Protect the places where stories live and memories are made.
Your donation makes a difference in helping the park give visitors a safe, memorable experience while protecting the historic and natural resources of Great Smoky Mountains National park. Your investment will have lasting returns.
A Letter from Executive Director/CEO Tim Chandler & President Jim Hart
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been a place of refuge and renewal for tens of millions of visitors since it welcomed its first guests in 1934. It is not surprising that record numbers of visitors have been drawn to our park since the pandemic spread across the country. Clearly, the Smokies has a special place in the lives of many of us.
Thankfully, due to your generous contributions this year, Friends has been able to fund many important programs and projects. This critical support helps the park provide more than 12 million visitors a safe, memorable experience while protecting historic and natural resources of the park.
The John Oliver Cabin accessibility trail was completed so individuals of all levels of ability can enjoy an outdoor experience in Cades Cove and barrier-free access to the historic landmark. Support for the Trails Forever Endowment has enabled its crew to rehabilitate more than 25 miles of trails since the program began. Recently, restoration of Abrams Falls Trail in Cades Cove was completed. In 2022, the Trails Forever Crew will begin rehabilitation work on the Ramsey Cascades Trail.
Since its founding in 1993, Friends of the Smokies’ mission has been to assist the park service with the Smokies’ preservation and protecting. Today, the park’s needs are greater than ever.
For 2022, the park has asked Friends for $2.1 million to fund 70 projects and programs, like:
- ‘Forever Places’ historical preservation projects
- Rehabilitation of Walker Sisters Cabin
- Design & Planning for rehab of Little Cataloochee Church
- Parks as Classrooms
- Parson Branch Road reopening
- Look Rock Campground renovations
- Trail construction from Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Day parking to Loop Road
- Search & Rescue Safety Equipment
- A new Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) for Search & Rescue to access visitors in need in NC district
- Purchase of two backcountry Packing Mules
Fulfilling these needs, and so many more, will not be possible without your continued support. Please take a moment to make a donation as we work together to protect the places where stories live and memories are made. Your investment will have lasting returns.