Traveler's View: Republican Presidential Contenders' Dim View of Federal Lands Is Short-Sighted

Though national parks, per se, haven't come up during any of the debates among the Republican presidential candidates, their statements on federal lands in general look down upon the public landscape.

New License Plate Lets North Carolina Motorists Support Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A newly designed license plate allows North Carolina motorists to show their support for Great Smoky Mountains National Park while contributing dollars to projects funded by Friends of the Smokies.

High Spike In Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitation Attributed To Good Weather

Great weather, when compared to January 2011, is thought to be behind a nearly 24 percent increase in visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park this past January.

Dr. E.O. Wilson To Help Celebrate Search For Life At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It was back in 1998 that a dedicated search for all forms of life in Great Smoky Mountains National Park began. Now, as the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory moves into its 15th year, the project is being celebrated with a gathering headlined by Dr. E.O. Wilson.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Looking To Backcountry User Fee To Improve Services, Protect Resources

As federal dollars flowing out of Washington, D.C., continue to be hard to come by, more and more national park managers are looking towards user fees to make ends meet. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park such a fee for backcountry has brought both commendation and condemnation.

Camping In The Parks: Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cataloochee Valley
This may be the middle of winter, but this is the time to make reservations for Cataloochee Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy Gives Friends of The Smokies $2,000 For Bear Cables In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A $2,000 grant from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to Friends of Smokies is going a long way to help backpackers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park keep their food out of the reach of bears.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitors Biggest Spenders In National Park System

Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park leave quite a bit behind when they head home after visiting the park. In fact, a study shows that in 2010 the park's 9 million or so visitors spent more than $818 million in gateway communities surrounding the national park.
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Partners Develop Program To Strengthen Connections With Surrounding Community

For many national parks, their best partners are their neighbors in surrounding communities. With that in mind, the folks at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are working with Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountain Association to strengthen connections with leaders in surrounding communities.

REI Donates $10,000 To Friends of The Smokies

A $10,000 grant from REI to Friends of the Smokies will make it a little bit easier for the friends group to improve trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Slain Mount Rainier National Park Ranger 9th In Park Service History To Be Murdered In Line of Duty

When Mount Rainier National Park law enforcement Ranger Margaret Anderson was shot and killed on New Year's Day, she became the ninth ranger in the history of the National Park Service to be murdered in the line of duty, according to Park Service records.

Books We've Read This Year, And Actually Liked!

Despite the impending doom that pixels were expected to hand the printed word, we're happy to report that publishers are still turning out books, and more than a few that crossed our desks this year are worth your attention.

Trails I've Hiked: Lake Shore Loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Road to Nowhere tunnel
Lake Shore Loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great winter hike. It offers history, a visit to a cemetery and reminders that the area still makes news today.

Trails We Hiked During 2011

We managed to get out on some national park trails during 2011 -- not as many as we'd like, but still a few that brought smiles to our faces. Here's a look back at those trails.

Winter: A “Secret Season” in the South’s Loftiest National Parks

When the snow closure signs go up on portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains, cross country skiers and snowshoers are often seen striding and stomping into a winter wonderland.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Receives a Generous and Timely Gift

This gift won't fit under the Christmas tree, but Great Smoky Mountains National Park—and everyone who loves and enjoys the Smokies—can celebrate a generous donation to the park from the non-profit group Friends of the Smokies.

Visitation Continues To Slide At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It might have been the weather, the doldrums of the economy, or the fact that Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 75th anniversary is two years gone. Whatever the cause, visitation to the park continues to slide.

100 National Park Quizzes

Traveler has published 100 national park quizzes for your edification and amusement. Here is the master list with hotlinks.

Hiker Wants Great Smokies Mountain National Park To Divulge Comments On Proposed Backcountry Fee

Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are being asked to make public all the comments they received on a proposal to charge for overnight backcountry use.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ready For 36th Annual Festival of Christmas Past

The 36th edition of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Festival of Christmas Past is set for Saturday at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Grant Will Rehabilitate Boone Fork Trail Portion of Mountains-to-Sea Trail on Blue Ridge Parkway

A $75,000 grant from the North Carolina Recreation Trails Program will fund rehabilitation and improvement of one the most popular trails in Julian Price Memorial Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rehabilitating Forney Ridge Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Forever

Forney Ridge Trail pic 1 - before
The Smokies Trails Forever endowment has paid for the rehabilitation of Forney Ridge Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The formerly muddy and slippery trail is now a beautiful work of trail art.

Visitation Down At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was down 9.5 percent in Octoer, and for the year it is down almost 7 percent, according to park officials.

License Tag Law Threatens Support for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

License tag money has helped support national parks in North Carolina for over a decade. But a new law enacted by the Republican legislature will decrease the amount of money that will go to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Four Men Given Jail Time For Digging Up Gingseng In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Jail terms ranging from 15 days to 120 days were handed to four men convicted of digging ginseng in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Here's A Handy List of 2012 Workshops In And Around Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you're a diehard fan of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, here's a handy list of some of the classes and workshops to be held in the park next year.

Some National Park-Related Groups That Deserve Your Donation

While there are still two months left to 2011, it's not too early to think about making a tax-deductible contribution to your favorite national park-related organization.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Gets Approval For Elk Management Plan

For the past decade Great Smoky Mountains National Park biologists and staff worked to restore a permanent elk herd to the park's rumpled mountains. So successful were those efforts that they've removed the "experimental" tag from the herd and adopted a long-range management plan for the elk.

Camping and Woodcraft by Horace Kephart

Camping and Woodcraft bookcover
Camping and Woodcraft by Horace Kephart has been republished by the Great Smoky Mountains Association. With new photographs and completely remastered, this is the book to read for useful information and for just plain good reading.

How Many Elk Does it Take to Make a Jam?

It would be reasonable to expect a bit of traffic on a beautiful October afternoon in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—especially if the road in question is U.S. Highway 441 through the center of the popular park. So…how many elk does it take to jam up the works?