Clingmans Dome Tower Rehabilitation Project UnderwayPosted by | 08.24.2017
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower has been closed for the remainder of the 2017 season to complete rehabilitation work, thanks to funding received from a Partners in Preservation grant. The $250,000 grant was awarded last summer to the Friends of the Smokies on behalf of the park after being one of the top nine most-voted-for parks in the Partners in Preservation: National Parks Campaign in 2016.
While visitors will not be able to climb the tower for views, the Clingmans Dome parking overlook will be open and offers outstanding mountaintop views. The visitor contact station and store, the trail to the tower, and all access to trailheads in the vicinity will remain open. Visitors should expect some construction traffic in the vicinity of the contact station and along the trail.
Straddling the North Carolina-Tennessee state line at 6,643 feet, the tower is a prominent landmark and destination as the highest point in the park. The rehabilitation work will consist of repairing the worst deteriorated areas on the concrete columns and walls, stabilizing support walls at the base of the ramp, and repointing some stone masonry. To accomplish this work in a timely manner and for the safety of our visitors, the tower will be closed for the duration of the project.
The observation tower is a precedent-setting design of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program, which transformed park planning, management, and architecture and fundamentally altered the visitor experience in national parks. Since 1959, millions of visitors have climbed the tower to see distances of up to 100 miles over the surrounding mountains and valleys.
"Some minimal preservation work today on the tower will ensure that visitors continue to experience this unique structure spiraling up from the highest point in the park," a GSMNP spokesman said.
For more information about the Clingmans Dome Tower, please visit the park website.
About Partners in Preservation: Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country. Since 2006, Partners in Preservation, a community-based partnership, has committed $16 million in preservation funding to nearly 200 diverse sites in eight different cities across the country. Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public's awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America's historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.