Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween in Gatlinburg, Tennessee 2010

Share the Autumn Celebration of Halloween this October with friends & family in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!  You'll enjoy the options of a Halloween bash at Gatlinburg's Aquarium, a hayride through downtown Gatlinburg, a beautiful drive through the National Park, or maybe a walk along the Little Pigeon River.  Many people come to Gatlinburg to stay in a log cabin rental so they can enjoy a romantic getaway with fireplace and hot tub.  Your kids will have memories of a lifetime as they spend the Fall holiday here in the Smokies with their family.  So come visit & enjoy the beauty of Autumn in the Smokies!

This Halloween will prove to be frightfully exciting when visiting Gatlinburg with a variety of activities that are sure to be spine-chilling! Area ghosts and ghouls come out to play at the Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg where visitors can explore the most haunted building in the area as the occupants scare and delight you. From cobweb-covered dungeons to squeaky staircases and hallways, you can tip-toe your way through the horrors of the Mysterious Mansion! If haunted houses aren’t your cup of tea, there are a variety of activities that local shops and venues featuring Halloween fun to reward your little ghost or goblin with some candy! Whether you want a family friendly holiday or a frightful encounter, there are plenty of Halloween activities for your party! Don’t forget about area hotels that are sure to make your stay comfortable and convenient.
 Before the nightly activities, explore more activity options in Gatlinburg like Dollywood The 125-acre theme park provides roller coasters for thrill seekers, shows, dining and more that will fit anyone traveling in your family. With the beautiful terrain serving as inspiration, this exquisite park catches the spirit of the entertainment legend, Dolly Parton, and East Tennessee. This park is open Halloween day, so enjoy over 30 rides and attractions before dressing up to take to the streets of Gatlinburg!
Catch the magic of the Halloween season at the Magic Beyond Belief show where you watch impossible feats and illusions with the Merlin award-winning magician, Terry Evanswood. Acting as his co-star, Terry invites his 400-pound white tiger onto the stage to participate! The theater itself is equipped with two massive video screens and state-of-the-art lighting and sound to provide a magical experience you won’t soon forget. With shows on Halloween night and surrounding evenings, you can find the time to fit in one of these amazing programs!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PETS in THE PARK (Gatlinburg, TN)

Dogs are man's (and woman's) best friend!  They make great travel companions! Did you know many of the areas' top cabin rentals allow small dogs (certain fees involved)?  Call 866-286-8284 for pet-friendly cabin rentals near Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or the National Park.  So next time you think about boarding your pet, considering bringing him with on your family vacation.

The National Park has its own restrictions on pets.  Dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times. The leash must not exceed 6 feet in length. Dogs are only allowed on two short walking paths—the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. Pets are not allowed on any other park trails. Pet excrement must be immediately collected by the pet handler and disposed of in a trash receptacle. Pets should not be left unattended in vehicles or RVs.
Large national parks that have extensive backcountry areas as a rule do not allow dogs on trails. These include parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Rocky Mountains, and several others. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has prohibited dogs in the backcountry since the park was first established in the 1930s. The park prohibits dogs on hiking trails for several reasons:
• Dogs can carry disease into the park's wildlife populations.
• Dogs can chase and threaten wildlife, scaring birds and other animals away from nesting, feeding, and resting sites. The scent left behind by a dog can signal the presence of a predator, disrupting or altering the behavior of park wildlife. Small animals may hide in their burrow the entire day after smelling a dog and may not venture out to feed.
• Dogs bark and disturb the quiet of the wilderness. Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can disturb even the calmest, friendliest, and best-trained dog, causing them to behave unpredictably or bark excessively.
Pets may become prey for larger predators such as coyotes and bears. In addition, if your dog disturbs and enrages a bear, it may lead the angry bear directly to you. Dogs can also encounter insects that bite and transmit disease and plants that are poisonous or full of painful thorns and burrs.
• Many people, especially children, are frightened by dogs, even small ones. Uncontrolled dogs can present a danger to other visitors.
The Southern Highlands region offers an amazing variety of federal public lands for recreation and enjoyment. Some public lands outside the Smokies offer a wider range of recreational opportunities than are available here, including hiking with your pet. For maps and information about these national forests and recreation areas please contact the offices listed below. (By clicking on these links, you will leave the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website.)
Information provided by National park

