Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cades Cove Prescribed Burn in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Final Day for 2011

Right now, the conditions in Cades Cove are perfect for the final day of prescribed burns taking place in the meadows and fields.

Cades Cove Prescribed Burn in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Final Day for 2011

Prescribed burns are used by the Great Smoky Mountains national park on a rotating schedule in Cades Cove to keep fields clear of large brush, and help keep the ecosystem as diverse as possible.

Visitors to Cades Cove and along the Appalachian Trail(AT) today can expect temporary smoky conditions and limited visibility for short durations.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Controlled burn to take place today in Cades Cove Section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hyatt Lane was closed in Cades Cove in anticipation of today's controlled burn to take place of weather permits. Additional burns are scheduled to take place this week in Cades Cove and could possible be pushed into next week as Thursday and Friday do not look like optimum weather for a good burn.

Controlled burn to take place today in Cades Cove Section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Controlled burns are used in the Great Smoky Mountains national park to clear vegetation in fields along with mowing in order to keep filed open from large vegetation such as bushes and trees so they remain as they were historically.

Prescribed burns also reduce fuel so that wild fires do not burn as hot and spread as quickly as they would and unmaintained areas as well as help increase biodiversity.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Mountain Farm Museums "Evening at the Farm" Event

Nestled next to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center which is 2 miles north of Cherokee, NC entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there will be a variety of cultural demonstrations and storytelling for the "An Evening on the Farm" event taking place today from 5:00-6:30 pm.

The Mountain Farm Museum is a collection of century-old buildings as a log cabin, barns, gardens, a corn crib and more. The Davis/Queen farmhouse will also be open for visitors and hot cider will be served.

It is a beautiful day, the weather will be fantastic for the event, and the fall colors are great around the farm and sounding mountainsides.

While you are there be sure to visit the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center, which was donated, to the park along with displays courtesy of the Great Smoky Mountain association and the Friends of the Smokies.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bridge Repair to close Old State Road 284 between Big Creek and Cataloochee NC.

Bridge repair work will close the Old Cataloochee Turnpike/Old State Road 284 starting on or around November 13th 2011 for approximately 2 weeks from the Great Smoky Mountains national park boundary in Big Creek to the Cataloochee area just past the Cataloochee Creek Road/Bypass.

As dates become firm or change, we will post updates.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cades Cove Stargazing Program Tonight Will Be A Perfect End To A Perfect Day in the GSMNP.

Though the weather in the Smokies this weekend was expected to less than perfect just a few days ago, absolutely perfect weather has rolled in and will make tonight's free stargazing programming taking place on the Cades Cove section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park the perfect way to end this glorious day.

Beginning at 7:30 pm in cooperation with the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society there will be a short lecture of what you will see in the night sky and the chance to observe with the help of experienced astronomers and the numerous telescopes they have brought for this evenings show, the chance to see firsthand on this moonless night, stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way.

 Last night was a huge hit for star gazers in Cades Cove

Cades Cove is one of the best places to be able to observe the night sky in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in its perfect natural bowl formed by the sounding mountain that block out unwanted light pollution that makes faint objects ion the night sky hard to see.

Parking will be at and near the orientation shelter at the start of the Cades Cove Loop. From here, you must carry your seating or blankets to the first field on the right hand side - about a 3/4 mile round trip.

While the newly paved Cades Cove road is easy to walk on even at night, you may want to bring a flashlight. It would be best of you have a red light or lens cover so as night disturb other observers. It is in the 60s right now in Cades Cove and will be in the 50s by the time the program is over so dress appropriately.

After a major portion of the program I will be hiking the 11 mile Cades Cove Loop, all are welcome to join me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Biodiversity Days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Take Place This Week

The Great Smoky Mountains national park (GSMNP) was officially designated as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations because of the tremendous biodiversity of the more than 100,000 different plants and animals that inhibit this environmentally crucial location.

This week features four Biodiversity Days taking place in the Great Smoky Mountains national park presented by the nonprofit organization working to inventory all of the plants and animals in the GSMNP: Discover Life in America (DLIA).

The first event takes place on June 22nd from 1 pm to 3 pm with a presentation given by Glenn Taylor on the Spruce-Fir Moss Spider held at the Twin Creeks Science center in the Cherokee Orchard Road/Roaring Fork section of the Great Smoky Mountains national park bordering Gatlinburg Tennessee.

The second event taking place is a class on scientific illustrating on June 23rd at Twin Creeks Science Center from at 10 am to 2 pm taught by Artist extraordinaire Deborah Blind.

The third event takes place on June 24th at Twin Creeks Science Center from 10 am to 2 pm which is a lecture on Springtails and a field collection session looking for these important tiny critters that live on the forest floor and in foliage present by springtail expert Dr. Ernest Bernard.

Lastly is an event for those in good enough physical shape to hike a distance in order to help with an on-going survey of the ferns in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park taking place on June 25th. Group will meet at the Jakes Creek Parking area in the Elkmont section of the park at 9 am.

All of these events and programs require registration in advance by phone (865)430-4757 or email at todd@dlia.org.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Volunteers Needed To Help Survey Tree Arthropods in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

If you love science, want to get your hands dirty, become more intimately knowledgeable and help the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, here is your chance to do something exciting and help advance science in the GSMNP.

For those who are seriously interested in helping collect specimens and data compilation on an ongoing long term basis, Discover Life in America (DLIA), the non-profit organization coordinating the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) in GSMNP, will host the Tree Team Training program beginning at 9:00 am on June 18th at the Twin Creeks Nature Center just outside Gatlinburg off Cherokee Orchard Road.

