With Some Quick Flourishes Of the Pen, Great Smoky Mountains National Park's "Road to Nowhere" Saga Ends

It promised to be the biggest event in Western North Carolina in 67 years – bigger certainly than when Eric Rudolph was caught dumpster diving in Murphy. The North Shore Road controversy in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was over. Swain County was going to get its $52 million over 10 years -- an amount calculated as the present value of the road that was flooded in 1943 to create Fontana Lake and Fontana Dam.

A Look Back at Last Year's Predictions for 2009 Park Travel. How Did the Forecasters Fare?

Park entrance station employee.
A number of NPS areas reported increases in visitation during 2009, but what was the outlook going into last year? Now that the actual results are coming in, let's see how the crystal balls fared.

Just Exactly What Is A National Park "Cooperating Association"? Here's the Answer

The next time you go into a national park visitor center to buy a map, look at the person at the register. She or he won't be wearing the green and gray of a national park uniform; rather an employee of a cooperating association will be taking your money. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, a membership organization, runs the visitor center bookstores and does a lot more.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park's "Road to Nowhere" Saga Set to End Saturday

A decades-long dispute is expected to come to an end Saturday when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar travels to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to sign off on a monetary settlement over the "Road to Nowhere" saga.

Lost in the Boonies? What's Your Most Important Task?

Search dog and handler.
People who find themselves lost in the boonies, whether it's forest, field, desert or other terrain, frequently make the same mistake. If you find yourself unsure which route leads back to civilization, a recent incident at the Buffalo National River offers a clue about your most important task.

Were You One of the Almost 9.5 Million Who Visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2009?

Perhaps it was the sour economy that kept folks close to home on their vacations, or maybe it was the lure of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 75th anniversary. Whatever the reason, Great Smoky saw nearly 9.5 million visitors in 2009, which is the greatest turnout in nearly a decade in the park.

Deadly Weather Buffets Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Parks

Powerful winds and heavy rains descended on the Appalachians on Sunday and lingered into Monday, downing trees, flooding roads, and resulting in a death in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Looking To Gain A Little Structured Education On Your National Park Trip?

Can you tell by looking at a wildflower in Yellowstone National Park what the underlying geology is? Or, while hiking through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, can you identify a bird simply by its song? Do you want to get relatively up close to the elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore? Here's how you can do all those things and more.

Updated: Federal Government Urged To Close Caves Inhabited by Bats on Public Lands to Stop Spread of White-Nose Syndrome

A conservation group is petitioning the federal government with a request that it close all caves and mines inhabited by bats on public lands in a bid to stop the spread of white-nosed syndrome among bats. At the same time, the Center for Biological Diversity wants the Eastern small-footed bat and the Northern long-eared bat to be listed as endangered species.

Contract Issued For "Missing Link" on Foothills Parkway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Work was scheduled to commence today on construction of the "missing link" along the Foothills Parkway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

North Carolina Wildlife Officials Thinking of Reclassifying Status of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Elk

Elk populations seem to be growing satisfactorily in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But does that mean North Carolina wildlife officials should remove the protective status that prevents elk from being hunted in the area?

Work at Sinks Parking Area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Could Impact Your Trail Access

The recent blast of frigid temperatures that descended on Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes word of closure of the Sinks Parking Area in the park largely a so-what deal. But be aware that spring visitors to the park could have some trail access difficulties.

Winter Storm Closes Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive and Some Sections of Blue Ridge Parkway

A major winter storm has created hazardous driving conditions in the three major Appalachian parks. All of Skyline Drive and some sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway have been closed. Great Smoky's Newfound Gap Road is subject to closures at night due to ice.

2009 in Review: Creature Features – Burros, Pythons, Salamanders, Etc.

Traveler's creature features have proved very popular. Here’s the list, with the links.

2009 in Review: Traveler’s Checklists

We posted Traveler’s Checklists for 19 different national parks in 2009. Check ‘em out. You’re sure to find helpful advice and useful tips a-plenty.

Injuries Claim Life of Great Smoky Hiker

A 45-year old woman from Columbia, Maryland, died last night of injuries sustained yesterday morning while day hiking in the Greenbrier area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Decades in the Making, the Uproar Over Great Smoky Mountains National Park's North Shore Road Almost Settled

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, every trail has a history. That’s what makes hiking here so fascinating. But no trail is as historic or as controversial as the Lake Shore Trail, which skirts Fontana Lake in North Carolina. The issue surrounding it is currently the longest-running open item on the park's agenda, but there’s hope it will be resolved soon.

Where to Find Your Christmas Feast in the National Park System

'Tis the season for quiet and peace, snowy woods, frosty starry nights, time with loved ones, festive activities, and eating way too much food. What better way to accomplish all that than to spend the holidays at a national park?

Holiday Homecoming Planned for December 19 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you can't make the "Festival of Christmas Past" this weekend in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you might consider attending the Holiday Homecoming at the park's Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum on December 19.

“Festival of Christmas Past” at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

music group at last year's event
An upcoming event at Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers the combination of Smoky Mountain culture and a holiday celebration. The 34th annual "Festival of Christmas Past" will be held on Saturday, December 12 at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Receives Its Annual Poinsettia And A Plaque

This time Wanetta Johnson brought her son, Eric, and a plaque to thank Great Smoky Mountain National Park rangers for saving her son and a friend stranded in the park's backcountry by a snowstorm 35 years ago.

Endangered Species Coalition Lists 10 Species Endangered By Climate Change

A small turtle from the eastern U.S. A species of trout native to Glacier and North Cascades national parks. Grizzly bears. A prairie orchard. A coral. These are among the ten plant, fish, animal, and bird species listed in a new report as being the "hottest" species imperiled by climate change.
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Thirty-Five Years Later, Great Smoky Mountain National Park Rangers Still Being Thanked for Rescue

Can you ever say "thanks" enough to those who have saved your life or the life of a family member or friend? The parents of two 15-year-old Boy Scouts who were stranded in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park by a blizzard 35 years ago evidently don't think so.

A Hike To LeConte Lodge in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Is Just Part of the Adventure

I am a social hiker. For me, one of the highlights of hiking is meeting friendly and energetic people on the trail. That’s why I love the camaraderie at LeConte Lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The lodge, which can only be reached by foot, is luxurious considering it’s located on top of Mt. LeConte at 6,593 ft. Groups come here for family reunions and some people train for weeks before attempting the trip because it’s the only hiking they do all year.

Clingmans Dome at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Gets a Makeover This Winter

Tower at Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so it's a popular destination for visitors. The road to that location will close on December 1 and likely won't reopen until May 2010, to allow work on several facilities in the area.

Loop Road Through Cades Cove at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Could be Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

The 11-mile-long Loop Road that winds through Cades Cove at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scheduled to be closed Tuesday and part of Wednesday to allow for spraying operations intended to save the hemlock trees that line the route.

Rare Ansel Adams Print of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Acquired By Knoxville Art Museum

A rare shot of Great Smoky Mountains National Park taken by Ansel Adams shortly after World War II has been acquired by a Knoxville, Tennessee, museum.

National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter

This tree is an Asian import that grows fast, spreads fast, damages ecosystems and crop land, and is very tough to eradicate. It stinks, too.

Poaching Charges Pending In Case of Majestic Bull Elk Killed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Federal authorities are bringing charges against a North Carolina man in connection with the shooting of one of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's bull elk, an animal that was one of the largest bulls in the herd.