Monday, October 25, 2010


10 Can't Miss Activities to Schedule on your Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge Vacation:

1.)  Hike the Smokies--there are many incredible mountain trails including Clingman's Dome, the Chimney's, Mt. Leconte, Abrams Falls Trail, and Laurel Falls

2.)  Family or Friends' photographs along the Little Pigeon River--you can float on an intertube, just put your feet in, fish it (you'll need a fishing license), or use it as an amazing backdrop to your travel group

3.)  Shopping at Five Oaks Tanger Outlet Center (Sevierville, TN)--Calvin Klein, Coach, Fossil, Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Disney, Old Navy, & American Eagle

4.)  Wonderful Dining--Visit the Old Mill, Cherokee Grill, BullFish, Peddler's Steakhouse, & Pancake Pantry

5.)  Zipline--Visit Wahoo Ziplines in Sevierville, TN.  The guides are European and are very instructional (safety first).  It's exhiliarating & exciting! Perfect for a romantic date or a group event for teenagers and younger adults.

6.)  Stay at a log cabin rentalAunt Bug's Cabin Rentals offer fantastic log homes with indoor swimming pools, outdoor hot tubs, pool tables, saunas, creekside or mountain views, and wood/gas fireplaces.  You'll love their luxury rentals at a discount price.

7.) Go to the Arts & Crafts Community just East of Gatlinburg on Glades Road.  You'll find some of the best artisans of the Appalachian including fantastic pottery, painters, wood whittlers, & candle-making.  This place is terrific for a fabulous souvenir, home decor, and birthday/wedding presents.  I've gotten several wedding gifts from this community because their work is so unique and remarkable!

8.)  Visit Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN).  Dollywood offers something for every age group & has a variety of attractions! This includes great entertainment shows, rollercoasters, carnival games, Southern food, water-rides, kiddie rides, museums, & animal exhibits!  It's the #1 attraction in Tennessee for a reason!

9.)  Check out the New Titanic Museum.  The largest of its kind in the World.  This new World Class museum in the Great Smoky Mountains provides a highly interactive, hands-on experience for the entire family!

10.)  Theater Shows with some of the best singers, dancers, & performers in the World!  Country Tonite, Dixie Stampede, & The Miracle Theater are just a few of the area's most popular Shows!

I hope you can utilitize this list to schedule some exciting activities for your group or family this Season!  We can't wait to see you in the Smokies!  Make reservations ahead or drop by when you get here!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Gatlinburg's Aquarium of the Smokies (By Ripley's)

Gatlinburg, TN--Ripley’s® Aquarium of the Smokies is literally teaming with life – our 10,000 exotic sea creatures comprise more than 350 individual species. There are more fish in this aquarium than there are people living in the entire town of Gatlinburg. Although Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is hundreds of miles from the ocean, the scenic beauty and the abundance of water all around make the town of Gatlinburg a “natural” location for a world-class aquarium, America’s most fun aquarium.

Their Shark Lagoon is one of the most impressive Aquarium experiences I've had because the tunnel is see-thru clear glass that enables you to see every part of the species, while you travel through by glidepath.  Filled with thousands of fish of every shape and size, this is our largest and most popular exhibit.
Leisurely travel on a moving 340-foot long glidepath, as you wind your way through the acrylic tunnel and come face to face with snappers, tarpons, grunts, squirrelfish, a green sea turtle, giant stingrays, sawfish and…very large SHARKSYou and your family will marvel at the clarity of the water and the totally immersive environment. You will feel as if you were exploring the deep oceans and could almost touch the amazing sea life!

In this shallow lagoon patrons can reach out and touch rays as they glide by. Their skin is smooth and touching them will not hurt you or the rays.  Rays do, however, have strong teeth in their mouths so touching them should be limited to their dark top-sides.  Aquarists are on hand to assure the safety of both our guests and rays and to answer any questions regarding these unusual creatures.

The Tropical Rainforest display recreates the primeval, lush world of the Rainforest where more than 2,000 species of fish thrive. Discover freshwater stingrays, cardinal tetras, four-eyed fish, poison dart frogs, zebra cichlids, armored catfish, piranhas, mudskippers and more.  The Amazon River, which moves over 4 million cubic feet of water per second, is filled with Piranhas, stingrays, armored catfish and lots of other exotic freshwater species. See them here for yourself!

Their Pengun exhibit is also very intriguing & I think the kids love it! Enjoy this playful colony of African Blackfooted Penguins in their new state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor habitat.  View penguins from above and below the water in this unique and interactive exhibit. Experience penguins swimming as you crawl through clear underwater tunnels. Pop up on the penguins’ private beach and get nose-to-beak.

