As you are probably aware, 2016 marks the centennial of the National Park Service. All year long, there will be special programs and information about the wonderful national parks in our country. I love to watch CBS Sunday Morning News (taped of course. Sunday mornings are usually a bit busy around here). Every broadcast this year will include a hike in one of the parks.
This important to us, not only because we appreciate the beauty and majesty of the wonderful national parks in our country, but also because one of those parks is right in our backyard. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park straddles the North Carolina/Tennessee border. One of the side roads into the park is just one and a half mile from the inn. The main entrance in Cherokee is just 8 miles from the inn. While we are familiar with the park and visit it often, we never want to take it for granted. It is a remarkable natural treasure, and I thought you’d like to know a few facts about it:
* The Great Smoky Mountain National Park was chartered in 1932 and officially added to the National Park system in 1940 * It consists of 522,419 acres or just over 816 square miles, making it one of the large protected areas in the eastern US * Its elevation ranges from 876 ft to 6,643 feet at Clingman’s Dome * It has 850 miles of hiking trails including the Appalachian Trail that runs along the crest of the Smokes and the boundary between North Carolina and Tennessee
* It was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1988 and contains:
200 species of birds; 66 species of mammals; 50 species of fish; 39 species of reptiles; 43 species of amphibians; 100 species of trees; 4000 species of nonflowering plants; and 1400 species of flowering plants…
It is also the habitat of @1500 black bear
*The park receives about 55 inches of rain each year and is filled with waterfalls and streams
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is by far the most visited park in the system. It has twice as many visitors each year than any other park in the country. It is a national treasure, and it is virtually in our backyard and easily accessible to millions of Americans living in the eastern United States, including many of you.
We invite you to celebrate the centennial of our National Park System and come visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer. There is a world of beauty and outdoor activities waiting for you. It a land of adventure.
Hemlock Inn is located next door to the park and is available to help experience the Appalachians. Let us know how we can help.