The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 75th anniversary in 2009

The only time my family on either side of my tree has had a reunion was when my dad’s side converged at Fontana Village near Fontana Dam for a week. In the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains, this was a gorgeous place to spend time.

The drive there was filled with winding roads and vistas. Next year marks the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Seventy-five years ago, from donations collected from the public and private sectors, the land in North Carolina and Tennessee that now boasts 800 miles of maintained trails, 1,500 black bears, plus elk and deer, became property for the public to enjoy.

If you can’t make it to the anniversary celebration, there are planned activities throughout the spring, summer and fall every year. This summer is filled with them. Here’s the link to the interactive calendar that highlights what is happening on specific days. I adore ranger programs. I’ve never seen a bad one.

To kick off the 75th anniversary, there is a nifty Web site that highlights the upcoming activities and the park history. The interactive timeline that dates back to pre-1900s is particularly cool. For example, did you know that Clarence Darrow visited here in 1925 when he was in the midst of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial?

Along with the park itself, the neighboring communities also have events planned to celebrate the beauty in their midst. Knoxville, Tennessee has several. From what I can tell, events will be added as the year goes on, so keep checking back.

If you have been to the Great Smoky National Park and want to add to the legacy, there’s a feature, “Smokies Family Album” where you can share your photos.

The big weekend Anniversary Weekend is June 13-15. 2009.