2014 Park Support
From Friends of the Smokies to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
For a printable version of our 2014 Park Support, click
Natural Resource Management & Science
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.
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 and recently in Cades Cove in 2013. In addition, 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.
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.
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)$9,000
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.
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 Indiana Bat Telemetry Study$2,500
These funds would allow us to provide 10 radio-transmitters for a study led by Dr. Joy O’Keefe, Director of the Center for Bat Research, Outreach and Conservation. Objectives of the study are to 1) measure roost habitat selection for Indiana bats in GRSM during the emergence period from caves in early April and May, and 2) assess thermoregulatory strategies of Indiana bats at root in spring. Results of the study will provide a better understanding of the risks associated with fires during spring for roosting Indiana bats.
Support for 26 SCA/Interns for Resource Mgmt & Science Activities$86,324
These 26 Student Conservation Associates (SCAs)/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.
Support Cultural Resource Collections Storage at OSTI$48,123
The project would fund the continued storage of cultural museum collections at the Office of Science and Technology (OSTI) into 2014. Park museum collections are currently stored at OSTI in space rented from the Department of Energy. This space provides more appropriate storage than can be provided in the park. Approximately 30,000 historic, archaeological, and archival items are currently stored at OSTI.
Elkmont Wayside Exhibits$14,500
Fabrication of 11 Elkmont wayside exhibit panels and frames which were designed in FY 2012. These exhibits tell the stories of the Elkmont Historic District highlighting the former communities of Millionaires’ Row, Society Hill, and Daisy Town.
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.
Sugarlands Visitor Center Museum Taxidermy$2,300
Following the recent visitor center renovations, the popular natural history museum is receiving even more visitation after the entrance was made more open and inviting! In 2013, we were able to replace the gray fox, bob white, and ruffed grouse. In 2014, we are requesting funds to replace the red squirrel, eastern screech owl, muskrat, oven bird, wood thrush, sharp shinned hawk, mink, and broad winged hawk. These museum specimens need to be replaced due to their advanced age.
Educating Teachers in Science and Technology$17,000
The program will include two teacher workshops (60 total teachers) in the spring and summer of 2014 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. This includes a request for $4,000 for bus stipends to assist with transportation expenses for 40 field trips with up to 60 students each.
Funds requested are a one-time expense for the purchase of equipment to launch a distance learning initiative as part of the Smokies' Parks as Classrooms program. Students will create blogs, video storytelling and photo journaling about their field trip experiences in the Park that will be shared with other schools and national parks across the country that are creating special student experiences leading up the National Park Service Centennial in 2016.
Empower Science Teachers through
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.
NC High School Intern Program$4,324
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.
Expand Educational Outreach$59,581
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.
Support Park-wide Parks as Classrooms$114,900
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.
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.
Manage Public Rental Use Programs at
the Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin
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.
Paint Hiram Caldwell House$15,700
The Hiram Caldwell House in Big Cataloochee is a two story balloon frame residence that was built in 1906. Due to weathering of the exterior finishes the porches and siding are suffering rapid deterioration. The exterior paint has exceeded its normal life cycle. The replacement of severely rotted components and repainting the entire exterior will stop the further infiltration of moisture and stop the decay of the wood components.
Cataloochee Visitor Amenities$16,200
Roaring Fork Visitor Amenities$14,000
Townsend Wye Visitor Amenities$ 4,000
Support Operations for the Appalachian Highlands Center$26,027
This support covers interior custodial services, utilities, road maintenance, and mowing of the meadows.
Cades Cove Fencing$24,700
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.
Trails Forever Rehabilitation of Chimney Tops Trail (Phase 2 & 3)$200,000
These funds will support the continuation of trail rehabilitation along one of the most heavily-travelled in the Smokies. Phase 2 will complete the section from the Road Prong trailhead to the first left hand switchback up the trail for 0.4 miles. Phase 3 will complete the last 0.4 miles to the summit of the trail at Chimney Tops. This project will resolve the safety issues and make the trail more enjoyable to hike.
Resource & Visitor Protection
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$3,300
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.
Reduce Ginseng Poaching through Marking Ginseng Roots$4,000
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.
Backcountry Privy Replacement$10,450
Funding would be used to remove the current privies and construct new moldering privies 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. The new privies will be similar to those used in the recent construction of backcountry privies at LeConte, Icewater and Pecks. Privies at Cosby, Mt. Collins, Double Spring and Spence are of this outdated design. The two privies that will be replaced under this project will be determined in consultation with the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club based on priority assessments.
Support for the Volunteer Roadside Assistance Program$10,610
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$37,600
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.
Student Conservation Association (R&VP)$13,550
Continued support for two Resource & Visitor Protection SCA volunteer positions. Volunteers work for 12 weeks during our busy field seasons (spring, summer, fall). Students hired through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) receive free travel to the park along with a weekly stipend.
Construction of Joint Curatorial Collections Preservation Center$700,000
This facility will house the Park’s cultural resource collection that includes a wide range of artifacts including archeological specimens dating back 8,000 years, tools, clothing, and household items from the cabins of pre-park settlers, and thousands of photographs, documents, and other archival records. These items are currently in storage at Sugarlands Visitors Center and in rented space at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In addition to the collection from the Smokies, the facility will include the collections of four other National Park Service Areas- Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Big South Fork River and Recreation Area, and Obed Wild and Scenic River. Altogether the collection will contain 144,000 artifacts, 220,000 archival records, and about 275 lineal feet of library materials.
Total 2014 Park Support requested from Friends of the Smokies$1,599,088
Your Membership Matters -
Become a Friend Today!
Wherever you go in the Smokies, you can see the results of our collective efforts, but we still have a lot more work to do. Please help us help the Smokies. Become a Friend Today! Click for more info.