Smoky Mountain Super Moon will rise above the Southern Appalachian mountains Wednesday, March 20, 2019. This Smoky Mountain special event is the final Super Moon of the year appearing on the same day as the vernal equinox, the beginning of spring! This super moon is known as the “Full Worm Moon.” The full moon and the spring equinox arrive within four hours of each other. The last time this occurred was March 2000, but the last time it was on the same date was March 20, 1981.
A “supermoon” means the Moon will be almost at its closest point to the Earth for the month. This is the third and final supermoon of 2019. The moon will seem bigger and brighter than normal.
Traditionally Native American and other historical names for full Moons were used to keep track of the seasons. Each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month during which it appears. The Moon we view in March is known as the Full Worm Moon. During this time of year the ground begins to soften from the cold extremes of winter inviting earthworms to begin to appear and do their thing. Robins and other birds begin to feed on them and this was always considered a verifiable sign of spring. This re-birth of the earth is accompanied by roots pushing their way through the soil with green shoots popping up.
Smoky Mountain Visitors Centers Open MLK Weekend. Friends of the Smokies will temporarily fund the reopening of Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, N.C., Friday through Monday, Jan. 18-21, 2019.
Visitation to the park usually increases during these dates due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Both visitor centers will be open Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Following the closure Monday evening, the two visitor centers will again close until federal funding is restored and the park fully reopens.
“We are proud to commit funding for the visitor centers and restrooms to reopen during the holiday weekend in order for rangers to provide a safe and enjoyable visitor experience,” Friends of the Smokies Executive Director Tim Chandler said. “Any opportunity to work with our partners to preserve and protect America’s most-visited national park is a welcome one, and Friends of the Smokies stands at the ready to provide further support.”
Some Great Smoky Mountain National Park Facilities Open Despite Government Shutdown. Beginning Sunday January 13, 2019 some basic services to visitors will reopen using revenue generated by recreational fees. Limited visitor services including restrooms and campgrounds will be available for park visitors.
The use of Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement Act funds will bring maintenance crews back to work to maintaining roads. Crews will reopen and maintain restrooms at Cades Cove campground, Smokemont Campground and the Deep Creek picnic area. Crews will also be dispatched to clear and reopen Litlle River Road between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend Wye. The Section of road has been closed for over two weeks due to reported downed trees and a rock slide. The restrooms at Newfound Gap and Cades Cove will remain open after emergency funds provided by Friends of the Smokies are depleted. The Great Smoky Mountain Association is also donating services to reopen the Cable Mill Visitor Center in Cades Cove. Thanks to a preexisting contract prior to the shutdown the dumpsters will continue to emptied. Sugarlands and Oconaluftee Visitors Centers will remain closed.
Smoky Mountain Park Facilities Close With Government Shutdown.
“Visitors are going to be on their own until the shutdown ends,” said Laurel Rematore, Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA), CEO. “We are encouraging people visiting the park to prepare for a lack of public use facilities such as restrooms, trash pickup and visitor center staffing.“
GSMA (a nonprofit partner of the Smokies) had been providing short term funding to the park which ended January 1st. The association provided a $51,000.00 donation which kept 15 rangers on the job and the Sugarlands, Oconaluftee, and Cades Cove visitors centers open through the holidays.
One park visitor told HeySmokies, “It feels like that moment in the Chevy Chase comedy favorite “Vacation” where the entire family has driven across county in the family truckster to Wally World only to find the park closed. This time it is no joke though.”