Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The #1 reason people come to the Smoky Mountains are the Smoky Mountains themselves. This reason makes plenty of sense; the mountains are the entire reason we have a tourism industry here to begin with. It’s the same reason the Native Americans came here, the same reason the European settlers came here, the same reason many other families from across the generations came here and the same reason people come here from all over the planet today – the Smokies and the National Park we have here are just utterly GORGEOUS.
The national park was officially created on June 15, 1934. Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the ceremony at Newfound Gap, a central point along the spine of the mountains that separates Tennessee from North Carolina. A $5 million investment from famous industrialist John D. Rockefeller, along with the support of concerned citizens throughout the region, helped attain the final goal of the park’s establishment, protecting nearly 500,000 acres of land from development and creating a public space for the entire country’s enjoyment. More species of plants are found within the park than any other area in North America. Over 1,500 flowering shrubs and plants, 124 species of trees and 30 varieties of orchids and grasses can be found here. The Smokies are also home to a diverse array of wildlife, harboring over 60 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, nearly 70 kinds of fish and 80 varieties of reptiles and amphibians. White-tailed deer, red fox, wood chucks, squirrels and raccoons are often encountered on quiet roadsides. Peregrine falcons, red wolves and river otters are recent re -inductees to the park, having been previously eradicated from the area. The black bear (Ursus americanus) is easily the park’s most popular citizen.
See more on the Great Smoky Mountains with the following links:
National Park Service:
Sugarlands Visitor Center: