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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina is one of the most visited national parks in the nation. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a wonderland of nature with deep valleys and stately tree clothed mountains. Visitors may camp, hike or just take in the beauty of the mountain vistas as they enjoy what that great park has to offer.
The park offers protection to a number of animals such as bears, dear and elk. A visit there is often rewarded with a bear sighting. Some 1,500 bears live in the park and visitors are encouraged to keep a safe distance from them. Also, It is illegal to feed them. Courtesy and thoughtfulness are important when visiting the park. Park visitors should drive slow and pull off onto a roadside pullout when viewing wildlife or admiring the view so that traffic isn’t tied up.
There are also 1,600 kinds of flowering plants in the park. Blooming wildflowers, shrubs and trees can be found almost year-round in the park. Those plants are protected and it is illegal to dig or pick them.
I suppose there are few who live in the Johnson County area that have never visited The Great Smoky Mountain National Park for It is close enough to make a great get-away. I am one of the few who has never visited the park. My interest in the park has been enhanced by what I have read and heard. Some of my relatives have taken in the beauty of the park, returned and told me what a great time they had at the park.
Folks who have talked to me about the park have emphasized their enjoyment of Cades Cove. Cades Cove is a beautiful historic area of the park that features pioneer homesteads with mountain backdrops. The restored cabin homes and barns set on small farms take folks back to a earlier time when early pioneer inhabitants farmed the fertile soil.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is part of the Appalachian Mountains and it lies between Knoxville, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina. The park was authorized in 1926. It covers 520.269 acres (813 square miles). It is approximately 54 miles long and 20 miles wide. The highest peaks in the park area are Clingmans Dome (6,642 ft.), Mt. Guyot (6,621 ft.), Mt. Chapman (6,430 ft.), Mt. Collins (6,188 ft.), Mt. LeConte (6,593 ft.) and Mt. Kephart (6,150 ft.).
The park was established in 1930 and dedicated in 1940. North Carolina has about 37,000 more acres of the park than Tennessee. Many individuals and groups put forth a great fundraising effort and $5 million was raised toward bringing the park to fruition. Five million dollars more were needed. Following vigorous efforts to get the additional funds from wealthy philanthropists, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the needed $5 million and the park was on its way to becoming one of the major national parks in America. Many folks of many walks of life were instrumental in getting the park through a plethora of obstacles but without Rockefeller’s generous gift, the park probably would not have been established.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is billed as “The Gateway to the Smoky Mountains.” Perhaps this will be the summer that I will visit The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.