Posts Tagged ‘Friends of the Smokies’

Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial and ‘Hike 100′

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial, Superintendent Cassius Cash has committed to hike 100 miles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park during 2016 and is challenging the public to do the same. The 100-mile goal is part of the “Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100” program. This program aims to inspire all potential hikers—young and old, new and skilled—to experience and gain a new appreciation and stewardship for their national park.
All levels of hikers are invited to join the 100-Mile Challenge.

All levels of hikers are invited to join the Hike 100 Challenge.

“I invite people of all ages and backgrounds, including millennials, to join me on this journey as we discover and explore the Smokies,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “The Hike 100 challenge allows me to have a personal role in ensuring that the next generation of park users, supporters, and advocates carries on the legacy of the National Park Service for the next 100 years. The lifeline of any legacy is to ensure that our voices are not only heard by the next generation, but also shared in a manner that inspires them to pick up the torch from the previous generation and carry it forward.”

 

To complete the Hike 100 challenge, participants must hike any 100 miles of maintained trail within the park boundaries between January 1 and December 6, 2016. These miles can include everything from the front country nature trails to the extensive backcountry network of trails. Participants can choose to hike the same trail repeatedly or choose to hike many different trails to accumulate a total of 100 miles. Participants who reach the 100-mile goal will earn a commemorative “Smokies Centennial Challenge – Hike 100” pin and be invited to a park celebration hosted by Superintendent Cash.
As part of the Hike 100 program, the park is hosting hikes for several regional youth organizations throughout the year. These opportunities will provide a chance for groups, who otherwise face barriers to travel due lack of transportation or funding restraints, a chance to explore the Smokies. These groups will have the added benefit of hiking alongside Superintendent Cash, as well as experienced hikers from the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club and Carolina Mountain Club.
The Superintendent is also providing a unique opportunity for the general public to hike alongside him on his way to reaching the 100-mile goal through a series of four hikes open to the public. Two front country hikes in August and December will be completely open to the public, while two backcountry hikes in June and October will be limited to 20 people each. Information about the dates, trails, and how to sign up for one of these public hikes is provided on the park website on the Hike 100 page.
In addition to information about the public hikes, the Hike 100 page on the park website provides opportunities for the Superintendent and hikers to share their experiences and reflections about their journeys towards their 100 miles, and a hiking log that participants can use to track their miles. Please visit the website at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/gsmnp-hike-100.htm.
The Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100 program is made possible by an Active Trails grant issued by the National Park Foundation and though the continued support of Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies.
For more information about the Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100 program, please visit the park website or contact us by email at gsmnp_hike_100@nps.gov.
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Contact: Dana Soehn
(865) 436-1207

 

Dolly’s Homecoming Parade To Feature Firefighting Theme

Pigeon Forge salutes hometown superstar Dolly Parton on May 2

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 2014) – Firefighters, fire trucks and Dolly Parton are in the combustible mix on May 2 when Pigeon Forge salutes the world-famous entertainer with the annual Dolly’s Homecoming Parade.

Thousands line the Parkway for Dolly's Homecoming Parade.

Thousands line the Parkway for Dolly’s Homecoming Parade.

The parade, which will travel on the Parkway through the center of town, will carry the theme of the Dollywood theme park’s newest thrill ride, the FireChaser Express roller coaster.

Traveling right behind Parton on her own FireChaser Express float will be Pigeon Forge’s newest piece of firefighting equipment, a massive 100-foot ladder truck.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. at Traffic Light 6 and goes north to Traffic Light 3. Spectators are invited to line both sides of the route.

“Dolly’s Homecoming Parade is a rite of spring for us. We want to salute Dolly for the many wonderful contributions she makes to our community, and the parade lets fans shout out their support, too,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which organizes the parade.

More than 110 floats, marching bands, vehicles and organizations will be in the parade, including the marching bands from Pigeon Forge High School and Sevier County High School.

A special participant is the 190-member Crossroads Christian Church Choir from Newburgh, Ind., which will perform at the Dollywood theme park the next day.

Others in the parade include Girl Scouts, twirling groups, Shriners, veterans groups, the Boys and Girls Club, equestrian clubs and the Friends of the Smokies, the private sector support group for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“It’s a big parade with a small-town flavor and an international superstar in the lead float. It’s quite an event,” Downey said.

For information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge and other city-sponsored events, visit MyPigeonForge.com or call toll-free to 1-800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

 

Telethon To Raise Money for Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The only telethon in the U.S. for a national park is on the calendar for Aug. 19 (Thursday) to raise money for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It is the 19th Annual Friends Across the Mountains Telethon, a project of Friends of the Smokies, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports America’s most visited national park.

The telethon will air from 7-8 p.m. on WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tenn., and WLOS-TV in Asheville, N.C. The park, which covers a half-million acres of Appalachian wilderness, is split between Tennessee and North Carolina.

Friends of the Smokies is devoting more than $1.1 million this year to support education, conservation, recreation and historic preservation in the park.

Current projects include continued rehabilitation of the Chimney Tops Trail by the Trails Forever crew, ongoing suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid and funding for Parks as Classrooms environmental education programs for more than 18,000 students.

Individuals and businesses have three ways to support the telethon – by donating online at FriendsOfTheSmokies.org, by calling 877-884-6867 during the telethon or by calling the offices of Friends of the Smokies to request a donation form (865-932-4794 and 800-845-5665 in Tennessee and 828-452-0720 in North Carolina.)

National Park Visitor Center Gets Facelift

Great Smoky Mountains waterfall (Photo: Tom Adkinson)

Great Smoky Mountains waterfall (Photo: Tom Adkinson)

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK (April 2013) – At age 50, the Sugarlands Visitor Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gotten a major facelift.

The Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies, two private sector organizations, funded the project.

Approximately 850,000 visitors a year come through the visitor center, which is on the Tennessee side of the 800-square-mile park that is split between Tennessee and North Carolina.

The work included new flooring, paint, lighting and a new entrance into a natural history museum. Park crews did most of the work during evening hours, permitting the visitor center to remain open throughout the project.

One of the special touches is a masonry wall that mirrors the original architecture of the building and invites visitors into the redesigned visitor contact area.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the U.S. (9,685,829 visitors in 2012). Park information is at nps.gov/grsm.