Resources For Visiting Great Smoky
This is where you can find websites, helpful phone numbers, friends groups and cooperating associations, and, sometimes, books related to the park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: www.nps.gov/grsm
For maps of the park and surrounding areas, visit this site.
Friends Groups and Cooperating Associations
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park assists the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness, and by providing volunteers for needed projects.
Since 1953, the park's cooperating association, Great Smoky Mountains Association, has been supporting the educational, scientific, and historical efforts of the National Park Service through cash donations and in-kind services. Members of the association receive a number of benefits which help them keep informed about special events in the park and issues affecting the Smoky Mountains.
One of the most direct books I've read on avoiding bears in the backcountry is Dave Smith's Backcountry Bear Basics, which recently arrived in a second edition.
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.
The Traveler's Travel Editor Randy Johnson combines most of the park's easy and evocative forest, waterfall, and summit hikes with the best interpretive trails, all with maps and succinct directions and many travel and natural history details. He also does the service of including some harder hikes—but suggests the easiest way to do it. Another great thing about this book—it's one of only a handful of titles in Falcon Guides' popular "Best Easy Day Hike" series that comes nicely bundled at one price with the National Geographic Trails Illustrated map of the area, in this case, of course, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.