National Park Adventures & History

  1. Gatlinburg’s Artist Community in New Smokies Life

    Gatlinburg’s Artist Community in New Smokies Life

    The idea for a series of stories about artists in park gateway communities came to us via Kathie Thomas of Gatlinburg’s HighLand Craft Gallery. Her objective was simple: share about the crafts of local families whose artisan heritage stretches back to pre-park days. I loved the idea and enlisted Sue Wasserman to do the research and writing.

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  2. Cucumber Gap Loop inspires parental guidance

    Cucumber Gap Loop inspires parental guidance

    By Karek Key

    I had just come off of a really bad and frustrating weekend of parenting. It was Labor Day, and we had way too many plans and stretched ourselves way too thin. After a lot of stimulation and not enough sleep, it all exploded on Monday. Whining, tears and mysteriously vanished listening skills all resulted in me overreacting and yelling. All in all, we were not at our best selves.

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  3. Can you hear me now? Telephones in the Smokies

    Can you hear me now? Telephones in the Smokies

    If you’ve ever tried to make a call from your cell phone in the Smokies, you know how nearly impossible it can be. If you don’t have the right service provider or if you’re not standing in exactly the right magical spot, you can’t get a signal for love or money. What if I told you that in the 1890s, if you were in Cades Cove at least, you could have made a phone call as simply as picking up a telephone receiver and turning a hand crank?

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  4. Park Superintendent Recognizes First African American Naturalist

    Park Superintendent Recognizes First African American Naturalist

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash on Thursday, August 29,had the unique opportunity to meet and recognize Dr. Joe Lee of Jupiter, FL, for his service as the first African American park naturalist. Superintendent Cash presented Dr. Lee with a mounted ranger hat in honor of his contribution to the history of the National Park Service.

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  5. My first backpacking trip will not be my last

    My first backpacking trip will not be my last

    By Logan Boldon

    Member Events Specialist

    When I think of the ultimate backpacker, Samwise Gamgee from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series immediately comes to mind. This stout little hobbit who’d never left the Shire made it all the way to Mordor toting a simple rucksack. With pots and pans clanging, Sam climbed over mountains and waded through swamps, camping out along the way with enough fortitude to give lectures on the goodness of potatoes and contemplate the taste of strawberries as the world turned to chaos over a silly little ring. Who can compete with that? Certainly not me.

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  6. Sorghum-making demonstrations return to the Smokies

    Sorghum-making demonstration

    As the days grow shorter and the leaves begin to change, it can only mean one thing – it’s sorghum making time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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  7. Family Heirlooms Come Back to the Smokies

    Alexander Lawson - Dresser

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently received a priceless donation of Cades Cove artifacts to the museum collections. The great-granddaughter of Dan and Sidney Lawson, Robin Derryberry of Chattanooga, TN, donated a chest of drawers, family Bible, wedding portraits, and other family photographs to the National Park Service for longterm preservation at the National Park Service Collections Preservation Center in Townsend, TN.

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  8. The Road that Led Around the World

    Newfound Gap Road

    By Mike Aday

    What do Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ethiopia, Panama and Alaska have in common? They can all boast major roads built by one man, Knoxville native John L. Humbard. Well, technically, a lot of men were involved, but Humbard supervised them all.

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  9. 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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  10. The Strange Case of Cades Lake

    Cades Map

    Depending on who you were and what you stood for, the idea of turning most of Cades Cove into a 50-foot-deep lake—three miles long and two miles wide—was either brilliant or terrible.

    Pro-lake constituents included National Park Service Director Arno B. Cammerer (immortalized by the naming of Mt. Cammerer), Tennessee Governor Gordon Browning, the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association, park booster Col. David Chapman, and Knoxville City Manager George Dempster.

    Those opposed included acting and former NPS Directors Stephen Mather and Horace Albright, Robert Sterling Yard of the National Parks Association, and stalwart conservationists Harvey Broome Benton MacKaye.

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