up in the morning and driving to work inside a national park. Even in July and October, when the park's seams feel as they might burst with visitors, working on behalf of the Smokies is the best job I've ever had.

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