WCU will digitize historic Smokies photos

out frWestern Carolina University’s Hunter Library will produce a new digital collection of 2,000 items focused on the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with support from a $93,000 grant from the North Carolina State Library.

“The park certainly has an amazing and well-cared-for archive, but it’s locked away,” said Anne Fariello, associate professor of digital initiatives with Hunter Library. “We will be digitally preserving and increasing access to material that is important, not only to the development of the park, but also to the region.”

Turned Away: Visitors, residents barred from national park

coverWhen Joe and Dolly Parker approached the entrance of the Deep Creek campground Tuesday morning, the sign read “Office Closed.”

“We can’t believe this,” Dolly said.

A retired couple from Key Largo, Fla., the Parkers spend upwards of five months each year traveling and camping around the country. Joe rides his motorcycle, with Dolly following behind in their campervan. Amid of all their stops, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of their favorites. 

Rare mountain tornado damages GSMNP

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado formed during an afternoon of thunderstorms and high winds that ripped through Western North Carolina two weeks ago.

Great Smoky Mountains Association looks back

out gsmaThe Great Smoky Mountains Association has turned 60 years old, and although it has changed during the years, its mission has remained the same.

Bridging the gap between young, old

out frWith each passing day, the first-person accounts of what life was like in the Smokies before Google, iTunes or even black-and-white television slip away. So, Beth Bramhall, a seasonal education ranger with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, decided to recruit the next generation to stem the tide of such loss.

The result was “Passing It On: A Digital Storytelling Project,” a year’s worth of old-timers’ stories collected and compiled digitally by area middle- and high-school students who were helped along by their teachers, park staff, local experts and folks from the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

U.S. 441 work nears completion

Repairs to U.S. 441 are nearing completion.

A football-field-sized portion of U.S. 441, which runs through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was completely washed away in January after days of heavy rain resulted in a landslide.

Dark skies — and the stars that go with them — slowly disappearing

coverAlthough the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a protected expanse of land, all types of contamination — from air pollution to mercury contamination — manage to creep in. One of the more unusual suspects, but probably the most apparent, is light.

Saving Shuckstack: Age, weather and vandalism take their toll on Smokies’ firetower

out frIts bolts are rusting, floor planks are rotting, and its windowpanes shattered. The roof is pocked with holes that let in the rain and snow. Even the some of the guardrails have gone missing from the 60-foot-tall lookout tower — an unnerving thought for any person daring enough to climb it.

Uncovering the past before it’s too late: Old Smokies’ homesites slowly succumbing to time and elements

coverAs Don Casada veered off-trail and began bushwhacking his way over fallen logs and through overgrown shrubs along the shore of Lake Fontana, he barely glanced at the trusty GPS unit in his hand.

He’d been this way before, many times, and knew just where he was going. Casada finally stopped at a clearing marked by a looming stone chimney, all that is left of a cabin that early Appalachian settlers had once called home.

Building a bridge of ideas and insight from the Smokies to Iceland

out frBy George Ivey • Contributing writer

What in the world would bring together the Great Smoky Mountains and the country of Iceland way up there in the cold waters of the North Atlantic?

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