If you would like to visit Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, simply stop by the Aquarium in Gatlinburg at Stop Light #6 between 9am-9pm.  I would give at least two hours to take the tour.  I highly recommend your visit, but remember there are plenty of attractions to enjoy in the area so take a group vote before you plunge in.  If you have other questions about local attractions or businesses, I will be happy to help answer them at [email protected]

We'll see you soon!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



Car and truck shows

Pigeon Forge has become the southeast mecca for car and truck enthusiasts. The calendar of car and truck show events runs from April through September and has included the following:
As summer comes to an end and millions of visitors flock to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN to see the leaves change in the fall, there is one last event that brings the town to life (well…to a stand-still really)…that’s the Fall Grand Rod Run at the Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center. Locals have always called it the Fall Grand Rod Run, but apparently it’s called Grand Run Fall…whatever you call it, it’s a huge car show (or rod run) that is mostly made up of…you guessed it…hot rods. This is the “sister” event to the Spring Grand Rod Run Show held in April.
As was suggested for the Shades of the Past Car Show, if you have no interest in car shows, then it is highly suggested to avoid Pigeon Forge, TN September 16-19 as it might be difficult to get around the Parkway & back and forth from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge.

Now, if you do love hot rods, car shows, rod runs, and Pigeon Forge, TN then you are in luck & will love this event! You’ll be in heaven as you walk the parkway, cruise the strip, listen to classic music, scope the tweaked out cars, etc. The Fall Rod Run is a auto-lover's Paradise!  Rent a log cabin rental & enjoy the mountain ambience!  You'll love the amenities, views, & ample room for your personal car or truck!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pigeon Forge: Valuable facts & information

Pigeon Forge is a mountain resort city in Sevier County, Tennessee, located in the southeastern United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 5,083.
Situated just five miles north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge is primarily a tourist resort. The city's attractions include Dollywood and numerous outlet malls and music theaters.

Get to Pigeon Forge by taking I-40 East of Knoxville (I-75) to Exit 407.  Go Southbound approximately 13 miles until you reach the Pigeon Forge City Limits.  U.S. Route 441, known as "The Parkway," runs through the middle of Pigeon Forge en route to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where it crests at Newfound Gap before descending to Cherokee, North Carolina. The strip along 441 contains most of Pigeon Forge's tourist attractions. U.S. Route 321 (known as Wears Valley Road in Pigeon Forge) connects the town with Wears Valley and Townsend to the west. Upper Middle Creek Road (a section of which is called Dollywood Lane) connects Pigeon Forge with Dollywood and the rural areas of eastern Sevier County.

The name "Pigeon Forge" comes from an iron forge built by Isaac Love (1783–1854) sometime around 1820. The name of this forge referred to its location along the Little Pigeon River, in the vicinity of what is now the Old Mill. The name of the river comes from the flocks of Passenger Pigeons that frequented its banks at the time of the first Euro-American settlers' arrival.[4]
For centuries, the Cherokee used the valley where Pigeon Forge is now located as a hunting ground. A Cherokee footpath known as the Indian Gap Trail crossed the Great Smokies from North Carolina, and passed through the Pigeon Forge valley en route to its junction with the Great Indian Warpath in modern Sevierville (US-441 closely parallels this ancient trail, although it crests the mountains at Newfound Gap rather than Indian Gap). From Sevierville, the Warpath headed west toward the Overhill Cherokee towns along the Little Tennessee River.[5]
The Indian Gap Trail brought the first Europeans to the Pigeon Forge area in the early 18th century. Along with hunters and trappers from North Carolina, traders from Virginia had passed through the valley before 1750.[4] Sometime after 1783, Colonel Samuel Wear (1753–1817) became the first permanent Euro-American settler in the Pigeon Forge area. Wear, a veteran of the American Revolution, erected a small fort near the confluence of Walden Creek and the Little Pigeon River (what is now Pigeon Forge City Park). The fort provided a safe stopover for the early pioneers in the Sevier County area. Wear would later serve as a member of the committee that drafted Tennessee's state constitution.