For those who wish to partake in this program, you will be collecting insects, spiders and other arthropods specimens at what is considered easily accessible areas, on both Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

You will be trained and will make use of a variety of collection techniques in order to survey these animals so that not only can the vitality, but unknown ecological linkages between flora and fauna can be studied.

Registration in advance is required. You must contact Todd Witcher the executive director of DLIA, at (865)430-4757 or email him at todd@dlia.org.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Discover Life in America Synchronous Firefly Events

Time is running out to not only support Discover Life in America, what I feel is the most important organization operating in the Smokies and to enjoy natures finest light show the Synchronous Fireflies and beat the crowds. Move fast as there are only a few slots left!

Secret Synchronous Firefly Event 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm June 10 & 11
Enjoy exclusive access to the Norton Creek Sanctuary near Gatlinburg where you will be provided heavy hors d'oeuvres and drink (beer and wine) along with a firefly expert. Next after a nighttime picnic with the fireflies, a short walk you will learn more than you ever thought imaginable about these fascinating creatures of the Smokies!

Reservations are required for this fund raising event and space is very limited. Call (865)430-4756 for tickets ($75 per person)

Secret Synchronous Firefly Event 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm June 12
This Firefly event will be much like the Norton Creek adventure on June 10th and 11th except the adventure begins at the Park Grill, and after food and drink and firefly presentation, we will carpool to a secret site in the Park. Reservations are required and space very limited. Call (865)430-4756 for tickets.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Free Firefly Festival 11am-4pm June 11
Come to the Nantahala Outdoor Center Great Outpost in Gatlinburg, TN right at the border of the Great Smoky mountains national park and celebrate for free the amazing diversity of Fireflies in the Smokies with this event.

There will be educational opportunities, art, music by Captain Firefly, an insect zoo, kids activities, a secret "dark room" to "bioluminate," and food and drink vendors. There will be presentations on the synchronous firefly phenomenon in the Smokies at 1 pm and again at 3 pm.

Discover Life in America has spent more than 10 years inventorying all the plants and animals in the Great Smoky Mountains national park and so far has identified more than 7,100 species we did not know existed in the park and more than 920 that are newly discovered species!

Synchronized Fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains

Related Smokies Fireflies News Stories

Synchronized Fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains

Friday, April 08, 2011

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Stays Open

As a stopgap agreement has been reached, the government shut down has been avoided so the Great Smoky Mountains national park, as well as all national parks and monuments will remain open for business.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Closure Information if Government Shutdown Occurs

Because of the impeding government shutdown, the Great Smoky Mountains national park will be shutting down all facilities and roadways other than Newfound Gap Road US 441 between Gatlinburg Tennessee and Cherokee North Carolina after midnight tonight.

Newfound Gap Road will still be patrolled by park rangers as well as other areas of the park, though there will be no other support staff such as maintenance personnel and road crews so any inclement weather, downed trees or fallen rocks would close this vital through road until the support staff comes back on duty.

If US 441 were only a park or local road, it too would remain closed as the rest of the GSMNP, but since it is a US Highway, part of the reason why there is no park entrance fee, it cannot be shut down.

The national park is looking to move people along Newfound Gap Road through the park as quickly and efficiently as possible so they are not allowing any parking or sightseeing in the park along the roadway. Last time a government shutdown occurred and the park was closed, fallen trees and snow shutdown Newfound Gap Road/US 441 until the park reopened.

Be advised, though it may be easy for you to move traffic cones blocking parking areas, illegally parking off of the roadway or sneaking into hiking trails, doing so is ill advised and you can end up in serious trouble for disregarding traffic control devices or even worse, trespassing on Federal properly.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park trails and facilities are being closed for security reasons as well as serious safety reasons. Since the park service will be working with a skeleton staff, there will not be an ability to call in additional Rangers required for any type of rescue operation or medical emergency, which is unfortunately fairly common.

There is also great concern that because of the government shutdown reduced official park presence will lead to more vandalism, theft and may lead to more compromised natural and cultural resources.

National Park rangers will take all maters of illegal activity very seriously and given the circumstances, will not necessarily be in the best mood so don't test them or the judge when you are made to appear in federal court.

Of course, there is also great concern for the human factor of the furloughed national park employees that will be out of work for an undetermined amount of time.

All this at time that the national park service will see at least $100,000,000 a year less funding is extremely disheartening at how we value the protection of this nation’s most valuable natural and cultural resources.

The closure of the Great Smoky Mountains National park will be a huge blow to tourists coming specifically to the Smokies to enjoy the park during the beginning of wildflower season.

If the government closure is allowed to drag on, it will have a detrimental dramatic effect on an already bruised local economy as tourists spend $718,000,000 a year in the gateway cities Gatlinburg Tennessee, Pigeon Forge Tennessee, Townsend Tennessee, Cherokee North Carolina, Bryson City and Maggie Valley North Carolina that surround the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
News Release

Immediate Release
Date: April 8, 2011

If the Government implements a shutdown, nearly the entire Park would be closed beginning Saturday, April 9, all Great Smoky Mountains National Park facilities would be closed, including visitor centers, campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, concession operations, restrooms, and all roads, with the exception of the Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg and Cherokee.

Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) would remain open to through traffic only. No stopping or parking along the road or at trailheads and overlooks is permitted, and all restroom facilities would be closed, including those at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Tenn., the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC, and Newfound Gap. The Clingmans Dome Road which is accessed off Newfound Gap Road would be closed.