The Great Smoky Mountains Facts

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in National Park system. The natural beauty and the four distinct seasons enjoyed is unmatched! The Park includes over 500,000 acres with 800 miles of hiking trails, 10 campgrounds, 1,500 types of plants. Great Smoky Mountains National Park info included on this site includes: general park info, book Smoky Mountain cabin rentals and hotels, maps, trout fishing, hiking, auto touring, history of the Park’s development, and popular Cades Cove. Also, this Smoky Mountain site makes available information about weddings in the national park, shopping, the Appalachian Trail, Fall foliage, photos of waterfalls, wildlife, and wildflowers.How did the Great Smoky Mountains National Park get its name? The Smokies are named for the blue mist that always seems to hover around the peaks and valleys. The Cherokee called them shaconage, (shah-con-ah-jey) or “place of the blue smoke.”
As for the spelling, just as many folks call them “smokey” as do those who call them “smoky”. The dictionary says both are acceptable. Whether you say Smokies, Smokys, or Smokys doesn’t really matter. They all conjure up the same vision that millions of visitors each year take with them after visiting the park. As for the “Great” in Great Smoky Mountains, you will have to visit the Smokies to fully understand that part of the name.
Great Smoky Mountains, byname Great Smokies or the Smokies, western segment of the high Appalachian Mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, U.S. The Great Smokies lie between Knoxville, Tenn. (just to the west), and Asheville, N.C. (just to the east), blending into the Blue Ridge escarpment to the east in North Carolina. They are sometimes considered a division of the Unaka Mountains. The loftiest portion lies within Great Smoky Mountains National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and includes Clingmans Dome (6,643 feet [2,025 metres]; the highest point in Tennessee) and Mounts Guyot, Chapman, Collins, Le Conte, and Kephart—all at elevations above 6,000 feet (1,830 metres). The mountains form a popular resort area that includes the national park, a segment of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the tourist city of Gatlinburg, Tennesse. A transmountain highway crosses at Newfound Gap (5,046 feet [1,538 metres]).

From its inception in 1923, the idea for creating a national park of the Smoky Mountains area was thought to have a number of obstacles in the form of finances and politics. Financial, cultural and political issues were overcome to create what is now the most visited national park in our American Park system. The following is a brief synopsis of how the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came about and who the dedicated and visionary individuals were that stuck with the effort for 17 years until the park’s official dedication. The original idea for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came from a wealthy and influential family in Knoxville, Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Willis P. Davis, after returning from a visit to western national parks, began asking, “why can’t we have a national park in the Smokies?” From this beginning, other influential citizens of Knoxville began to echo the sentiment. Politicians, businessmen, naturalists, and others began to join the movement for their own personal reasons.
Sometimes a movement gains momentum due to its own sheer power—it’s simply a good idea.

Other movements succeed because of strong-willed, influential, wealthy individuals with a vision. The movement to create a national park in the Smoky Mountains was fortunate to have both elements. But this was not to say that things went quickly or easily—quite the contrary. Obstacles to Creating the Great Smoky Mountains National Park There existed natural foes to developing a national park. These foes consisted of financial interests to businessmen, political foes that had their own ulterior motives, and cultural foes that wanted the Smokies to remain as they were. Some businessmen were primarily interested in developing a road between Tennessee and North Carolina to make their business easier.

To them the Smokies were the place where they got away to hunt and fish. Other business owners were more interested in developing the Smokies as a national forest rather than a national park—the distinction being that national-forest status would still allow the area’s resources to be exploited; whereas national-park status would protect, for all time, the area just as it was (no timber cutting, hunting, or fishing). Chief among the business interests were the timber and pulp companies, which owned most of the wilderness areas and virgin forests. In addition, cultural interests included the families who already lived in the mountains, both descendants of the original settlers in the area and people who had purchased land for vacations or retreats.

Then, of course, there was the obstacle of acquiring the funds necessary to purchase all the land required to create the park. Promises and contributions actually made up a small portion of the total funds required. Both the Tennessee and North Carolina legislatures, Congress, and the Rockefeller family would all come to the rescue. in 1940.The first full year the park was open, more than one million people visited. Visitation has grown steadily (except for the war years of the forties) until nearly ten million visitors annually enjoy the benefits of the National Park. Not all is well, however. The numbers are so great that the environment is adversely affected. The Smokies are even smokier than ever before. Pollution is beginning have a permanent effect on the beautiful mountain views. Development around the park has created unbelievable traffic jams at certain times of the tourist season, particularly on weekends. Officials are exploring ways to solve these problems. It won’t be easy, because one huge promise was made in the original charter was that there would never be an admission charge and that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park would always be protected for the enjoyment of all the people for generations to come.
So the park is still being “made”. We must do our part to enjoy the park, but also help protect it for our future generations. Observe the beneficial restrictions that are placed on the visitor, and we can all enjoy the park for generations to come.