Making sense out of National Park System visitation statistics can be tough due to faulty counters, late opening dates, and storms that close parks. All that considered, though, attendance at the parks seems to be up a bit this year through the first six months.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Once considered largely to be worthless, national parks today are economic engines that generate $26.5 billion for the nation's economy.
Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem
In a 25-page motion attacking not just the propriety but also the legality of a backcountry user fee at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a group of backpackers has not only asked that the fees be tossed out, but shined some light on the conundrum of how to afford our public lands.
Horses have a long, long history in America. They came to the New World with the Spaniards, and have carried riders ever since. In many national parks horses are icons, seen as both honorable steeds that carry mounted rangers and as work horses that carry both visitors and gear. But they also have impacts on the landscape, and there have been calls to ban them from the parks. But should they be banned?
Globalization is not just a sweeping economic trend, but also one involving insects that's been going on for decades, one that is a serious threat to national park forests. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, officials are taking a step they hope will slow any infestation of non-native insects that can wreak havoc on native forests by proposing a rule that only heat-treated firewood can be brought into the park for campfires.
Seasons in the Smokies, the second in the Smoky Mountain Explorer Series from Great Smoky Mountains Association, will make its first appearance on the big screen during a premiere showing of the film Thursday, July 17.
Bears have a sweet tooth, too. And that's why the Gregory Bald area at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been temporarily closed to humans. The reason is the cherry crop that has attracted black bears looking for a tasty meal.
Take A Minute To Help Friends Of The Smokies Land $5,000 For Work In Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Take a minute this week to help out Friends of the Smokies. All week the First Tennessee Foundation is taking votes for its 150 Days of Giving. This week's winner receives $5,000. Friends of the Smokies can put that money to good work in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Fontana Lake, which ebbs along the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, is a watery aspect to the park that might get lost among the forests and mountains. But it offers a rich recreational side to the park, as this video shows.
The natural geologic cut of the Appalachian Mountains, and the plentiful moisture and frequency of springs in the region, combine to produce a cascading system of waterworks from Shenandoah National Park down through the Blue Ridge Parkway and into Great Smoky Mountains National Park that provides more than enough incentive to take a hike.