Elk Herd at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Surpasses 100 In Number

Great Smoky Mountains National Park lures visitors with its rumpled, mist-cloaked mountains, its leaping streams, dense forests, and Appalachian history. The thrill of hearing a bull elk's bugle echoing off the mountainsides also is becoming a powerful lure, thanks to an elk recovery program that's developed a healthy herd of the iconic ungulates in the Cataloochee Valley and Oconaluftee areas.

Cades Cove Loop Road at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Set for a Major Redo Next Spring

Cades Cove Loop Road
A popular drive in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is getting an overhaul next spring. Work will close the Cades Cove Loop Road but not other facilities at Cades Cove for about three months, and the project will use a method designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Is Updating Its Approach to Fire Management – Comments are Welcome

Firefighters at work.
How should wildland fires be managed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park? The park is updating its plan to answer that question, and has prepared an Environmental Assessment as part of the process. If you have an opinion, now's the time to let the park know your views.

National Park Quiz 71: Are There Any?

Sure, you know what can be found in this or that park, but do you what things aren’t found there? Take this quiz and find out. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll tattle on you.

Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders

Where do you go to digitally capture fall colors in the National Park System? The National Park Foundation released a list of the Top 10 parks for fall color the other day, and there are some old stalwarts, and some upstarts as well!

Exhibit at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Part Art Show, Part Biodiversity Display

Visit the Sugarlands Visitor Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the coming months and you'll come away with a true appreciation of art in nature.

Stargazing Outing Planned for Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

You can add Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the growing list of parks that are offering stargazing programs thanks to the generally dark skies overhead.

Lost in Time: A Manuscript From Horace Kephart, A Driver Behind the Designation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Horace Kephart is best-known for his role in raising public support for what became the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and as the author of two non-fiction books that have become classics. Tucked away for 80 years was a literary surprise: the completed manuscript for a Kephard novel. It's just been published by the Great Smoky Mountains Association and the timing is appropriate: this year is the park's 75th anniversary.

Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The requirement to keep dogs on a leash is observed by most—but not all—visitors to national parks. A recent incident in Great Smoky Mountains National Park involving a pit bull and a deer offers a vivid example of one reason for the regulation.

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

National parks represent a spectacular legacy handed down to today’s generations, but it is one that also carries a hefty responsibility of stewardship. That becomes quickly obvious in Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. This notion of responsible stewardship is not new at all. In many ways it’s trite.

National Park Quiz 69: Camping

Camping in the national parks is a lot of fun, and so is this quiz. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you explain the modern-day appeal of backcountry camping in the context of the classic three-stage Pastoral Retreat model elucidated by literary historian Leo Marx.

Fall Harvest Festival This Weekend At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you've ever wondered how they make sorghum syrup, head to Great Smoky Mountains National Park this Saturday to find out the process. That and other mountain arts will be on display during the park's annual Mountain Life Festival at the park's Mountain Farm Museum.

With the Fall Rut Beginning, Wind Cave National Park Rangers Leading Elk Bugling Programs

One of the oddest sounds you might encounter in a national park at this time of year is the high-pitched squeal of elk. Better known as "bugling," this sound is as magical as that of a wolf howl hanging in the air.

National Park Quiz 68: Fishing

Take this quiz and see if you are piscatorially competent. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we'll make you tell us where the fish are biting.

Great Smoky’s Highway 441 to be Closed Temporarily for 75th Anniversary Rededication Ceremony

Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441), the only highway crossing Great Smoky Mountains National Park between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, will be closed from sunset Tuesday, September 1, until late afternoon Wednesday, September 2.

70-Year-Old Backpacker Airlifted Out of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spam, fruit, and rainwater sustained a lost 70-year-old backpacker in Great Smoky Mountains National Park who was hoisted to safety Sunday morning by a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter after being stranded atop an outcrop for the past week.

Updated: Missing Backpacker Found in Good Condition in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A backpacker missing since Tuesday in the rugged backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been found in good condition but will have to spend another night in the woods, officials said Saturday afternoon.

Searchers Set to Resume Search For Backpacker Missing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Searchers who have been scouring parts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in search of a missing backpacker hoped to be aided Saturday by dogs trained to pick up the human scent.

Wet, Rugged Conditions Make Search Tricky For Missing Backpacker at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wet and extremely rugged conditions were hampering a search Friday at Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a 70-year-old backpacker who had been expected to return from a trip on Tuesday.

On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System

The National Park Service's National Leadership Council met in Ohio last week. The meeting of the agency's top management was supposed to be the first under the direction of Jon Jarvis as Park Service director. Political gamesmanship, and apparently a dose of bureaucracy, unfortunately left Mr. Jarvis wearing his Pacific West Region director's hat.

Roads Closed by Rockslides at Olympic and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks Reopen

Roads in two NPS areas that were closed recently due to rockslides have reopened in time for the coming weekend. The routes are an eight-mile section of Little River Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals

The climate is not static. Ice ages come and go, pushing rivers of ice south and then pulling them back north across continents as temperatures and snowfalls rise and fall. Animal and plant species either stay ahead of these icy incursions and adapt, or perish.

Rock Slide Closes Little River Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park For the Weekend

Heading to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the weekend? Then know that a section of the Little River Road near the Elkmont Campground has been closed by a rock slide.
To those who love mushrooms, what could be finer than sauteing up a mess of freshly collected 'shrooms to go along with your freeze-dried dinner or the trout you hooked in the backcountry of a national park? A teaspoon of garlic, a dash of salt, and a couple cranks of the pepper mill and you'll have a wonderful complement to your meal. Unless, of course, you picked the wrong mushroom, in which case this could be your last meal.

National Park Quiz 66: Cemeteries

You won’t need to be a genealogist to enjoy Quiz #66. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write on the whiteboard 100 times: “Contrary to popular opinion, there is no letter ‘a’ in the word cemetery.”

World's Wildlife Populations Are Struggling Despite Global Pledges to Protect Biodiversity

Seven years ago, governments around the world pledged to achieve a "significant reduction" in the ongoing loss of biodiversity by 2010. Unfortunately, the latest IUCN report says that goal will not be met, and that the wildlife crisis is greater than the world's economic crisis.

Updated: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Search Ends Up With a Happy Ending

A woman whose disappearance into the storm-swollen Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park had authorities fearing the worst turned up in good physical condition Saturday morning.

Search Under Way Friday Afternoon For Woman Who Jumped or Fell Into Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A search was under way Friday afternoon for a woman who either jumped or fell into the Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The search was along the river from the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area towards Townsend.

American Recovery Act Putting Your Tax Dollars To Work in National Parks

True, when you consider that the maintenance backlog across the National Park System is some $8 billion or so, the $750 million-$920 million being spent in the parks courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act isn't that significant. Still, some good work is being done with the money.

Visitation to National Parks Is On the Upswing, Entrance-Fee-Free Weekends Partly to Blame

There's a growing problem with national park visitation. In short, too many people are returning to the parks, creating problems for staffing and people management.