1999: Smokies works to overcome hurdles

It’s no coincidence that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the subject of The Smoky Mountain News’ first-ever front-page story in the paper’s inaugural issue June 2, 1999.

2001: Elk return to Western North Carolina

“A large herd gathered last week on a remote, historical farmstead maintained by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Cataloochee Valley,” Don Hendershot wrote for The Smoky Mountain News on Feb. 7, 2001. “The herd, however, were bipeds — nearly 900 people were in attendance for the first of three scheduled elk releases.”

2007: Journey from the Road to Nowhere

If you can’t understand why people in Swain County are distrustful of the federal government, then you are among those unfamiliar with the history of the infamous Road to Nowhere. 

Hiking through history: Little Cataloochee offers a window to the past

One hundred years ago, the parking area and campground just past the fields in Cataloochee Valley where elk often hang out was better known as Nellie, a remote community in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

As anybody who’s ever driven the steep and narrow access road from Jonathan Creek can imagine, it was hard to get in and hard to get out in the days when horsepower came mainly from actual horses. People didn’t have much, partly because of how difficult it was to transport outside goods up and over the ridge. 

Park, tribe sign gathering agreement

An agreement allowing members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to gather sochan in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now official following an event Monday, March 25, in which Smokies Superintendent Cassius Cash and Principal Chief Richard Sneed signed the historic agreement. 

Smokies ranger earns national award

A National Park Service ranger who has focused on the scientific and educational significance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than 20 years earned national praise in this year’s Public Lands Alliance awards ceremony, held Feb. 27 in Denver, Colorado.

Susan Sachs, education branch chief for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, received the 2019 PLA Agency Leadership Award for cultivating and leading partnerships, the result of a nomination from the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

‘Leader of leaders’: New Smokies chief ranger brings impressive career to America’s most visited park

After decades roving the backcountry of some of the largest parks in the Western United States, Lisa Hendy is returning to her home state of Tennessee to serve as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s first female chief ranger. 

At least, that’s the headline picked up by news outlets across the country, and it’s true. Hendy will start her new job April 8, and it will be the first time a woman has served that role in the Smokies. But to Hendy, it’s not about gender. It’s about her ability to do the job, and do it well. 

National Park visits up despite shutdown

Despite a government shutdown that lasted most of the month, visitation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was markedly higher this January than in the same month last year. 

First female chief ranger hired in the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will have its first female chief ranger following the hire of Lisa Hendy, who currently serves as chief ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Smokies records highest-ever visitation in 2018

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park set a new visitation record for 2018, welcoming 11.4 million visitors to its 816 square miles last year.

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