In 1982, hoping the capitalize on the publicity generated by the Knoxville World's Fair, Pigeon Forge initiated an aggressive economic plan that centered around theme parks, outlet malls, and live music venues. The first outlet mall, Factory Merchants, opened that same year. By 1987, there were four outlet malls in Pigeon Forge, and by the early 1990s, outlet malls provided 44% of the town's gross revenue.[20]
The increasing number of tourist attractions brought competition for Silver Dollar City and its chief competitor in Pigeon Forge, Magic World, which had constructed a theme park on the slopes of Pine Mountain in the city's south section. In 1985, the Herschends approached entertainer Dolly Parton (who was born in nearby Sevierville) with a proposal for a partnership in the promotion and operation of Silver Dollar City. After lengthy negotiations, Parton became a minority partner in the enterprise, and Silver Dollar City was renamed Dollywood to kick off a major marketing campaign. The move proved successful as Dollywood continued expansion into the 21st century.[19] Magic World folded in 1994.
While the commercial boom in Pigeon Forge vastly increased the town's revenue, it had several undesirable effects. As land value skyrocketed, many farmers could no longer afford the accompanying high property taxes and were forced to sell their land. The high cost of living in a resort town is difficult to offset with the low wage jobs that often accompany the tourist industry.[21]

Attractions and events in Pigeon Forge include the Dollywood theme park, Titanic Museum, The Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, the award-winning Country Tonight Theatre, the Comedy Barn, The Black Bear Jamboree Dinner Show, the Miracle Theater, Dixie Stampede, Zorb, Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, other entertainment venues such as magician Terry Evanswood's at Magic Beyond Belief theater where magic shows are presented, and seasonal events such as Winterfest. These attractions and the natural beauty of the area draw approximately 11 million visitors each year.  Pigeon Forge has become the southeast mecca for car and truck enthusiasts.

Information taken from Wikipedia

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Black Bears in Gatlinburg & the Smoky Mountains

American Black Bears are prevalent on the Appalachian Trail, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few places remaining in the eastern United States where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings. For many, this famous Smokies’ resident is a symbol of wilderness. Bears inhabit all elevations of the park. Though populations are variable, counts conducted in 2006 indicated approximately 1,500 bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile. At one time, the black bear’s range included most of North America except the extreme west coast. Because of the loss of habitat, the black bear is now confined to wooded areas or dense brushland.

Many tourists to the Gatlinburg area go to Cades Cove to attempt to view Black Bears.  Other travellers have also mentioned seeing black bears on their roadways or trails surrounding their vacation cabin rentals (based on some renters from the Aunt Bug's Cabin Rental Company).  Of course, it is always safer to view the Bears from your car, than on foot.  Be sure to make sure not to have traces of food in the surrounding area at all time when bears are prevalant.  Never provoke a bear, especially near its mother.  Most campers or tourists can view bears in peace, but be careful as they can be dangerous when hungry or provoked.  Sometimes the Black bears come into the town of Gatlinburg to rob dumpsters of food remnants when they are hungry.  This is an especially dangerous time to approach a bear.  Use extreme caution when seeing a bear.  Never feed or antagonize a black bear.  Efforts to restore bear populations in Tennessee have resulted in more frequent bear sightings both inside and outside of the National Park.  Park Rangers are saying that in 2009, there have been more bear sightings since the park service started keeping records in 1981.

Friday, October 15, 2010


As a travel planner, I always get asked by parents, "what is there for my teenage kids to do in the Smokies?"  I would say the list is pretty infinite.  Here are 10 quick ideas:
River Rafting is fun for the family!
1.  Dollywood & Splash Country
2.  Hike the Smoky Mountains & the Parks' trails
4.  Shopping for school, holidays, & discounts
5.  Photography or picture-taking of family & friends
6.  Ziplining (A new craze here in East Tennessee). It's exciting & fun!
7.  River-Rafting trip (Located on the North Carolina-Tennessee Border generally)
Lakes, Rivers, & Creeks in Tennessee

8.  Visit Aquarium of the Smokies, The Titanic, or the many Museums in Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area
9.  Miniature or Regulation Golf (many courses for your enjoyment!)
10.Rent a cabin where they will enjoy pool tables, foosball, hot tubs, swimming pools, & wifi internet access.  Choose Aunt Bug's Cabin Rentals when your family visits the Gatlinburg area for luxury Gatlinburg cabin rentals!)

