3 IN YOUR TOWN: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports


3 IN YOUR TOWN: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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2016 was a record year for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – more than 11 million people visited – more than Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined.

In the 1920s, newly formed auto clubs were interested in good roads through beautiful scenery on which they could drive their shiny new cars. The park was formally dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in September 1940, atop Newfound Gap at the Tennessee-North Carolina line.

Now nearly 8 decades later, this exceptional place means something special to so many people.

Dana Soehn, a spokesperson with the park, said “It’s a park that provides year-round opportunity for people. But it also gives them a sense of place and a connection to a really important story of that early-Appalachian culture, the Cherokee story and the continuum through time.

There are 20,000 known species in the park, 848 miles of hiking trails along with hundreds of campsites and countless memories inside the 522,000 acres. This park is a jewel, but it needs you just as much as you need it. Park Rangers say when you visit to help keep the animals wild in the park and to leave no nothing behind, just footprints. 

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