Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Elk Population Growing at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If the elk herd at Great Smoky Mountains National Park keeps growing like this, perhaps a gray wolf recovery program will be needed to keep the ungulates from over-grazing the park.
A Natural History Guide: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Usually when I visualize Great Smoky Mountains National Park, what comes to mind are heavily forested mountains cut by leaping creeks, roamed by black bears, and packed with salamanders. But if you talk to Donald Linzey, he'll open your eyes to a lot more of the park's natural history.

National Park Quiz 32: Survival

This week’s quiz is about surviving – or even better, avoiding – dangerous situations in national parks. Answers are at the end. This is serious stuff, so you’re welcome to peek all you like.

'Tis the Season In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It's not Walton's Mountain, and John Boy and the Soggy Bottom Boys probably will not be there, but if you enjoy an old-fashioned Appalachian Mountains Christmas festival, mark December 13 on your calendar.

Federal Judge Orders Scrutiny of Power Plant Emission Control Plans

Conservation groups are cheering a federal judge's ruling that could provide more definite protection of the air over Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Injuries Prove Fatal To Hiker Who Fell in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A 25-year-old Tennessean died Wednesday from injuries suffered nearly a month ago in a fall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Bush Administration: Slash and Burn on The Way Out of Office?

As the end of the Bush administration nears, it's natural for many to look back on the past eight years and try to assess the sum impact. In the case of public lands and natural resources, it's relatively easy to castigate the outgoing administration for its seemingly heavy hand on that landscape.

National Park Quiz 30: Gathering

On Thanksgiving Eve our thoughts naturally turn to food. Let’s see how you do on this week’s quiz, which deals with edible plants growing in national parks. (We’ll leave hunting and fishing out of this one, since we plan to put together separate quizzes for these activities.) Answers are at the end.

From Job Creation to Everglades Czar, Green Groups Have Lengthy National Parks Wishlist

Lower Falls, Yellowstone National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo.
A coalition of nearly 30 "green groups" has a lengthy to-do list for the incoming Obama administration when it comes to the National Park System. For starters, they say, let's include the parks in the economic stimuli being proposed, expect more from National Park Service leadership, and protect the natural resources.
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Bug Spraying Will Briefly Close Cades Cove Loop Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Ahh, the lowly wooly adelgid. This nasty import, though small, has been threatening the viability of hemlock trees in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In an effort to blunt its advance, park technicians will be spraying trees in Cades Cove early next month. As a result, the loop road will be temporarily closed.

Backpacker's Most Dangerous Hikes: The National Parks are Well-Represented

Today's younger generations want thrills? Well, the National Park System has plenty of them, from incredible white-water opportunities and climbs to some of what Backpacker magazine calls the most dangerous hikes in America.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove

It ain't gonna be pretty, but it's gotta be done. And with that in mind, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will hold a public meeting next week to discuss alternatives for paving the 11-mile loop road around Cades Cove.

What Ghostly Encounters Might You Have in Harpers Ferry or Great Smoky Mountains?

No doubt there are more than a few national park settings where the ghouls and ghosts might come out this Hallows' Eve. As we previously mentioned, the folks at Voyageurs National Park are planning a flashlight tour with story-telling, and more scary stories are to unfold in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Friday evening at the Mountain Farm Museum.

Shuttles Make Visiting Cades Cove In Great Smoky Mountains National Park A Bit Easier

If you've ever driven through Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you know how slow that can be due to all the vehicles trying to negotiate the 11-mile loop road. Well, things are going to be a bit easier now thanks to a shuttle service that debuted today.

Trails Forever Program Facilitates High-Priority Trail Improvements at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Friends of the Smokies created their Trails Forever program to help with high-priority trails projects at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Trails Forever endowment goal is a hefty $4 million. Trails Forever is currently seeking volunteers to help with two major trail projects in the park.

Capturing Fall's Splendor in the National Park System

A few years ago we decided to brave the throngs of visitors and see Virginia’s fall display in Shenandoah National Park (where, ironically, the highest visitation month is October!) and drive the famed Skyline Drive. With the colors at their peak around our home in Pennsylvania, we figured that Shenandoah's forests would be nearing their peak as well.

National Park Quiz 25: Threatened and Endangered

This week’s quiz focuses on troubled species. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write “Encountering a four-meter Crocodylus acutus can cause severe de-puckering of the anal sphincter” 100 times on the whiteboard.

Conservation Groups Sue to Cut Air Pollution Over Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Whenever talk turns to air pollution and impacts on national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the first parks mentioned. A coalition of conservation groups went to court today with hopes of preventing the park's pollution problems from growing.

Singer Dolly Parton Named Ambassador for Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Anniversary

Dolly Parton grew up in Tennessee not far from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, she's sung My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, Mule Skinner Blues, My Tennessee Mountain Home, and Tennessee Homesick Blues, so should it be any surprise that the singer has been named ambassador for the park's 75th birthday?

National Park Quiz 22: Angels and Saints

Quiz 10 on July 9 was “Speak of the Devil.” Fair is fair, so this week we’ll turn the focus in the heavenly direction and deal with angels, saints, and such. Answers are at the end. If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write “The cognitive complexities of the term ‘saint’ render lexical disambiguation extraordinarily challenging” 100 times on the whiteboard.

Getting American Youth More Involved in the National Parks is a Difficult Challenge and a Golden Opportunity

Nurturing broadly-based advocacy for the national parks has never been more critical, and promoting greater youth interest and visitation is a key consideration. Some progress is being made, but much more can be done.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps

On Saturday, September 27, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a day of activities celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps. At various times during 1933-1942, around 4,000 enrollees assigned to 22 CCC camps built roads, trails, fire towers, and other structures in the park.

National Park History: “The Spirit of the Civilian Conservation Corps”

The year was 1932, and America was in the midst of the worst economic downturn in history. Unemployment stood at 25 percent; homelessness at two million people. When Americans went to the polls, they overwhelmingly elected Franklin D. Roosevelt president. FDR immediately sought 'relief, recovery, and reform' to rebuild America's tattered economy. FDR was not interested in merely handing out money to people. Instead, he wanted to put them to work.

Visitation Decline at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Has Area Businesses, Residents, and Governments Worried

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the busiest of the flagship National Parks, reports 5% lower visitation at its main entrances and anticipates 250,000 fewer visitors this year. The related decline in visitor-based income and tax revenues has area businesses, employees, and governments fretting.

Fall Colors: What Can We Expect Across the National Park System?

A Labor Day weekend cold front dropped snow levels in some parts of the Rockies to below 10,000, which is a pretty good indicator that fall is not far off. And so, with that warning, it's only natural to wonder how the fall color displays will be in the national parks.

Sky-High Ginseng Prices Boost Illegal Harvest in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With ginseng fetching record high prices, illegal harvesting has increased in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is a serious federal crime. Convicted ginseng poachers get hefty fines and jail time.

Body of Kayaker Missing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Recovered

Rangers in Great Smoky Mountain National Park have recovered the body of a kayaker who was reported missing during a short paddle on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

Vets To Determine Whether Bear That Attacked Father and Son in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Had Rabies

Veterinarians at the University of Tennessee are performing a necropsy on a black bear that attacked a boy and his father in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to determine whether the bruin had rabies or some other health problem.

Traveler's Picks for Where to Get Wet in the National Park System

We definitely are in the dog days of summer. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park the temperature's been well into the 90s, and with the high humidity, well, you really do need to find a place to cool off. With that understood, here are Traveler's Top Picks for where to get wet in the National Park System.*
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