2018 Park Support

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Park Support List each year

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Wildlife, Wonders, & Wilderness
(Resource Management & Science)

Cataloochee Field Management  |  $3,000
As part of our field management in Cataloochee, fields are mown once a year to preserve the historical landscape. Mowing is conducted in August to provide better summer habitat for elk.

Cades Cove Viewshed Mowing  |  $8,000
As a part of our grassland management and restoration efforts in Cades Cove, fields are kept open by several methods to help provide varied habitats for turkey, coyote, fox, rabbit, deer, bear, ground nesting birds such as quail. Some fields are mowed after nesting season, while others are burned, plowed, and harvested in the gradual process to restore much of the Cove to native meadow habitat. These funds support our viewshed mowing that both keep the fields open and provide vistas into the grassland communities.

Reduce Backcountry Bear Problems with Food Storage Cable Systems  |  $8,000
Each backcountry campsite and shelter has a pulley and cable system which campers are required to use to hoist their food and packs out of the reach of bears for the increased safety of both visitors and bears. Each year a number of these systems are damaged through use or by falling trees and must be replaced.

Support Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR)  |  $5,000
Each year a number of orphaned or injured park bears are treated and housed in the nonprofit ABR center in Townsend until they can be released back into the park. Prior to the creation of ABR, most of these animals were euthanized.

Bear Management Project  |  $5,200
These funds will enable wildlife biologists to purchase 3 GPS radio collars, collar detachment mechanisms, and battery replacements. These collars will be used when DNA analysis is needed to track bears suspected of a bear attack or other significant human/bear interaction while we wait on confirmation of matches between the attack and the suspect bear.

Elk Management and Monitoring  |  $15,700
These funds will allow us to purchase immobilization drugs, tags, GPS collars, aversive conditioning supplies, and capture equipment. These monies will also help us support staffing needs to repair exclosures and other work activities associated with the elk program. This work helps us better manage elk populations and model population survival and reproduction rates.

International Human-Bear Conflicts Workshop Support  |  $3,000
Park Wildlife Staff are co-hosting this conference in Spring 2018. They are bringing over 300 scientists, managers, and educators from around the world to work together how we can better manage bear populations in heavily populated areas.

Maintain Protection of Fraser Firs at Purchase Knob  |  $2,500
Since 1962, the balsam woolly adelgid, an exotic predatory European insect, has killed 91% of the park’s naturally-occurring stands of high-elevation Fraser firs. The park and UT planted 600 seedlings at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob in 1995. While some of these trees have been attacked by the balsam woolly adelgid, they are treated annually with sprays and pesticides to preserve samples of the trees’ genetic material, which is important for species preservation. Park staff is hopeful that these will assist in future repopulation of firs.

Public Safety Treatment of Ash Trees and Education Outreach  |  $14,125
Emerald Ash Borer, a non-native wood boring beetle that feeds on both species of ash trees in the park, has been confirmed along the Gatlinburg Trail, Greenbrier Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Little River Road, Cades Cove and along the northeast boundary of the park. This proposal is for systemic treatment of ash trees in developed areas (campgrounds, picnic areas, parking areas) to prevent hazard tree danger and to treat high ecological value backcountry ash. Some of the trees under threat from EAB exceed 30 inches in diameter and are in good to excellent health. Without treatment trees often die within three years of first signs of infestation, creating hazard trees along roads, in campgrounds, picnic areas and along popular trails.

Suppress Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Infestation  |  $40,000
Since 2003, Friends of the Smokies has had a leadership role in supporting the most ambitious program in the Southeast aimed at protecting hemlocks from the invasive and deadly hemlock woolly adelgid. The park is now leading control efforts on this forest pest. To date, more than 280,000 individual hemlock trees have been hand-treated. On average, we’ve been able to retreat about 30,000 trees each year. In addition, more than 5,000 acres of hemlock-dominated forest have been set aside as special conservation areas. Protection includes a combination of soap spraying in the front country, systemic pesticides in more remote areas and biological control. Since biological control began, the park has released over 570,000 predator beetles as part of the overall landscape control effort. And, we are now treating more trees using systemic treatments. Through monitoring, we’ve determined that a single systemic treatment that costs 15 cents per inch diameter can protect a tree for up to seven years, saving the park monies!

