2013 Park Support
Friends of the Smokies Needs List
For a printable version of our 2013 Park Support List, click
Support for Cherokee Student Archeological Field School$9,523
The focus of this project is to support cataloging the artifacts excavated at the 2012 Cherokee Archeological Field School at Couches Creek along with preparing a field report. The field school is a cooperative effort between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), the National Park Service, and the University of Tennessee’s Archeological Research Laboratories. In 2012, the National Park Foundation provided support for the field school, but we need these funds to complete the analysis of the collections. The EBCI have committed to providing an additional $9,000 to help support this analysis and cataloging.
Taxidermy Mounts for Park Collection$3,000
These funds will be used to create the needed specimens of various native birds and mammals for the Park’s natural history collection as well as prepare skins for our Resource Education staff to use in educational programs for the benefit of park visitors and local schoolchildren.
Water Quality Monitoring Program$115,000
Photo by Sam Hobbs
One of the park’s biggest single resource issues is trying to improve water quality in North Carolina and Tennessee. All of the Park’s watersheds have their headwaters deep within the protection of the Park far from any upstream point-source pollution, but due to the large amounts of air borne acid and mercury being deposited, and leaching out of soils, many of the Park’s high elevation streams are too acidic to support brook trout. This project supports a long-term UT study that will help correlate changes (reductions) in acid being deposited with changes in water quality at a site on Noland Divide. (Read more about environmental factors affecting the Smokies)
Suppress Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Infestation$50,000
Photo by NPS
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. To date, more than 200,000 individual hemlock trees have been hand-treated, and more than 4,400 acres of hemlock-dominated forest have been set aside as special conservation areas. The eastern hemlock is the only shade-tolerant conifer in the Smokies, and its helps to regulate forest and stream temperatures to support the habitat of a myriad of other species including brook trout and migratory birds. Protection includes a combination of soap spraying in the front country, systemic pesticides in more remote areas and biological control using predator beetles raised in the Lindsay Young Beneficial Insect Lab at UT. (Watch the Park’s beetle release podcast)
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 (EAB)$5,500
EAB was confirmed in GRSM in 2012 in two locations along the Gatlinburg Trail and Greenbrier Road. Portions of Blount, Sevier, and Cocke counties in TN have been confirmed positive for EAB. As of September 2012, no counties in NC have been confirmed positive for EAB. These funds will support the systemic treatment of 300 ash trees in developed areas (campgrounds, picnic areas, parking areas) in TN to prevent hazard tree danger.
Mow the Viewshed in Cades Cove$10,000
Photo by Sam Hobbs
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. (Watch a prescribed burn in Cades Cove)
Support Bear Management and Hog Reduction$34,300
Provides seasonal park staff to manage wildlife and public safety issues. Activities include working traffic jams that result from bear sightings along park roadways to reducing the population of wild hogs which are invasive, disease-carrying destroyers of the park’s ecosystem.
Support Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR)$10,000
Photo by Sam Hobbs
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. At this time the ABR is home to a record of at least 23 orphaned cubs and injured animals from throughout the Southeast including six orphaned cubs from the Smokies most of whose mothers had been hit by vehicles or taken by hunters outside the Park.
Reduce Backcountry Bear Problems with Food Storage Cable Systems$4,000
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.
Discover Life In America (DLIA) is a non-profit organization managing the Park’s All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, a massive and unique science project seeking to discover and document every living species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most biologically diverse park in the country. Funding from Friends of the Smokies supports scores of scientists involved in this research, and provides for project administration.
