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Astonishing Facts About the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Astonishing Facts About Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Some amazing facts about The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that will surprise you!
Shreyas Bhide
Last Updated: Jul 25, 2017
Amongst other private funders, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., contributed $5 million to the federal funds to buy land in the Great Smoky Mountains region. Several such pieces of land bought by the federal government were then put together to form the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Chartered in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans the states of Tennessee and North Carolina. The park is the largest protected area, east of the Rocky Mountains. The area had to be protected when locals and nature activists alike, protested against the incessant cutting of trees for logging purposes.
The United States National Park Service wanted to turn the area into a park, but lack of funds was an obstacle. Eventually, citizens from Tennessee and North Carolina donated funds to buy land from farmers, miners, and loggers, and turn the area into a park. Following this, farming and timbering was banned.
Farmers, loggers, and miners in search of resources were also driven out. On 2nd September, 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the park for "the permanent enjoyment of the people". We have presented a few astonishing facts about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that you may not have known.
Sunrise and sunset
► The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is named so, because of the thin film of smoke (fog) created by water, and hydrocarbons which are generated by the leaves from the park's dense forestation.
Aerial view and winter scene
► The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is spread over 522,419 acres - a whopping 816.28 square miles.
Foggy road and tunnel
► The Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains 384 miles of mountain roads.
Farmstead and old barn
► Back in 1700s and 1800s, when the area was not a park, it was a Native American, and later a European settlement. Many cabins, homesteads, barns, and farmhouses from that era have still been preserved.
Bear and white tailed deer
► The park is home to more than 66 known species of mammals; the most notable ones amongst them being Black Bears and White-tailed Deer.
Small waterfalls
► It has more than 200 miles of streams, which are home to numerous species of fish - peculiarly, bass, trout, minnows, lampreys, and darters.
Woodpecker and bluebird
► The park is home to 230 species of birds. On the park's Tennessee side, unusual species such as Black-capped Chickadee, Pileated Woodpecker, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker can be found.
Pine and redwood trees
► Among the park's 1,600-plus vascular plant species, there are about 130 trees such as Sugar Maple, Yellow Buckeye, Yellow Birch, Chestnut Oaks, Shortleaf Pine, Virginia Pine, Tulip Poplar, Fraser Fir, and Red Spruce.
Clingmans dome views
► 16 mountains in the park peak above 6,000 feet. The tallest being Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet, followed by Mount Guyot (6,621 feet), and Mount Le Conte (6,593 feet).
Fontana dam views
► Lying at the park's southwestern border, the Fontana Dam (480 feet) is the tallest dam in Eastern United States.
Appalachian trail sign
► The 2,178-mile long Appalachian Trail that runs from Maine to Georgia, for 70 miles of its duration passes through the center of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Road views
► For two-third of the American population, especially on the East Coast, the park is only a day's drive away. While the Newfound Gap Road has the park's entrance, it bisects the park to meet Blue Ridge Parkway further. A total of 384 miles of roadway passes through the park area.
Waterrock knob trail
► This park has about 850 miles of trails and unpaved roads. That is almost as much as the distance between Boston and Detroit!
Oconaluftee river
► The park attracts more than 10 million tourists per year - more than twice that of other national parks. The most popular spots in the park remain Oconaluftee River Valley and Elkmont Campground.
John oliver cabin views
► John Oliver Cabin, built in 1822, is the oldest standing structure in the park.
► The park was declared an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976; while UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site in 1983.
► Almost all structures in the Mountain Farm Museum Area, such as John Davis Cabin, Messer Applehouse, Baxter/Jenkins Chicken house, a blacksmith shop, a spring house, and two corn cribs, were located in other places (Cades Cove, Thomas Divide, Cataloochee, etc.) in the park. They were moved to the Mountain Farm area at different times in the park's history.
► The elevation in the park ranges from 840 feet (Abrams Creek) to 6,643 feet (Clingmans Dome).

► The park is home to at least 6 unique species of turtles, and 39 species of reptiles which include numerous venomous snakes.
► The park is known as the salamander capital of the world for its 30-odd species of salamanders, the most common being the lungless salamander.

► Scientists predict that more than a million species of animals and plants call the park their home, but only about 10,000 of those have been discovered as yet.
► According to some estimates, almost 95% of the park is forested, about a third of it being centuries old.
The Great Smoky Mountains Park is a treasure trove. No wonder efforts to turn it into a park had begun as long back as the 1890s. Its materialization took some time and a lot of money, but eventually, the area was turned into a national park to preserve its scenic beauty, and its unique animal and plant habitation.
Rampant pollution is endangering some of the old-growth forestation in the park, and care needs to be taken that we do not end up killing the trees that have stood in the park even before America's first pioneers first set foot in the country.