This list should get you started on coming up with a vacation plan and schedule!  Remember each season provides different options for your family's enjoyment.  Don't forget the different festivals, events, & concerts in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, & Sevierville throughout the Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter Seasons!  The Smoky Mountains are so beautiful that your kids will be inspired to get outside & enjoy nature with their friends or siblings.  You might want to remember your camera, journal, or smartphone to capture video or pics of your Gatlinburg trip

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Davy Crockett: A Tennessee (and American) Folk Hero

David Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was a celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is referred to in popular culture as Davy Crockett and after the 1950s by the epithetKing of the Wild Frontier.” He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the Battle of the Alamo.
Crockett grew up in East Tennessee, where he gained a reputation for hunting and storytelling. After being elected to the rank of colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1826, Crockett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Crockett vehemently opposed many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, most notably the Indian Removal Act. Crockett's opposition to Jackson's policies led to his defeat in the 1834 elections, prompting his angry departure to Texas shortly thereafter. In early 1836, Crockett took part in the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March.
Crockett became famous in his own lifetime for larger-than-life exploits popularized by stage plays and almanacs. After his death, he continued to be credited with brazen acts of mythical proportion. These led in the 20th century to television and movie portrayals, and he became one of the best-known American folk heroes, David Crockett, Tennessee bear hunter, politician extraordinary and hero of the Alamo, was one of the first humorists of the South and a trail blazer for the American school of humorous writing. A thorough Tennessean, Crockett knew the State from Hangover Mountain to Reelfoot Lake Although there is much controversy over the authorship of A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, of the State of Tennessee... Written by Himself (1834), the vital brawny qualities of the Colonel are unquestionably present in this hair-raising classic of the Southern frontier.
    After his defeat in the race for Congress against Andrew Jackson's candidate, Crockett announced to the opposition, "You can go to hell, I'm going to Texas." There he wrote Col. Crockett's Exploits and Adventures in Texas (1836). In this book, in his autobiography, and in An Account of Col. Crockett's Tour to the North and down East (1835), Crockett describes how he drank, hunted, speculated, begot children, farmed badly, and, when settlers built cabins near him, moved farther into the wilds.

    One tale tells how Crockett greeted a crowd on his way to Congress. He bragged, "I'm that same David Crockett, fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without a scratch down a honey locust [tree]."

    Crockett's death is disputed, but it is said he died at the Alamo on March 6, 1876.

    Friday, October 08, 2010

    Cabin Rental Owner's Corner - Recommendations

    There is so much to see and do in the Great Smoky Mountains region, it is difficult to know where to begin. Since we live in this area and regularly experience an abundance of activities, some of our favorites include: Hiking along Abram's Falls Trail; Horseback riding; Renting a pontoon boat and spending a day on either Douglas or Norris Lakes; Visiting the Titanic Museum, Old Mill & General Store, Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, Blackbear Jamboree, Ripley's Aquarium, and Clingman's Dome. We also enjoy shopping in Gatlinburg, attending country music concerts, and shopping at the variety of antique stores in the area. There is so much more; however this is just a sampling what we enjoy the most.
    Shari & Scott -Eagle Bear Retreat in Eagle Springs Resort, Sevierville TN

    Tuesday, October 05, 2010


    ClingMan's Dome

    10 things to check out in the Smoky Mountains this Fall:
    1.  Dinner at Buckberry Lodge
    2.  Sunset/Dawn at Cades Cove
    3.  Hike the Chimneys
    4.  Lunch at Old Mill
    5.  Thunderhead Wooden Rollercoaster at Dollywood
    6.  Outlet Shopping at Five Oaks
    7.  Ziplines throughout the Area
    8.  Luxury Log Cabins at Aunt Bug's
    9.  View Gatlinburg from atop the Space Needle
    10. View Multiple States from Clingman's Dome/Visit GSM National Park
    Old Mill Restaurant--Historical Landmark

    Monday, October 04, 2010

    Wiley Oakley: A Pioneer of the Smokies

    Wiley Oakley

    He was a man whose name became an icon in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many described him as a simple, hard-working, and good-natured individual who was quick to help anyone who found themselves in need and at his doorway.
    It was this simple man, however, whose intimate knowledge of the forbidding and dangerously isolated region of the Smokies would open up what many Americans thought was a place better left to the few hardy natives who called it home. His efforts as a guide in the region would set new standards for those who followed in his footsteps and there were many, but, as long as he lived, there was none better than he and such reputations don’t come easy.
    When the nation finally exerted its efforts to harness the power and resources of the mountain range, he began a second career of sorts that would not only make his name a household word in the small city of Gatlinburg, but become one that would echo throughout the nation as the unofficial ambassador of the Great Smoky Mountains. Wiley Oakley was born on Sept. 12, 1885 to Henry Coleman and Elmina Conner Oakley at the base of Mount LeConte. He was one of nine children born to the mountain family and they made their home in a simple cabin farm.

