MOUNTAIN MAJESTY: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beloved and most visited sites in the National Park System, attracting millions of visitors and tourist dollars to the region each year. Its creation was the result of over a decade of legislative wrangling, relentless promotion and fundraising, and the tireless efforts of WNC residents such as George Masa, a Japanese immigrant who helped introduce the Smokies to the American people through his photography. Photo via North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville

George Masa and the birth of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

“These efforts really are about protecting places for all Americans and for future generations,” notes Brent Martin of The Wilderness Society. The leaders of the national parks movement, he maintains, “all saw a much bigger picture, not only for all human beings, but for all living things.”

Safe and sound

It was a hard, cold spring rain. My husband, Lenny, and I had been walking on the Appalachian Trail since 8 that morning. When we finally got to the shelter as it was getting dark, we saw that someone had hung a tarp to prevent rain from getting in. Inside, an old man was sitting […]

Land rich, cash poor

The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park may be in for a windfall of sorts—$1.5 million and $1.9 million in new funding, respectively—if the Bush administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2008 is approved. That represents an 11 percent increase for both parks over fiscal year 2006 levels. (Congress has not […]