Author: Lisa Duff

  1. Back of Beyond excerpt, park entry fee question both featured in upcoming Smokies Life

    Smokies Life Magazine Cover for Spring 2019

    The most recent Smokies Life magazine – published by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountains Association and due for release this month – tackles some complex issues currently facing the national park by asking questions like “Why not charge an entry fee?”, “Can highways be made safe for wildlife?” and “What secrets will the region’s best anglers freely share with strangers?”

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  2. Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail

    Clingmans Dome Tower

    Clingmans Dome Road, which carries passenger vehicles to the Top of Ol' Smoky, is expected to open to the public about 48 hours ahead of schedule this spring. Weather permitting, look for the gate to swing on the morning of Saturday, March 30.

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  3. Friends of the Smokies, Great Smoky Mountains Association to Fund Weekend Visitor Center Openings Through Presidents’ Day

    Visitor Center Opening

    UPDATE: With the end of the partial government shutdown announced on Friday, January 25, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has reopened its visitor center facilities to the public. However, due to more than a month's absence, park rangers and other NPS employees will require time to get fully up to speed with programs and services. 


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  4. Voice your Support for the Smokies

    Thank you for making the effort to reach out to our country’s elected officials with your thoughts on how the partial government shutdown is impacting Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Great Smoky Mountains Association.

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  5. Friends of the Smokies, Great Smoky Mountains Association to Reopen Park Visitor Centers for MLK Jr. Weekend

    Park Visitor Center Photo by Ken Lund

    KODAK, Tenn. – Friends of the Smokies announced Thursday that it will temporarily fund the reopening of Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, N.C., from Friday through Monday, Jan. 18-21.

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  6. Things to consider when planning a visit to the Smokies

    Cades Cove Visitor Center

    When planning a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the government shutdown, here are some things to keep in mind:

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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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