PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS AND MILESTONES

2011 - Proudly furnished $500,000 in educational interpretive exhibits for the new Oconaluftee Visitors Center.
2010 - Purchased 20 acres of land for $782,000 along Soak Ash Creek in Pittman Center, TN which will become part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Read press release here.
Trails Forever Logo 2009 - Trails Forever endowment fund reaches $1.8 million; Trails Forever crew improves 10.5 miles of hiking trails. For more information, visit the Trails Forever website at http://smokiestrailsforever.org/
2008 - Funding provided to help save the eastern hemlocks from the destructive hemlock wooly adelgid has surpassed $1 million. To learn more about the treatment of hemlocks in the Smokies, visit the Park’s website.

  • 5th Annual Evergreen Ball raises $378,000 to support the preservation and protection of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Friends of the Smokies’ Evergreen Ball has a website; click here to visit!

2007 - Support provided to the Park = $1,256,910.

2006 - Support provided to the Park= $1,253,192.85.

  • Construction of new Twin Creeks Science Center, towards which Friends contributed $285,000.
  • Third annual Evergreen Ball raised $330,000 in total revenue.
  • Grand opening of Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob; Friends secured a grant of $75,000 to fully furnish Purchase Knob as a residential learning laboratory for visiting scientists.

2005 - Dedicated new lab at the University of Tennessee to raise predator beetles for the fight against the hemlock woolly adelgid. Watch a podcast about the predator beetles.

  • Facilitated the donation of 4 Prius hybrid vehicles from Toyota to the Park.

2004 - Annual revenue surpassed $2.2 million; Park support exceeded $1 million.

  • Raised nearly $300,000 for emergency efforts to save the park’s hemlock trees from a deadly non-native insect.  
  • Assisted with preservation of Cades Cove barns. The Park’s page about Cades Cove is educational & informative. Learn more!
  • Raised $100,000 for capital improvements for the science center at Purchase Knob.

2003 - Purchased a new search and rescue vehicle for Park law enforcement. You can learn about keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in the Smokies on the Park’s website.       

  • Completed a $250,000 match of an equal amount of Alcoa Foundation funds to benefit Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.

2002 - Supported conservation work to benefit elk, black bears, and brook trout. Bear safety tips, elk herd information, and lots of fish facts are available on the Park’s website.

  • Expanded the Parks as Classrooms program. Funding for Parks as Classrooms is one of Friends’ proudest initiatives each year.

2001 - Returned elk to the Smokies after a 150-year absence.     

  • Opened a new office in Waynesville, NC.        
  • Raised funds for capital improvements for the new Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob

2000 -  Restored wheel on historic Cable Mill in Cades Cove.

  • Along with the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, received the Excellence in Interpretive Support Award from the National Association for Interpretation.

1999 - Preserved and restored four historic log cabins in partnership with Log Cabin Syrup of Aurora Foods, Inc. Photo credit- Samuel Hobbs

  • Provided a new visitor orientation film for Sugarlands Visitor Center. Purchase the film from the Park’s retail partner- the Great Smoky Mountains Association. All purchases benefit the Park! Buy the film here.

1998 - Established three endowments totaling over $250,000.

  • Assisted Discover Life In America in beginning the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory to catalog every living species in the Park. Since 1998, DLIA has discovered 890 species new to science and 6,129 not previously documented in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. DLIA’s great website has wonderful photos, and even bird calls!

1997 - Produced a breeding bird atlas and black bear research and education materials.

  • Educated over 10,000 students in two states through Parks as Classrooms.

1996 - Reconstructed the Alum Cave and Boulevard Trails damaged by Hurricane Opal.

  • Rehabilitated picnic areas & campgrounds with a grant from Georgia-Pacific.
  • Restored the historic Alfred Reagan House.

1995 - Reconstructed the historic Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower. Watch a podcast about the Mt. Cammerer fire tower .

  • Raised funds through the first ever telethon for a national park.
  • Provided a backcountry safety film.

1994 - Constructed a log dormitory for the Park’s seasonal employees.
1993 - 156 charter members donated $1,000 each to found Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.