If you live in the Tennessee-North Carolina area, tune in Thursday night to support Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The telethon, now in its 20th year, is hosted by Friends of the Smokies. Over the years it has raised nearly $3 million for use in the park.
“For 20 years, this broadcast has provided viewers with a special opportunity to learn more about the national treasure right in our own backyard,” said Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart. “We are excited to celebrate this milestone and we are very thankful for the generous financial support that viewers provide each year to help the park.”
This year’s broadcast will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday on WLOS-TV Channel 13 in Asheville and WBIR-TV Channel 10 in Knoxville. The 20th Annual telethon is generously sponsored by Dollywood, Mast General Store, and Pilot Flying J, and with enthusiastic volunteer support from First Tennessee Bank and Home Federal Bank.
Viewers of the Telethon will see many of the park's needs that Friends of the Smokies is funding this year -- nearly $1.6 million to support education, conservation, recreation, and historic preservation in 2014. Current projects include continued rehabilitation of the Chimney Tops Trail by the Trails Forever crew, ongoing suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid, supporting bear and elk management and funding for Parks as Classrooms environmental education programs for more than 18,000 students.
Individuals and business owners have three different ways to make a gift. They can make a donation online today at www.friendsofthesmokies.org, they can call Friends’ toll free telethon hotline during the Friends Across the Mountains broadcast to make a pledge over the phone, or they can call Friends of the Smokies and ask for a donation form to be mailed to them (Waynesville NC Office, 828-452-0720; Sevierville TN Office, 865-932-4794 or 800-845-5665).