Author: Frances Figart

  1. Writer in Residence Finally Arrives in America’s Most-Visited Park

    Writer in Residence Finally Arrives in America’s Most-Visited Park Sue Wasserman of Bakersville, North Carolina, is the 2022 Steve Kemp Writer-in-Residence, which means she will be living near and working in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for six weeks. She’ll be writing, creating photography, and offering public programs both on the Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the park. Wasserman was Read more...
  2. Plant life makes a comeback after 2016 wildfires

    Plant life makes a comeback after 2016 wildfires By Alix Pfennigwerth A few days after the arson-caused 2016 Chimney Tops 2 wildfire spread across 11,000 acres of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Rob Klein, a National Park Service fire ecologist, hiked up the park’s Bull Head Trail. National Park Service fire ecologist Rob Klein discusses the impacts of the 2016 Read more...
  3. Photographer and parks shine a light on the magic of fireflies

    Photographer and parks shine a light on the magic of fireflies Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to large populations of synchronous fireflies, which create a magical spectacle that draws thousands of visitors each year. The park will host the annual synchronous firefly viewing opportunity at its popular Elkmont Campground June 3–10 this year, but there are many other places where this Read more...
  4. Great Smoky Mountains Association Honored with Two National Awards

    Great Smoky Mountains Association Honored with Two National Awards Great Smoky Mountains Association won national recognition in two categories in the 2022 Public Lands Alliance Partnership Awards, celebrated with a virtual ceremony held Wednesday, April 20. At this year’s event, the Storybook Trail of the Smokies was recognized for Outstanding Public Engagement for Program/Service, and the GSMA- Read more...
  5. Reducing artificial light at night (ALAN) can save thousands of park bird species

    Reducing artificial light at night (ALAN) can save thousands of park bird species Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a vital part of the greater southern Appalachian region through which many bird species migrate to and from their breeding grounds in warmer climates. Birds traveling at night have used the stars for millennia to help them navigate safely to their destinations. But thousands of birds who regularly visit Read more...
  6. Marker to Honor Japanese Photographer George Masa, a New Kind of Picture-Maker

    Marker to Honor Japanese Photographer George Masa, a New Kind of Picture-Maker Most people know that North Carolina and Tennessee share the most visited park in the nation, and that the total number of visitors to the Smokies in 2021 exceeded 14 million. But many may not yet know that one of the figures responsible for the Smokies even becoming a park was a sprightly Japanese man with a big grin, a clunky camera that was Read more...
  7. Data Monitoring Protects Species for the Long Haul

    Data Monitoring Protects Species for the Long Haul Most of the scientists on staff at Great Smoky Mountains National Park contribute in some way to the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI), an ongoing catalog of all Smokies life forms. Managed by nonprofit park partner Discover Life in America in cooperation with park service staff, students, community scientists, and researchers from around Read more...
  8. Permanent Camp: The Principle of Verticality

    Permanent Camp: The Principle of Verticality Image of George and Elizabeth Ellison by Quintin Ellison By George Ellison There are a few basic concepts that have helped me through the years to sort out the almost bewildering diversity of the geologic aspects, plants, animals, and natural areas that make up these very old mountains we call home. The “Principle of Read more...
  9. TEDx Speaker Champions Safe Passage Project for Wildlife

    TEDx Speaker Champions Safe Passage Project for Wildlife When Nikki Robinson walked out onto the stage during the final dress rehearsal for TEDx Asheville last month, the spotlights of the Diana Wortham Theatre shining in her eyes, she thought, “This is what it feels like to be a deer in the headlights.” And then she smiled and relaxed a bit, realizing the irony of that thought. After Read more...
  10. Northern River Otters Stage a Comeback

    Northern River Otters Stage a Comeback Intriguing, humorous, and stealthy, river otters are seldom seen. But after being gone for 50 years, they have reclaimed their place as denizens of the Southern Appalachians. “Otters make their homes in many watersheds in and around our mountain region and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” said Supervisory Wildlife Biologist Read more...

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