Saturday, September 22, 2007

Drought conditions still affect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Water is scarce in some parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) and the Appalachian Trail which can spell serious trouble for hikers and campers who plan on normally abundant water sources.

We have seen our river and lake levels at extremely low levels this year due to an extended drought for this entire year. Springtime in the Smokies saw excessive wildfires in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding state parks and forests.

Now to compound the water problems in the Smokies large areas of the park are "dry" where most or all of the free running springs won't allow any relief to parched hikers - or local animals.

In particular on the Appalachian Trail between Shuckstack Mountain north of Fontana Dam to Spence Field there is approximately a 16 mile stretch that is dry as well as the Russell Field Shelter and Mollies Ridge Shelter and backcountry sites 4, 5, 6, 7, 16, 26, 42, 113.

Smokies plant life

Today's gentle rain falling in parts of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains might have brought some mild relief from the warmth of the afternoon but other than making the leaves on the ground a little less crunchy while hiking and making for some nice raindrops on a leaf pictures (see above) it was not enough to elevate the issues with drying up streams, lakes and wells in both Tennessee and North Carolina.

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