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Make plans to Branch Out with GSMA in 2019

As a Cub Report subscriber, you’ve probably uttered the following statement one way or another: “I want to be in the Smokies!” Am I right?

The author with her dog, Jazzy, at the Yellowstone Arch in 2014. If your New Year’s resolution includes opening yourself to adventure and learning more about the Smokies, give our Branch Out programs a try in 2019.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses 522,427 acres, including 850 miles of maintained trails and 384 miles of roads. It was designated an International Biosphere Reserve on October 26, 1976, and a World Heritage Site on December 6, 1983. Our park includes 730 miles of fish-bearing streams, 97 historic structures, and we’re closing in fast on cataloguing 20,000 known species that call our park ‘home.’ 

“The creation and preservation of such a great natural playground is in the interest of our people as a whole is a credit to the nation. It has been preserved with wise foresight. Good things for the surrounding communities and most importantly: This park was created and is, and now administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt said this during a speech at the laying of the cornerstone of the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. I share these thoughts with you today because they continue to resonate with me here in the Smokies and on all public lands, even today.

President Roosevelt’s preservation plan can only happen when dedicated park rangers are keeping us safe on the roads and trails and monitoring our streams and the air we breathe. They conduct short and long-term research into the natural wonders in order to learn how best to protect and preserve our country’s “natural playgrounds” for us now and for future generations.

If you aren’t a Great Smoky Mountains Association member already, please become a part of our family and Branch Out to learn more about this park’s natural and cultural resources. With the programs we have planned in 2019, you’ll gain a clear perspective of the work park service employees are doing. Our programs are diverse – from group hikes along maintained trails to indoor presentations by local and regional experts.

Find our list of programs HERE. We guarantee you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime. And rest assured, “We want you to be in the Smokies, too!”

Great Smokies

Welcome Center

Hours of Operation

(subject to change)

Open year round (closed December 25)

January - February

Open Daily 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

March - November

Open Daily 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Open Daily 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

The Great Smokies Welcome Center is located on U.S. 321 in Townsend, TN, 2 miles from the west entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visitors can get information about things to see and do in and around the national park and shop from a wide selection of books, gifts, and other Smokies merchandise. Daily, weekly, and annual parking tags for the national park are also available.

Physical Address

7929 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway Townsend TN 37882


865.436.7318 Ext 320