By Holly Scott, Marketing Director
Every year, Friends of the Smokies commits to supporting a list of Park needs. This year the list adds up to nearly $1.6 million. The projects and programs fall into several broad categories with federal governmenty-sounding names like Natural Resource Management & Science, Resource Education, Facilities Management, and Resource & Visitor Protection. We want you to know just how good it is to be a Friend of the Smokies. We want you to know some of the things that your giving makes possible.
Support of Salamanders
Did you know that Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the salamander capital of the world with over 30 species including the largest and most elusive hellbender? Friends of the Smokies funded air & water quality research last year totaling $150,000 to ensure that they have a healthy habitat to live and grow in.
Did you know that Friends of the Smokies partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to reintroduce the majestic elk to Cataloochee Valley after a 150-year absence? Today the herd numbers over 200 animals, and tens of thousands of visitors every year flock to Cataloochee to see and hear them bugle during their annual courtship rituals.
Smokies Brook Trout
Did you know that the brook trout is a native of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and that Friends of the Smokies has funded projects to reintroduce them to their native habitat, enabling you to tell even bigger and better fish stories (or lies) to your friends and grandkids for generations to come?
The Success of Parks as Classrooms
Did you know that Friends of the Smokies has contributed more than $2.3 million over the last 21 years to educate more than 18,000 schoolchildren in Tennessee and North Carolina every year? That totals more than 378,000 students. That would fill Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee almost 4 times!!!
Log Cabins of the Smokies
Did You Know? Did you know that Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the largest collection of historic log cabins and churches of any national park? The Park asks Friends of the Smokies every year to fund restoration work from Cades Cove to Cataloochee Valley, with projects costing anywhere from $12,000 to more than $30,000 each.
Volunteering in the Smokies is a Big Deal
Did You Know? Each year almost 3,000 individuals donate over 150,000 hours of volunteer service to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Friends of the Smokies thanks each and every member of the Park’s Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) program for making our national park a welcoming place for families who visit.