December 30, 2014
by Julie Dodd
This post shares highlights of some of the Friends of the Smokies projects for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during 2014.
You can click on the links to read more about each project.
The elk herd was reintroduced into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 13 years ago.
Viewing the elk is one of the exciting nature opportunities in the Smokies and has been made possible by funding from FOTS, grants and thousands of hours of volunteer support.
After three years of work, the Chimney Tops Trail re-opened in December.
The project that was funded by FOTS and involved a special trail crew and more than 9,500 hours of volunteer time.
The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the GSMNP and has been closed for portions of the week for trail work.
Sally Jewell, US Department of the Interior Secretary, hiked the Chimney Tops Trail in March with Interim GSMPN Superintendent Pedro Ramos.
She made the hike when she was in the Smokies to help announce the construction schedule for the Collections Preservation Center in Townsend.
The facility will cost $4.3 million, with $2 million in support from FOTS and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Eastern hemlocks help create the habitat needed for many animals and fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
FOTS has worked with the GSMNP since 2003 to help eradicate the hemlock woolly adelgid that attack the trees.
Between our monthly Classic Hikes of the Smokies led by Danny Bernstein and our Get on the Trail with Friends and Missy hikes in April and October led by Missy Kane, Friends of the Smokies members hiked hundreds of miles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2014.
Thanks to everyone who joined us, rain or shine, for a hike this year.
The Grand Fondo Asheville provided a fun or competitive cycling challenge and also raised more than $30,000 for FOTS.
This was the first time the event was held and is one of many different fundraising events FOTS holds with its partners and sponsors.
These projects and activities were only possible because of your support.
Thank you to our members, corporate sponsors and partners, and each of you that visited the park, stopped at a donation box and shopped in the visitor centers.
With your help, we can keep the Smoky Mountains truly Great.
Thanks to those who contributed to the FOTS blog during 2014 — providing information, being interviewed via email or phone, writing guest posts, or contributing photos.