North Carolina Legislature Retains Specialty Plates For Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Appalachian Trail

NC Smokies plate
The North Carolina Legislature passed a law that now authorizes the use of full-color specialty license plates. This money is used to support several national parks in the state.

Friends Of Smokies, Appalachian Trail Conservancy String More Bear Cables In The Smokies

For the third year in a row the Friends of the Smokies and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy have teamed up to string bear cables in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park so backpackers can keep food and gear away from bruins.

Volunteers Honored At Great Smoky Mountains National Park For Thousands Of Hours Of Service

Volunteers are a large part of the national park community, donating time and sweat to help improve their favorite park. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials recently honored some volunteers who eclipsed 5,000 hours of service to the park.

Chimney Tops Trail Reopens In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Just in time for the extended Fourth of July weekend, the Chimney Tops Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been reopened after extensive trail work. However, more work to the trail will require temporary closures in the weeks to come.

Update: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trails Closed By Storm Damage, Hiker Injured

A military helicopter was used Friday to airlift an injured hiker from the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the wake of a tornado that raked the area and left behind a jumbled tangle of trees that made a foot rescue impractical.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Will Offer Raptor Program Thursday

A program on raptors that soar above Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be offered this Thursday at the Oconaluftee Multipurpose Room.

Essential Friends + Gateways: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, A Great Gateway To The Smokies

What could be better than combining the Great Smokies, America’s most-visited national park, with an iconic gateway to summer fun in the South?

Democratic Congressman Laments Impact Of Budget Sequestration On National Parks

Just ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional kickoff to summer, a Democratic congressman has released a report pointing to how the budget sequestration has impacted the National Park System, citing reduced search-and-rescue capabilities in some parks to dirtier restrooms in others.

More Road Work In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

More road work -- relatively straightforward paving, not reconstruction -- is coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer.

Reader Participation Day: Which Flowers Mean "Spring Is Here" In The National Parks?

The spring and early summer blooming season is well underway in much of the country, and for many people that brings to mind some specific varieties of wildflowers or blooming trees or shrubs that they associate with a particular National Park Service area. Do you have any favorite "park flowers"?

Secret Sleeps, Tips For Snagging A National Park Campsite This Summer

There is nothing as traditional as camping out in the national parks for summer vacation. Reserving a campsite on www.recreation.gov can lock in a site long before you hit the road, but sometimes you just don’t get around to doing that. So what to do?

Around The Parks: Fireflies In The Smokies, Family Days Along The C&O Canal, Hiking In Acadia, Visitor Center Hours At Voyageurs

Summer can't be far off, as the fireflies will be flashing soon in the Smokies, family days are scheduled at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, a hiking adventure will be offered at Acadia National Park, and visitor hours at Voyageurs National Park are shortened a bit due to sequestration.

Trails Damaged By F4 Tornado Reopened In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With 800 miles of trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just keeping up with normal wear and tear in the heavily visited park is a challenge for park employees and volunteers. That job became much more difficult when an F4 tornado ripped a 17-mile-long swath through the park and adjacent areas back in 2011, toppling thousands of trees.

Sample Mountains-to-Sea Trail With May 4th Hike And Talk At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail is a thousand-mile route for hikers across North Carolina, and you can get a short sample with a two-hour hike followed by a talk about the trail on Saturday, May 4 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more qualified hike leader and speaker, because Danny Bernstein has walked the entire length of the trail,

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Needs Help Monitoring Elk And Visitors

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking volunteers to assist rangers with managing traffic and providing visitor information on responsible elk viewing practices in the Cataloochee area of the park.

Searching For Wildflowers In The National Parks Of The Southern And Middle Appalachians

Bloodroot
This is the time for wildflowers in the Appalachians. Where can you see them? Wildflower weekends are being hosted by many parks in the next few weeks. Going with an expert is the best way to learn about wildflowers.

Tennessee's House Of Representatives Opposes Backcountry Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In its biggest political coup to date, a group fighting the backcountry fees charged at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gotten the backing of the Tennessee State House of Representatives.

Enjoy “Music Of The Mountains” At Great Smoky Mountains National Park April 19-21

Looking for some music this coming weekend at a great price? Great Smoky Mountains National Park will hold its 9th annual “Music of the Mountains” celebration Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21, and the event offers a nice variety of tunes and styles in several settings in and near the park.

Newfound Gap Road Across Great Smoky Mountains National Park Open End-To-End

The entire Newfound Gap Road across Great Smoky Mountains National Park reopened today between Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina, a month ahead of schedule.

Can You Name The Most-Visited Units Of The National Park System From 2012?

Acadia, Yellowstone, and Yosemite are some of the most adored units of the National Park System, but they don't show up in the top 10 list of most-visited parks during 2012. They're quite a ways from the top 10, actually.

Another County Voices Opposition To Backcountry Fees At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Opposition continues to mount in the counties surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park to backcountry fees the park instituted earlier this year.

Snow Delays Spring Opening Of Clingmans Dome Road At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The calendar may show it's spring, but you wouldn't know it by conditions across much of the country this week. Among the areas where winter just won't let go is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where a recent snowstorm will delay the planned spring opening of the road to Clingmans Dome.

Another County Opposes Backcountry Fees At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Another county whose lands include Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gone on record opposing the park's fee for overnight backcountry use.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Closing Some Campgrounds Due To Budget Cuts

Three front-country campgrounds at Great Smoky Mountains National Park won't open this year due to the budget cuts brought on by the federal government's inability to resolve taxing and spending differences.

Traveler's View: Congress, National Park Service Need To Restructure Fees For Centennial Celebration

"Mountaineers are always free" is West Virginia's state motto, but that sentiment is getting harder and harder to find in the National Park System, where an imbalance in fee structures charges you for sleeping on the bare ground but not for burning gas as you negotiate the 11-mile loop of Cades Cove.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Draws Lawsuit

What authority does the National Park Service have to charge access fees in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and, presumably, other national parks? That question is the focus of a lawsuit filed in a bid to overturn the Smokies' move to charge backcountry users.

NPS Academy, Alternative Spring Break Bringing Youth To National Parks

Spring break is commencing at colleges around the country, and for more than 200 students that means a trip not to the beach, but to a national park to participate either in the National Park Service Academy or an "Alternative Spring Break" program in parks.

Traveler's Gear Box: Tubbs Wilderness Snowshoes

It must be tough to be a snowshoe manufacturer. Since most recreational shoes moved away from wooden frames to aluminum ones, their lifespan went up incredibly. But that doesn't mean it might not be time for you to upgrade to one of the latest models.

Interior Secretary, National Park Service Director Lament Looming Budget Cuts

Fewer rangers for search-and-rescue missions, closed campgrounds, and possibly more devastating forest fires are facing the National Park Service as a result of the looming budget fiasco, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said Monday.

Grand Canyon National Park Ranger Honored As Park Service's Top Ranger

A Grand Canyon National Park ranger, one who you might see dangling from a helicopter to help an injured visitor, has been honored as the National Park Service's top ranger.