Author: Lisa Duff

  1. Little Sluice of Heaven: Creek Crossings and Crippling Critters

    Little Sluice of Heaven: Creek Crossings and Crippling Critters

    By Lisa Duff

    When Great Smoky Mountains Association volunteer hike guide Lloyd Shiver suggested we knock out two trails with significant creek crossings this summer, I thought, “Can’t ask for a better time to cool off in the Smokies than late June and July.” Add to that the fact boat rides would be required to cross Fontana Lake at the conclusion of each, I jumped at the chance to join in.

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  2. Little Sluice of Heaven: A tiny sliver of the A.T.

    Rhodo Tunnel Chestnut Branch

    By Lisa Duff

    Memorial Day Monday found me with a mild case of cabin fever, which was a bit strange since CF is typically a wintertime ailment. What happened was this: I’d successfully managed to add a few at-home days to the end of my vacation to allow for ease of real-world re-entry, and Monday, as it turned out, was one day too many.

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  3. Goshen Prong on Mother's Day

    Mother's Day camping

    By Lisa Duff

    Three years ago, as Mother’s Day was approaching, I decided it was high time my daughter and I started a new tradition in recognition of the day dedicated to mothers everywhere. No more would she need to worry herself about what tangible item or simple gesture might make an appropriate gift, I informed her. No shiny trinket, small kitchen appliance or fancy meal out would be necessary for me to feel appreciated.

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  4. Park Announces Spring Opening Schedule

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials finalized the 2019 spring opening schedule for park facilities. Most campgrounds, picnic areas, and roads will open this Friday, April 19, in time for Easter weekend. The remainder of the facilities will open between now and Memorial Day weekend in preparation for the busy summer season.  

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  5. 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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  6. Haunting Views

    “Nah, there’s nothing to be scared of in there,” she told them. Her crooked, bone-thin finger pointed toward Daisy Town, the group’s ultimate destination.

    It was easy to see that her reflection in glass had once undoubtedly inspired poets. Flowing in grey waves down her ever-so-slightly twisted back, her hair evoked memories of raven’s wings. Her cheekbones stood as high as the Alps atop two identically sunken valleys cascading toward her strong jawline. The years had left marks; unflinchingly, she displayed them all.

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  7. Friends of the Smokies to expand its Kodak footprint

    Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Great Smoky Mountains Association, two of the national park’s oldest and most productive partners, have shared space at the Sevierville Visitor Center on Winfield Dunn Parkway near Interstate 40 for more than a decade. GSMA has operated a retail space on the ground level, where it offers visitors educational items designed to enrich their Smoky Mountain experience, while FOTS staff occupied office space directly above.

    However, the organizations’ roles have transformed over time. One has outgrown its share of the space, while the other has felt the need to scale back, making the next move obvious. GSMA plans to close its retail store by Nov. 1 and Friends of the Smokies will convert the first floor into much-needed additional office space.

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  8. Smokies Life Fall 2018: Stories of History, Culture and Survival

    Smokies Life Fall 2018 Edition

    GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Great Smoky Mountains Association’s most recent issue of its award-winning Smokies Life magazine features an in-depth look at new groundbreaking bear research unique to Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the first four chapters of Willa of the Wood, a new best-selling fiction set in the Smokies; 10 compelling archival treasures stored at the Collections Preservation Center; and a comprehensive list of essential preparation techniques for staying safe while exploring the backcountry. 

    “Having lived in both Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, I enjoy sharing stories about the natural and cultural history of the Smokies with our readers,” said Frances Figart, interpretive products and services director and the editor of Smokies Life. “One of my favourite pieces in this issue is David Brill’s first-hand account of a recent trail mishap and rescue as it highlights the importance of being prepared while simultaneously expecting the unexpected in the Smokies.” 







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  9. Great Smoky Mountains Association Nominated for Two IBMA Awards

    GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Great Smoky Mountains Association’s Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition is nominated for two International Bluegrass Music Association Special Awards: Graphic Design by Karen Key and Liner Notes by Ted Olson. 

    The International Bluegrass Music Awards honor members of the bluegrass industry who work behind the scenes. Winners of the Special Awards will be announced Thursday, Sept. 27. Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association—the professional nonprofit association for the bluegrass music industry. 

    Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition is a two-disc set produced by Great Smoky Mountains Association in support of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It features 32 traditional folks ballads for a total of more than two hours of music. Featured performers include Doyle Lawson, Alice Gerrard, Laura Boosinger, David Holt, Rosanne Cash and many others.

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  10. Balsam Mountain Trial

    Balsam Mountain Trial

    After traversing its lower section three times, I dreamed for the next three years of finally hiking the upper section of Balsam Mountain Trail. I finally got my chance this past July.

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