2015 Park Support
From Friends of the Smokies to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
For a printable version of our 2015 Park Support, click here.
Natural Resource Management & Science
Suppress Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Infestation$20,000

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. To date, more than 250,000 individual hemlock trees have been hand-treated, and more than 4,700 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 using predator beetles raised in the Lindsay Young Beneficial Insect Lab at UT.

Picture of Hemlock Treatment

Public Safety Treatment of Ash Trees and Education Outreach$10,000

Emerald Ash Borer was confirmed in GRSM in 2012 in two locations along the Gatlinburg Trail and Greenbrier Road and recently in Cades Cove in 2013. In addition, portions of Blount, Sevier, and Cocke counties in TN 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.

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.

Mow the Viewshed in Cades Cove$6,000

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.

Picture of Cades Cove Viewshed

Support 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.

Support Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR)$8,000

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.

Picture of Black Bears

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.

Support for 23 SCA/Interns for Resource Mgmt & Science Activities$86,164

These 23 interns will spray for hemlock woolly adelgids, eradicate non-native plants, sample streams for brook trout, help trap problem bears, and assist with research activities. These interns get an enormous amount of work experience while providing a huge amount of cost-effective labor. This funding provides a small living allowance and Park housing to these young people who come from all over the US.

Water Quality Monitoring Program$85,000

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.

Picture of Stream

Hog Control and Elk Management$15,744

Funding will provide FLIR thermal imaging units to monitor and manage wildlife, particularly at night or early in the morning. FLIR units can be used to 1) monitor for Indiana bats or northern flying squirrels, 2) locate newborn elk calves in tall grass, 3) conduct deer population counts at night, 4) locate exotic wild hogs along trails in the backcountry at night for removal and 5) locate animals when darting at night. This new technology will improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of wildlife monitoring and management activities and will be vital in making short and long-term management decisions.

Bear Research$13,600

Funding will support one seasonal wildlife biologist to assist with the park’s black bear management program by conducting research to determine the location of garbage and other attractants on private lands and its influence on black bear movements and nuisance behavior in GSMNP and in developed areas around the park.

Resource Education
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.

Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center
Teacher Ranger Teacher
$4,000

A local school teacher will be hired to work on the North Carolina side of the Smokies as part of the national NPS Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program. For 6-8 weeks during the summer, the teacher will assist with the operation of our popular high school intern program, JR Ranger presentations and will also develop a new lesson plan to be posted on the NPS Teacher-Ranger-Teacher website.

Educating Teachers in Science and Technology$7,000

The program includes two teacher workshops (60 total teachers) this fall with the teachers agreeing to use park education materials back in their classrooms and to bring their students to the park for field trips during the 2014-2015 school year.

Reaching Inner City & Underserved Students with STEM Initiatives$19,000

The program will include three Teacher Ranger Teach positions along with 2 teacher workshops (60 total teachers) to be taught in the spring and summer of 2015 with the teachers agreeing to use park education materials back in their classrooms and to bring their students to the park for field trips during the 2015-2016 school year.

Empower Science Teachers through Teacher Workshops$4,324

The goal is improved science education capability. Teachers learn the science of the park and go back and teach their students.

Expand Educational Outreach$49,852

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.

Picture of NC HS Interns

Support Parks as Classrooms programs$92,428

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.

Park Liaison with Cherokee School$41,250

To fund a coordinator for an educational partnership between the park and Cherokee Middle School. The coordinator will develop, implement, and evaluate a planned curriculum used to educate children as to the cultural and natural resources of the Smokies.

MYLES Summer Education Program$2,200

Partnership with Montreat College to provide education programs. Funds will be used for supplies for education programs.

Parkwide Volunteer-in-Park Program
VIP Recognition Awards Program$1,000

Each year almost 3,000 individuals contribute over 160,000 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.

Facilities Management
Visitor Amenities
Cataloochee Visitor Amenities$16,300
Roaring Fork Visitor Amenities$14,100
Townsend Wye Visitor Amenities$ 3,700
Picture of Cataloochee Cabin
Support Operations for the Appalachian Highlands Center$30,400

This support covers interior custodial services, utilities, road maintenance, and mowing of the meadows.

Trails Forever Rehabilitation of Alum Cave Trail (Phase 1)$244,300

These funds will support the continuation of trail rehabilitation along one of the most heavily-travelled in the Smokies. This project will resolve the safety issues and make the trail more enjoyable to hike.

Picture of Chimneys

Avent Cabin Repairs$2,000

This funding will allow for correcting drainage issues at the rear kitchen door that is currently washing on to the threshold causing decay. We will also be able to repair the floor boards, correct the front door sagging, re-glaze the kitchen windows, repair back door jamb, and apply preservative to the log end dovetail joints.

Hikers Club Cabin Repair$2,500

This funding will allow the park to correct drainage issues at the front and rear of the cabin, repair the floor boards that are buckled, and apply wood preservative to soft spots in the exterior logs.

Cable Mill Roof Replacement$17,200

This funding will allow for the replacement of the wood shakes on the mill house. Inspections show the roof has been leaking at times and is in need of total replacement to avoid water damage to the lathing, rafters, and floors. The mill house roof has been in place for a number of years and has outlived its life cycle. Replacing the wood shakes will keep this roof in good condition for approximately 15 years.

Ephraim Bales Cabin Repairs$6,700

This funding would provide for several repairs on this cabin. Recent inspections show the need to replace several floor puncheons, replace the rear steps, repair the fence, and to repair sagging logs by the chimney.

Resource & Visitor Protection
Equestrian Leave No Trace Training Program$500

In 2012, local horsemen and park employees were trained as Equestrian Leave No Trace Master Educators with funding support from Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains. Since that time, these individuals have formed the Smokies Master Educator’s Alliance (SMEA) to support Leave No Trace (LNT) awareness and training efforts in local communities surrounding the park and have held courses annually. These funds will cover the cost of providing another ELNT Trainer course. By offering this course every year, we hope to continue to foster positive relationships with local horsemen and help alleviate horse-related issues in the backcountry.

Provide Support for New Volunteer Cades Cove Bicycle Patrol$900

Volunteer-in-Park Bike Patrollers help Resource & Visitor Protection staff manage bike traffic, provide safety information, and assist in managing accident scenes.

Support for the All-Volunteer Elk Bugle Corps$3,150

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.

Reduce Ginseng Poaching through Marking Ginseng Roots$4,000

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. 2012 was record year for marking roots within the Park at nearly 3,000. This is a very cost-effective way to assist in the deterrence and detection of commercial poaching of this resource at risk.

Backcountry Privy Replacement$9,100

Funding would be used to remove the current privy at Cosby Knob and construct a new moldering privy of a design that that allows for quick and easy movement between the composting bins and will be more sanitary for both users and maintainers. In addition, the new privy design will be handicap accessible. The new privy will be similar to those used in the recent construction of backcountry privies at Mt Collins and Double Spring Gap which were also generously funded by the Richard Haiman National Park Foundation. This project will also support maintaining the mulch supply for the LeConte and Pecks backcountry privies, both of which have proven to be extremely difficult to keep adequately supplied with mulch through volunteer efforts alone due to their locations and high visitor use.

Support for the Volunteer Roadside Assistance Program$11,185

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.

Support Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner Program$38,500

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.

Picture of AT Sign at Newfound Gap


Total 2015 Park Support requested from Friends of the Smokies$886,397


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