Smoky Mountain Visitors Centers Open MLK Weekend

Smoky Mountain visitors centers open for MLK holiday weekend

Smoky Mountain visitors centers open for MLK holiday weekend

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.

Continue reading…

Some Great Smoky Mountain National Park Facilities Open Despite Government Shutdown

Smoky Mountain Park Closure update.

Smoky Mountain Park Closure update.

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.

Continue reading…

Smoky Mountain Park Facilities Close With Government Shutdown

"Visitors are going to be on their own until the shutdown ends," Laurel Rematore, Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA), CEO.

“Visitors are going to be on their own until the shutdown ends,” Laurel Rematore, Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA), CEO.

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.

"Sorry folks park facilities are closed!" National Lampoon's Vacation.

“Sorry folks park facilities are closed!” National Lampoon’s Vacation.

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.”

 

 

Continue reading…

Great Smoky Mountains Farm Museum Fall Harvest Celebration

Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The mountain farm is a great place to discover the secrets of the Smokies.

Great Smoky Mountains Farm Museum Fall Harvest Celebration. The annual Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scheduled for Saturday, September 15, 2018.  This event continues to preserve the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that would later become the national park.  The event is from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.  All activities are free and open to the public.

The purpose of the Mountain Life Festival is to share with park visitors some of the traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life in the southern mountains.  The spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors is reflected in this event.  Demonstrations on the grounds of the mountain farm museum include hearth cooking, apple butter making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, and gardening.   Artifacts and historic photographs from the National Park’s collection will also be on display.  Mountain Life Festival will coincide with our music jam sessions held on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center from 1 -3 pm every first and third Saturday of the month.

The centerpiece of the event is the sorghum syrup demonstration, which the National Park has provided each fall for over 30 years.  The syrup is made much the same way it was produced a hundred or more years ago, using a horse or mule-powered cane mill and a wood-fired cooker.  The syrup making demonstration is provided by students, staff, and volunteers from Swain County High School Future Farmer’s of America through a cooperative agreement with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

The Mountain Farm Museum is located adjacent to the park’s Oconaluftee Visitor Center on US 441 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, two miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina.  For more information call the visitor center at (828) 497-1904.

 

Back Porch Old Time Music Jam

Boogertown Gap

Local artists Boogertown Gap will tell y’all these mountains can inspire anyone to make music!

Back Porch Old Time Music Jam at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. June 16th; July 7th and 21st; August 4th and 18th; and September 1st and 15th, 2018.

Musicians of every skill level are encouraged to string up their favorite acoustic instrument and join the fun. This is your chance to pick with world class music lovers in the beautiful Oconaluftee valley. The raised roof porch is the perfect venue for some old time mountain music that is quintessential to the Smoky Mountains!

Pickers and their families come from far and wide to scrub a rug in Oconaluftee. Music ranges from traditional Scotch-Irish tunes to more contemporary fare including bands such as the Dillards, Old Crow Medicine Show, Flatt & Scruggs and more. Of course they will be pickin’ both kinds of music, Country and Bluegrass!

One of the great things about this event is the entire family can enjoy the music in the cool shade of the porch. Another option is to let the tunes waft down to you on a summers breeze while touring the historic Mountain Farm Museum. They say music hath charm and has been known to soothe the savage beast so don’t be surprised to see an elk or two toe tapping along with the tunes. Speaking of toes, dipping yours in the cool waters of the scenic Oconaluftee river is a sure cure for a hot summer day!

Join us at the Oconaluftee Back Porch for some music and fun. You just might learn something before it is done!