Support for 26 SCA/Interns for Resource Mgmt & Science Activities$85,000
These 26 Student Conservation Association interns will spray for hemlock woolly adelgids, eradicate non-native plants, sample stream for brook trout, help trap problem bears, work on archeological digs, and assist with research activities. These interns get an enormous amount of work experience while providing a huge amount of cost-effective labor. A large proportion of the Park’s later seasonal employees and many permanent staffers “cut their teeth” as interns. This funding provides a small living allowance and Park housing to these young people who come from all over the US. (Learn more about SCA online and in this video)
Support Park-wide Parks as Classrooms$112,372
Photo by Finley Holiday
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 Great Smoky Mountains National Park as an enormous outdoor classroom help foster a love for nature and inform the next generation of park supporters. The curriculum requirements for Blount County Middle Schools has changed so new PAC curriculum will be developed and middle school students added to the program. (Watch a video about Parks as Classrooms)
Archeology Field School$7,156
The purpose of the field school is to provide training to Cherokee high school students in archeological field methods, in understanding their heritage through archaeological sites, in providing public outreach and education, in interpreting an important piece of the Cherokee culture, and in developing a science initiative for Native American students in NPS careers.
School Program with Robbinsville$3,039
Resource Education staff are providing a series of service learning field experiences for Robbinsville students.
Science-Based Learning Haywood County$3,557
Rangers are working with teachers in Haywood County to upgrade lesson plans and provide materials for science-based classroom programs.
Expand Educational Outreach$87,925
Photo by Finley Holiday
Additional funding for environmental education will go to expand Parks as Classrooms as well as the Junior Ranger program and the Not-So-Junior Ranger program. The expansion also includes conducting teacher workshops and hiring high school interns.
Through this program, Resource Education staff will select 14 students as High School Interns. Students will be exposed to NPS careers and have stewardship opportunities.
NC High School Intern Program$23,924
Six High school students from Swain County and Cherokee Central Schools along with participants from Graham, Haywood, and other nearby counties will be selected as High School Interns. In addition, one teacher will be selected as a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher. These funds will also help support a project coordinator.
Empower Science Teachers through Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program$12,000
The goal is improved science education capability. Teachers from area high schools become seasonal employees in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They learn the science of the park, and go back and teach their students.
Sugarlands Visitor Center Renovation$100,000
The Sugarlands Visitor Center is laid out in a configuration that often causes visitors to overlook the natural resource exhibits in the museum area. In 2012, the Park had design work completed to guide renovations. These funds would be used to fabricate exhibits, construct new walls, construct new front desk, provide new flooring, and paint the interior.
Townsend Wye Visitor Amenities$ 4,000
Roaring Fork Visitor Amenities$16,300
Cataloochee Visitor Amenities$16,200
Funding from Friends of the Smokies maintains vault toilets in these popular areas for visitor convenience.
This support covers interior custodial services, utilities, road maintenance, and mowing of the meadows.
Cades Cove Fencing$42,200
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.
Manage Public Rental Use Programs at the Appalachian Clubhouse
and Spence Cabin
Photo by Sam Hobbs
A seasonal employee will perform onsite management of these historic structures in Elkmont that are open for day-use rental. Duties include conducting pre-rental tours for interested groups, inspecting the condition pre- and post rental, and cleaning if needed. (Learn more about the Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin both available for day rental)
Erosion at Carter Shields$2,900
The walkway at the Carter Shields Cabin has severely eroded, negatively impacting the cultural landscape appearance and visitor safety. This project would provide for filling in the eroded walkway with materials lined with treated timbers.
Mount Cammerer Firetower$2,400
Recent inspections and reports reveal a need for the several repairs at Mt. Cammerer Firetower due to vandalism including replacing the door, a window, and pickets that have been removed from the railing. In addition, the observation deck flooring needs will be repaired.
Henry Whitehead Cabin$3,500
Photo by Sam Hobbs
Built in 1896, this popular cabin in Cades Cove has suffered log rot on the front of the dog trot. These funds will be used to replace these logs as well as repairing the porch floor.
Replace Roof of Noah Bud Ogle Cabin$10,500
The Noah Bud Ogle cabin along the Cherokee Orchard Road is one of the most visited in the Park. The shake roof needs to be replaced by the Park Historic Preservation Crew.
Replace Roof of Ferguson Cabin$9,300
This cabin at Purchase Knob has several leaks in the roof along with damage to the porch and chimney. These funds will allow the Park Historic Preservation Crew to replace the wood shake roof and make needed repairs to the chimney and porch.