Archival Supplies  |  $11,000
Each year the staff responsible for maintaining the park’s library, archives and cultural museum collections responds to approximately 300 research requests for use of the park’s extensive collection of park documents, maps and photographs. This collection continues to grow as park management records are added to the collection and through donations. To be properly archived these materials need to be processed (arranged, finding aides created, and accessioned) by staff and housed in archival folders and boxes. These archival quality housing materials must also be periodically replaced when they lose their capacity to buffer the acidic papers being preserved. The funding requested would cover supplies needed to correctly process new records, purchase a high quality photo scanner, and photographic equipment that will allow for the park to improve their ability to share information with researchers digitally and help protect fragile records from handling.

Cemetery Headstone Repair  |  $2,000
Grave markers in all the maintained park cemeteries are aging and settling. These monies would fund the inspection of headstones in the three church cemeteries in Cades Cove. The contractor will identify needed repairs and work with the park to set priorities for repair within the funds available. Much of the work will involve resetting leaning or settling headstones, but the priority will be to repair damaged and broken stones.

Brook Trout Restoration on Anthony & Little Cataloochee Creek  |  $15,518
Support to help with rainbow trout removal on Anthony Creek, preparation of Little Cataloochee Creek for antimycin treatment and collection/translocation of brook trout from neighboring streams for transplant into Anthony Creek.

Improve Fire Break Zones on Park Boundary  |  $40,000
The park conducted several fuel reduction projects along boundary areas from 1997 through 2003 including prescribed burning and mechanical fuel reductions. This project will allow the park to contract with a fire crew to improve these fire breaks adjacent to the park boundary in areas like Ski Mountain and the Spur. Crews will reduce heavy accumulations of dead wood and brush on the park boundary areas adjacent to homes and rental chalets.

Web Cams  |  $27,500
This funding will support the installation of web cams at Clingmans Dome (May-Oct) and Newfound Gap (year-round) to provide daily images (every 15 minutes) as well as weather data for park staff and visitors. The weather data, including ambient temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, and snow depth, will provide timely information for park staff and visitors to help them prepare for travel in the park.

Archaeology Compliance for Research Permits  |  $10,421
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) partnership designated funds to be used to support archaeological review for projects throughout the park including the installation of the NEON monitoring station at Twin Creeks.

Environmental Education

Park Liaison with Cherokee School  |  $107,400
To fund a coordinator for an educational partnership between the park and Cherokee Middle School as well as introducing curriculum to all gateway community schools in NC through the development of educational trunk materials. The coordinator will develop, implement, and evaluate a planned curriculum used to educate children as to the cultural and natural resources of the Smokies.

Smoky Mountains University (Year 1)  |  $33,000
This multi-year project will develop an accredited program designed to immerse college-aged youth in the natural and cultural resources of the park. Students will also explore how the park’s management, policy, and research strive to balance complex issues including tourism, carrying capacity, land development, climate change, air quality, biological diversity, and human ecology. Students will earn university credits through coursework designed in collaboration with their professors and taught by NPS adjunct faculty and resource managers. The coursework will include both classroom and field-based curriculum. Field-based components will take place largely in the backcountry of the Smokies within site capacity regulations. Year 1 Funding will provide support to purchase equipment and to develop the program with identified professors to develop curriculum for on and off-site, field and classroom based lessons.

Educating Urban Students with STEM Initiatives  |  $25,000
This program included teacher workshops and development of park education materials for the classroom.

PACSupport Parks as Classrooms programs  |  $92,261
Approximately 18,000 students every year in Tennessee and North Carolina receive curriculum-based environmental education opportunities through the Parks as Classroom program. These hands-on, ranger-led lessons utilizing the park as an enormous outdoor classroom help foster a love for nature and inform the next generation of park supporters.

Urban Youth Program at Purchase Knob  |  $18,000
This program will continue a unique partnership with Asheville Greenworks and their Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP). This project will provide the next level of depth for the students who have been in the program for multiple years. It would be similar to our high school intern program but we will work more intensively with park vegetation crew, trail crew and resource education to accomplish stewardship projects. This funding will support an Asheville Greenworks program coordinator who will provide daily transportation for the students who will be receiving a stipend of $12.00 an hour.