    How The Great Smoky Mountain National Park was Formed

    Becoming a national park was not easy for the Smoky Mountains. Joining the National Park System took a lot of money and a lot of work by thousands of people. Establishing most of the older parks located in the western United States, such as Yellowstone, was fairly easy. Congress merely carved them out of lands already owned by the government-often places where no one wanted to live anyway. Getting park land in this area was a different story. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was owned by hundreds of small farmers and a handful of large timber and paper companies. The farmers did not want to leave their family homesteads, nor did the large corporations want to abandon huge forests of timber, many miles of railroad track, extensive systems of logging equipment, and whole villages of employee housing.

    The idea started in the late 1890s. A few farsighted people began to talk about a public land preserve in the cool, healthful air of the southern Appalachians. A bill even entered the North Carolina Legislature to this effect, but failed. By the early 20th century, many more people in the North and South were pressuring Washington for some kind of public preserve, but they were in disagreement on whether it should be a national park or a national forest.

    There are important differences between national parks and national forests, and each concept had its cheering section. In a national forest, consumptive use of renewable resources is permitted under the multiple use management concepts. Because the forests were initially set aside for timber harvesting and grazing, the national forests were made a bureau in the Department of Agriculture.

    In a national park, however, the scenery and resources are protected, and nature is allowed to run its course. The ultimate decision to establish a national park meant that the scenery, resources, and some of the native architecture would be protected for all people to enjoy into the infinite future.

    The drive to create a national park became successful in the mid-1920s, with most of the hard working supporters based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina. The two groups had long been competitors over the location of the national park, but they finally began pulling together for a park in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, halfway between the two cities.

    As a matter of past history and present interest, the park movement was directed not by the hardcore conservationists, backpackers, and trout fishermen, but motorists. The newly formed auto clubs, mostly branches of the AAA, were interested in good roads through beautiful scenery on which they could drive their shiny new cars.

    In May, 1926, a bill was signed by President Calvin Coolidge that provided for the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park. This allowed the Department of the Interior to assume responsibility for administration and protection of a park in the Smoky Mountains as soon as 150,000 acres of land had been purchased. Since the government was not allowed to buy land for national park use, the former political boosters had to become fund raisers.

    In the late 1920s, the Legislatures of Tennessee and North Carolina appropriated $2 million each for land purchases. Additional money was raised by individuals, private groups, and even school children who pledged their pennies. By 1928, a total of $5 million had been raised. Trouble was, the cost of the land had now doubled, so the campaign ground to a halt. The day was saved when the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial Fund donated $5 million, assuring the purchase of the remaining land.

    But buying the land was difficult, even with the money in hand. There were 6,000 small farms, large tracts, and other miscellaneous parcels that had to be surveyed, appraised, dickered over, and sometimes condemned in court. The timber and paper companies had valuable equipment and standing inventory which required compensation.

    Worse, in some ways, were the emotional losses to people who had to walk away from their homes. A later survey of the displaced people showed that about half took the money and ran and were glad to have it; while the other half expressed feelings from mild inconvenience to outright hostility. Some people were allowed to stay under lifetime leases, particularly if they were too old or too sick to move. Younger ones were granted leases on a short-term basis, if they wanted to try to stick it out. However, they could not cut timber, hunt and trap at will, or otherwise live as they always had.

    The first Superintendent of the new park arrived in 1931, Major J. Ross Eakin. By 1934, the states of Tennessee and North Carolina had transferred deeds for 300,000 acres to the federal government. Congress thus authorized full development of public facilities.

    Much of the early development of facilities and restoration of early settlers' buildings was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an agency created during the Depression to provide work and wages for unemployed young men. The CCC worked from 1933 to 1942 when World War II finally shut the program down. Many of the trails, campgrounds, and the beautiful stone bridges and buildings that still stand today are examples of their work..

    The final touch in the creation of the Smoky Mountain National Park was its formal dedication by President Franklin Roosevelt in September, 1940. He stood on and spoke from the Rockefeller Monument at Newfound Gap astride the Tennessee - North Carolina state line. That ceremony dedicated a sanctuary that is not a local park, a county park, or even a state park, but a national park for all the people of the country and the rest of the world to enjoy.