Kress Hall Cabin at Bone Valley$9,300
Built in 1892, this cabin currently has a large hole in the roof due to age. These funds would support the reroofing, along with making needed repairs to the compromised framing and a failed section of the porch.
Little Cataloochee Church$10,600
Photo by Sam Hobbs
Built in 1889, the Little Cataloochee Church is one of our best preserved structures, although Park staff recently discovered failures at the stone foundation, sill plate, and severe rot to the bell cradle in the steeple. These funds will allow the Park Historic Preservation Crew to make needed repairs and keep this structure in good condition.
These funds will be used to repair the bridging of the flume, replace wooden bearings, replace drive belt, sharpen stones, and repair the rotten elevated flume platform.
Phase 1$ 23,700
Chimney Top Trail Before Rehab
Photo by Sam Hobbs
Chimney Top Trail After Rehab
Photo by Sam Hobbs
These funds will support the continuation of trail rehabilitation along one of the most heavily-travelled in the Smokies. Phase 1 will complete the section from the trailhead to the Road Prong trailhead. Phase 2 will address the severely eroded trail sections and safety hazards from the Road Prong junction to the first left hand switchback up the trial for 0.4 miles. This project will resolve the safety issues and make the trail more enjoyable to hike.
Resource & Visitor Protection
Support for the All-Volunteer Elk Bugle Corps$2,300
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>. (Read the Park’s latest elk progress report)
Support for the Volunteer Roadside Assistance Program$8,150
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. (Learn how to volunteer in the Smokies)
Support Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner Program$51,930
Each year the Park recruits a series of individuals who provide a presence on the Appalachian Trail from March through October. They provide visitor information, do trail maintenance, pack out litter, keep up composting privies, report on the condition of the trail and the shelters, report emergencies and advise hikers on food storage and other regulations, and relay real-time information regarding possible problem bears. Their presence on the AT for over 15 years has made a huge difference in the Park’s ability to manage the AT. (What is a Ridgerunner?)
Reduce Ginseng Poaching through Marking Ginseng Roots$5,000
Ginseng is a staple medicine, but it is illegal to take it from the national park. It is legal to sell it outside of the park. To prove that the park’s ginseng is being sold on the market, rangers work with state resource agencies to mark roots with dye or magnetic strips. (Read our newsletter story about ginseng poaching prevention efforts)
Provide Support for New Volunteer Cades Cove Bicycle Patrol$500
Photo by Phillip Beeler
Ten volunteers will be recruited to help manage Cades Cove bike traffic, provide visitor information, and help manage accident scenes. This will buy the safety equipment to set up the program.
Repair Kephart Shelter Roof, Icewater Privy, and Pecks Corner Privy$6,600
The installation of a privy at these popular shelter locations will concentrate and compost human waste and alleviate a serious sanitation and visual problem. These privies have worked well at six other heavily-used shelters along the AT. In addition, the Kephart shelter roof is in need of replacement.
Support for AED for Oconaluftee Visitor Center$1,600
The new Oconaluftee Visitor Center is the last remaining significant public use facility in the park that does not have an Automated External Defibrilator (AED) available for staff use in the event of a visitor or employee being stricken with sudden cardiac arrest.
Parkwide Volunteer-in-Park Program
VIP Recognition Awards Program$1,000
VIP Jim Burbank
VIPs on Dolly Parade Float
Each year almost 3,000 individuals contribute over 135,000 hours of volunteer service with VIP’s supporting virtually all phases of Park operations. One of the factors that keeps these people coming back is the Park’s ability to provide recognition in the form of awards such as plaques, belt buckles, outdoor gear, etc.
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.
Adopt a Cabin Program$1,600
Provide 60 Volunteers with Adopt-a-Cabin tool kits to enable them to remove minor graffiti, repair loose floorboards, and report needs to our Historic Preservation crew. (See a list of volunteer opportunities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
Total 2013 Park Support requested from Friends of the Smokies$1,147,324
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