Summer Programs for Urban Youth  |  $10,000
These funds will help support part our ongoing efforts to provide summer opportunities for urban youth to experience the park. We are partnering with the Boys and Girls Club organizations throughout Knox County to provide multiple field trips and programs that encourage outdoor recreation, citizen stewardship, and healthy lifestyles. These funds provide monies for buses along with staff support.

MYLES Summer Education Program  |  $1,000
Partnership with Montreat College to provide education programs. Funds will be used to help support an intern who will work the MYLES camp participants in the summer.

Cherokee Central Schools STEM Education Project  |  $10,000
Through this project, park rangers will continue to work with high school science classes in the classroom. This funding will provide support for an ACE intern to work with SPiN coordinator and to provide citizen science materials for schools.

STEM workshop for teachersTeacher in Park Program at Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center  |  $4,000
Funds to support a summer 2018 Teacher in Park position to assist with the high school intern program and summer Junior Ranger programs in NC.

Empower Science Teachers through Teacher Workshops  |  $4,000
Teachers learn the science of the park and with hands-on teaching techniques to use with their students in the classroom.

Experience Your Smokies (NC)  |  $500
The Experience Your Smokies program provides a unique opportunity for our local residents to get to know the park and its employees in a whole new way. The program is designed for local residents, business, community and educational leaders to get a behind the scenes look into the national park, while networking with others from western North Carolina.

See a program you love?

Your gifts help us fulfill this

Park Support List each year

and make a huge difference for the park.

Make a donation in support of a program today!

Parkwide Volunteers-in-Park Program

VIP Recognition Awards Program  |  $1,000
Each year over 2,500 individuals contribute over 150,000 hours of volunteer service with VIP’s supporting virtually all phases of park operations. These funds allow us the opportunity to provide recognition in to our year-round volunteers in the form of awards such as plaques, belt buckles, and certificates.

Artist in Residence Program  |  $6,300
Artists have played important part in the formation and establishment of our park. Early writers, photographers, painters, and musicians drew inspiration from these mountains and helped translate their purpose as a place of pleasure and preservation. An Artist-in-Residence supports the opportunity for an artist to live in the park and produce original works of art. In exchange, the artist agrees to donate a piece of work to the park.

Protecting Historic Places
(Facilities Management)

Visitor Amenities
Funding from Friends of the Smokies maintains vault toilets in these popular areas for visitor convenience.
Townsend Visitor Amenities  |  $4,000
Roaring Fork Visitor Amenities  |  $15,000
Cataloochee Visitor Amenities  |  $17,200

Little Greenbrier SchoolGreenbrier Picnic Area Renovation  |  $31,200
Park maintenance crews will rehabilitate the Greenbrier Picnic Area in coordination with volunteer groups. Funds will be used to purchase 12 picnic tables and lumber/gravel to create a defined, sustainable surface for the tables.

Greenbrier Road Improvements  |  $14,400
Presently, the park maintenance crew grade and add gravel to the Greenbrier Road annually. With increased day use and all-terrain vehicles, the road is suffering from more potholes and movement of gravel. This request will allow additional grading work and gravel to improve the overall condition of the road and visitor experience.

Palmer House Barn  |  $8,900
The unique, large ramp leading into Palmer Barn in Cataloochee is currently degraded due to rotted wood. The timbers and supports have exceeded their lifecycle and will be replaced in kind with this funding.

Cable Mill Water Wheel Replacement  |  $82,500
The wheel at Cable Mill has exceeded its lifecycle and is in need of replacement. The11’ x 4’ wheel was replaced approximately 18 years ago. This project would provide funding for the labor and materials for the park crew to construct a replacement water wheel that we forecast would have a 20-year lifecycle. The project will take approximately 6 months to complete with much of the prefabrication being done off site.

Historic Structure Roof Replacement  |  $38,900
The existing wood shake roofs on the Alex Cole Cabin, Jim Bales Barn, and Jim Bales Corn Crib on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail have exceeding their life cycle. These funds will provide support critical to the continued preservation of the structures.

