From Friends of the Smokies
KODAK, TN – Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park raised $200,250 Thursday through its 20th annual “Friends Across the Mountains” telethon thanks to hundreds of callers, online donations and help from sponsors Dollywood, Mast General Store, Pilot Corporation, and SmartBank. Since 1995 Friends of the Smokies’ telethons have raised more than $3 million in support of America’s most-visited national park. The “Friends Across the Mountains” telethon aired Thursday night on WBIR in Knoxville, TN and WLOS in Asheville, NC.
“We are very grateful for the support pledged by so many individuals during the annual telethon. The generosity helps the National Park Service continue to provide a world-class experience for visitors while protecting the park’s treasures and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Cindy MacLeod, Acting Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).
During the broadcast, Sugarland Cellars presented a $20,000 check to the organization. Since 2012, the Gatlinburg winery has offered five limited edition varietals with custom labels created by renowned artist Robert A. Tino. Every bottle sold generates a $5 donation to help Friends of the Smokies in its mission to preserve and protect GSMNP.
“The outpouring of support for this year’s telethon is a testament to the love and respect we all share for our Great Smoky Mountains. Thank you to our friends in North Carolina, Tennessee, and all over the country for your generosity tonight,” says Friends of the Smokies Board Chair Dan Matthews.
Telethon donations can still be made online at www.friendsofthesmokies.org to help fund nearly $1.6 million of Park needs this year, to protect black bears, heal hemlock trees, and preserve historic log cabins and churches from Cades Cove to Cataloochee Valley
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For more than 20 years, Friends of the Smokies has raised over $44 million to help maintain Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a crown jewel of the national park system, including the establishment of the $4 million Trails Forever endowment to improve Smoky Mountain hiking trails in perpetuity.