Tag Archives: Smokies

Movie expected to bring surge in Appalachian Trail hiking

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — National Park officials are expecting a spike in traffic along the Appalachian Trail after the release next month of a Hollywood film about two hikers who attempt to conquer the 2,190-mile route.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials saw a 60 percent increase in traffic in the area after Billy Bryson’s book, “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on The Appalachian Trail,” was published, according to The Daily Times in Maryville (http://bit.ly/1PHfqlo). The movie, out Sept. 2, is based on the 1998 book and stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

Christine Hoyer, backcountry management specialist for the park, says officials knew the movie was coming.

“There’s been quite a large group working on this for a year,” she said.
Continue reading

Alexander renews effort to pass federal spending bill

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona have reintroduced legislation to reimburse Tennessee and five other states for using their own money to keep national parks open during the federal government shutdown of 2013, reports Michael Collins.

The bill, filed Monday, would give back to the states some $2 million in state and local funds they used to keep open the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other national parks during the 16-day government shutdown. Tennessee’s share of the funding would be $60,000.

…Alexander introduced similar legislation last year, but the bill died in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The bill is expected to have an easier journey through the chamber now that the GOP is back in the majority.

Besides Tennessee, other states to be reimbursed for keeping open state parks within their boundaries are Arizona, Colorado, New York and South Dakota.

Secretary of Interior announces center to house Great Smoky Mountains artifacts, records

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office:
TOWNSEND, March 3 – At an event today at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) welcomed U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for the unveiling of construction plans of the Joint Curatorial Collections Facility that will house more than 800,000 historical artifacts and archival records.

“East Tennesseans feel like we own the park because many of our families did,” Alexander said. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the way of life of those mountain families who once lived here. This is great news for everyone who loves the Great Smoky Mountains, and I thank Secretary Jewell for making this happen. Her efforts, combined with the commitment of park service employees and generosity of friends of the Smokies, ensures that we will be able to preserve the history of those families.”

The Joint Curatorial Collections Facility near the Townsend park entrance will preserve 422,000 historical artifacts and 450,000 archival records, including land records, oral histories, historic photos and park operating records, and items such as clothing, vintage weapons, logging-era equipment, farm tools and other possessions from the individuals and families living on the farmsteads of the Southern Appalachians in pre-park days. The archival collections will also include President Andrew Johnson’s presidential papers.

The total cost for funding the facility is approximately $4.3 million, more than half of which is being provided through private donations. In addition to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, other federal park and recreation areas will be able to make use of the new joint facility, including the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River. Artifacts and records are currently being stored in facilities that do not meet National Park Service standards for physical security, or environmental controls to protect them from mold, insects and fire.

Alexander hails $2M in fed funding to house Great Smoky Mountains artifacts & records

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office:
NASHVILLE, Feb. 7 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today announced that the U.S. Department of Interior has approved federal funding to complete the $4.3 million Joint Curatorial Collections Facility that will house more than 800,000 historical artifacts and archival records at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Construction could begin as early as this summer.

“This is great news for everyone who loves the Great Smoky Mountains, especially because the new center will honor families who once lived in the park,” Alexander said. “This was made possible only because of years of effort by dedicated park service employees and by the generosity of friends of the Smokies.”

The Joint Curatorial Collections Facility will preserve 422,000 historical artifacts and 450,000 archival records, including land records, oral histories, historic photos and park operating records, and items such as clothing, vintage weapons, logging-era equipment, farm tools and other possessions from the individuals and families living on the farmsteads of the Southern Appalachians in pre-park days. The archival collections will also include President Andrew Johnson’s presidential papers.

The total cost for funding the facility is $4.3 million, with approximately $2.3 million coming from private donations. In addition to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, other federal park and recreation areas will be able to make use of the new joint facility, including the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River. These sites currently house artifacts and records in facilities that do not meet National Park Service standards for physical security, or environmental controls to protect them from mold, insects, and fire.

On Federal Shutdown Impact in Tennessee

Nearly 3,000 federal workers in East Tennessee and thousands of others across the state would be out of a job if the federal government shuts down, a scenario that now seems likely with a midnight deadline fast approaching and negotiators still failing to agree upon a spending plan, reports Michael Collins.
“I don’t want it – I don’t know of anybody on our side of the aisle who wants it, so we ought to get a consensus,” a frustrated U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, said of the looming shutdown.
… If a shutdown occurs, the mail will still run, Social Security checks will still be delivered and veterans hospitals will remain open.
“The average East Tennessean probably will not notice it unless they are a federal worker or unless it drags on longer than a few days or a week or so,” said Patrick Newton, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville.
Nearly 11,000 federal workers and retirees live in East Tennessee, but only about 3,000 would be out of a job, according to statistics from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
That is because most are employed by the U.S. Postal Service or are federal retirees. Neither group would be affected by a government shutdown.
Statewide, nearly 30,000 federal employees would be out of work if the government stops running.

For more, see other accounts on shutdown impact, in Chattanooga Times-Free Press, The Tennesseean and the Commercial Appeal — all with a regional emphasis.