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Rehabilitation (Fall 2017-Spring 2018)  |  $145,000
These monies will help us add to the existing Partners in Preservation Grant ($250,000) to better preserve the tower and ensure that visitors continue to experience this unique structure spiraling up from the highest point in the park. Since 1959, millions of visitors have climbed the tower, where they can see distances of up to 100 miles over the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Cades Cove Fencing  |  $52,600
Over the last several years, we have repaired or replaced the most critical fences around Cades Cove. We now have 44,000 feet of barbless barbwire fencing, 4,900 feet of locust worm fencing, and 3,200 feet of locust post and stacked rail fencing. These funds will help support 2 seasonal employees who will maintain these fences along with 13 cemeteries and 9 historic structures.

Trails Forever Rehabilitation of Rainbow Falls Trail (Phase 2)  |  $256,000
These funds will support the trail rehabilitation along Rainbow Falls Trail, one of the most heavily-travelled in the Smokies! In addition, these monies support the Trails Forever Volunteer Coordinator position that better enables us to engage volunteers of all ages in hands-on stewardship. This project will resolve the safety issues and make the trail more enjoyable to hike.

Rainbow Falls Trail - before & after

Improving Visitor Experience
(Resource & Visitor Protection)

Cades Cove Bike Patrol  |  $900
Volunteer-in-Park Bike Patrollers help Resource & Visitor Protection staff manage bike traffic, provide safety information, and assist in managing accident scenes. These funds will help replace safety uniform shirts, bike equipment, and safety gear.

Remote Surveillance Cameras  |  $800
Having absorbed significant staffing reductions over the past few years, the ability of current staff to detect and observe criminal activity in remote areas of the park has been significantly reduced. Surveillance cameras provide Rangers with the ability to monitor targeted problem areas on a 24-hours basis, aiding in criminal prosecution. The cameras will be used to target resource violations, destruction and vandalism violations, money box theft cases, as well as auto burglary investigations (the park’s most common felony crime) and other criminal activity. These funds will help match federal funds in procuring new cell and blue tooth compatible technologies which would significantly enhance our surveillance capabilities.

Reduce Ginseng Poaching through Marking Ginseng Roots  |  $5,000
These funds support an annual ginseng marking blitz. Thousands of ginseng roots have been marked through this program over the years. Market demands place heavy pressure on this resource from illegal harvesters who poach for profit. This is a very cost-effective way to assist in the deterrence and detection of commercial poaching of this resource at risk.

Elk Bugle Corps Volunteer Members in Cataloochee ValleySupport for the Volunteer Elk Bugle Corps  |  $4,500
During the peak visitation periods for elk-viewing in the Cataloochee area of the park, a team of dedicated volunteers provides interpretive and safety information to park visitors to enhance their viewing experience while helping to preserve the natural behavior patterns of the elk herd. These funds help supply uniforms, educational materials, and supplies.

Support for the Volunteer Roadside Assistance Program  |  $11,500
The Smokies recruits a series of retired law enforcement officers and their spouses to patrol Newfound Gap Road and Cades Cove, providing directions and visitor information, responding to disabled vehicles and lock-outs, and assisting with motor vehicle accidents and bear-related traffic jams. Their presence has substantially freed up the commissioned law enforcement rangers in the park, enabling them to respond more quickly to more serious law enforcement incidents.

S&RPreventive Search and Rescue Seasonal Ranger  |  $21,200
These funds support a seasonal ranger to oversee the new preventative search and rescue (PSAR) program. This program also includes a coordinated PSAR volunteer program to provide information at various trailheads where we see a consistent number of SARs. The ranger and coordinated volunteers will provide valuable information to hikers about trail safety, trail difficulty, and educate hikers on proper preparation before beginning their hike.

Support Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner Program  |  $43,920
Funds will continue to support the Ridgerunner program. Ridgerunners perform the following vital tasks on the Appalachian Trail: check backcountry permits, educate Appalachian Trail hikers regarding park regulations and leave no trace ethics, remove a significant amount of abandoned property and trash from the trail and shelters, clean and maintain privies, perform trail maintenance, and submit weekly reports about the state of the trail and shelters

Total Park Support requested
from Friends of the Smokies in 2018

See a program you love?

Your gifts help us fulfill this

Park Support List each year

and make a huge difference for the park.

Make a donation in support of a program today!