PARK ANNOUNCES SOLAR ECLIPSE EVENT!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced event plans for the Great American Total Eclipse occurring on Monday, August 21, 2017. The park is offering an opportunity to experience the total eclipse through a special, ticketed event at Clingmans Dome as well as informal eclipse viewing sites at Cades Cove and Oconaluftee. The park is partnering...
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Paul Adams & Cumberland Jack, ca. 1920. Adams, the first caretaker at LeConte Lodge, would send Cumberland Jack down to the Ogle store in Gatlinburg with a grocery list and money in his saddle bags. The dog returned to LeConte Lodge a few hours later with all the groceries on the list. #ThrowbackThursday
The Deep Creek area of Great Smoky Mountains, located in North Carolina near Bryson City, is a waterfall lover's delight! Indian Creek Falls, Juney Whank Falls, and Tom Branch Falls are all within an easy walk! #WaterfallWednesday

Photo credits: Bob Carr
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formally dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in September, 1940. He spoke from the Rockefeller Memorial at Newfound Gap astride the Tennessee - North Carolina state line. That ceremony dedicated a sanctuary that is not a local park, a county park, or even a state park, but a national park for all the people of the country and the rest of the world...
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Morton Overlook provides spectacular mountain vistas and stunning sunsets. It's located three quarters of a mile below Newfound Gap along Highway 441 on the Tennessee side of the park. #SunsetSunday

Photo credit: Bob Carr
Woodchucks work hard to bulk up in the summer months so that they are ready to hibernate in the winter. Unlike black bears, woodchucks enter into true hibernation—breathing and heart rate are slowed way down and body temperature also decreases. During this time they may only breathe every 5 to 6 minutes! And compared to their normal heart rate of 80-95 beats per minute, their winter rate may...
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Did you know that our national park has a species of fish named after it? The Smoky Madtom (Noturus baileyi) is a small freshwater catfish that was once found in Abrams Creek, near Cades Cove. But in 1957, this fish and others were poisoned and its habitat flooded in order to create the reservoir that formed behind Chilhowee Dam, extirpating the original Smoky Madtom population. However, the...
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Aunt Lydia Whaley #WomenOfTheSmokies #ThrowbackThursday
Hiking the trails in the Smokies in the winter we are sometimes overwhelmed by the quiet. Where are all the birds? Then a mile down the trail, the trees come alive with a variety of species making a variety of call notes, but usually not songs. Many of our wintering birds form mixed-species flocks, taking advantage of each other's abilities to locate good feeding sites and keep alert for...
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"If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." ~ Vincent van Gogh #HappyValentinesDay! What love have you found in the Smokies?

Photo credits: Dewey Slusher, Joe Guenther, Christine Hoyer, and Gail Patton
"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more." ~ John Burroughs #MotivationMonday

Photo Credit: Bob Carr, "Under the Spinning Sky"
Elk are extremely well suited for winter weather and the winters here are not typically severe enough to cause noticeable behavioral changes. They are covered in two layers of fur; a soft, wooly undercoat that traps body heat and insulates the elk, and an outercoat of long guard hairs that provide protection from the elements. These hairs are hollow and if cut open resemble a honeycomb...
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Did you know that the Smokies has over 135 species of trees? That's more than the entire continent of Europe! Happy #FactoidFriday!

Photo credit: Warren Bielenberg
Have you ever seen an otter in the Smokies? This playful mammal is part of the weasel family and loves to snack on crayfish.
Wash day in Cades Cove, 1909. #WomenOfTheSmokies #ThrowbackThursday
Winter is a time for hibernation for most reptiles and amphibians, but for some species, it is the time to reproduce. Wood frogs are usually the first amphibians to breed in the new year, with egg masses appearing in wetlands and ponds after the first warm, wet night of the year. They have already been breeding at Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Spotted salamanders, who spend almost their whole...
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Old Sugarlands Trail is a history buff's delight! Starting near the Sugarlands Visitor Center, this stroll in the woods and along the banks of a river will take you past an old stone quarry used to build the first paved roads over the mountains, stacked stone walls erected by the early settlers of the area, and the remains of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp - Camp Morgan. Take a trek back...
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"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir #MotivationMonday (Photo credit: Will Butler, NPS)
One strange thing some fish do in the extreme winter months is to burrow out of sight under rocks or into the large gravel. As water temperatures approach freezing in mountain streams, trout, being cold blooded, will burrow into large gravel under rocks and out of the main flow and become dormant in order to conserve energy. This burrowing behavior was observed several years ago during a...
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