Telethon draws support for national park

Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park raised more than $200,000 through its “Friends Across the Mountains” telethon this year, thanks to hundreds of callers and help from sponsors.

The money will fund more than $1 million of park improvements this year, to protect black bears, heal hemlock trees, and preserve historic log cabins and churches from Cades Cove to Cataloochee Valley.

Since 1995, Friends of the Smokies telethons have raised more than $2.9 million.

During the broadcast, Sugarland Cellars owner Don Collier presented a $20,000 check to the organization. Other sponsors include Dollywood, Mast General Store, Pilot Corporation and SmartBank. 

“The generous response to this year’s ‘Friends Across the Mountains’ telethon is a continuing testimony to the love that people have for the Smokies and how very important it is to our region,” says Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart.

Telethon donations can still be made online at

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