Membership FAQs

Photo courtesy of Michael Higgins

A portion of your annual dues in the Park Keeper membership program are tax deductible. The tax-deductible portion of your Park Keeper dues is $15. The tax-deductible portion of your Park Keeper Plus dues is $35. And the tax-deductible portion of your Park Keeper Premium dues are $115.

When you renew your membership, you can choose to make an additional gift to the Smokies Life Legacy Fund. There is a section on the renewal form where you can designate an additional donation.

No, your membership will remain active until its current expiration date. Your Get Rooted in the Smokies membership card is also still valid and will be accepted in all park visitor centers and
Smokies Life stores until its current expiration date.

No. Your current membership will remain active until your expiration date, and the membership card will be honored at our visitor centers and online. We will contact you by email and/or mail when it is time to renew, provided we have current contact information for you.

We will contact you by email and/or mail before your membership expires, provided we have current contact information for you, and invite you to continue your support of the Smokies by joining our Park Keeper membership program.

Our Park Keeper program allows for the addition of a second family member living at the same address at no extra cost.

Lifetime, Hemlock and Hemlock Family memberships will be remain unchanged by the transition to Park Keeper. Those memberships will stay active, and members will continue to enjoy their benefits for life.

No. Lifetime, Hemlock, and Hemlock Family memberships will be honored for life. Furthermore, Dogwood members will be allowed to complete their payments and be upgraded to Hemlock or
Hemlock Family, providing their memberships remain active and current until they have completed their five annual payments.

No. All Lifetime and Hemlock memberships are nontransferable.

Lifetime benefits will remain unchanged, so we will not take away benefits nor will we add new ones. This means that Lifetime members are not eligible for the annual parking tag benefit; however, their discount, subscriptions, and event invites remain in place as always.
Members are allowed only one membership per individual in our system, so members must choose which program works best for them. If you choose to join the Park Keeper program, you forfeit your Lifetime status and benefits.

No. If your Dogwood or Dogwood Family membership lapses or expires, you will be removed from the program and invited to join the Park Keeper membership program. We will do what we can to remain in touch with you about renewal dates through email and mail, but it is the member’s responsibility to maintain current contact information. If we do not have a current mailing address and/or email address, or if you have unsubscribed from email communications and you do not get your renewal notices, we are not responsible for lapsing and expiring memberships.

You can email us at membership@smokieslife.org, anne@smokieslife.org or charlene@smokieslife.org or call 865.436.7318 or 888.898.9102, ext. 257 or 349, and we can assist you.

SUPPORT THE SMOKIES

Help protect everything you love about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from hemlocks to hellbender salamanders and backcountry trails to black bears.

GSMA Donation Information

Our Board of Directors established the Legacy Fund in 2010 to build a sustainable method of operating our association. Once realized, the fund’s interest dividends will be used to support operational expenses, thus providing us with the opportunity to give more of each dollar we earn directly to the park’s educational, research, and resource preservation projects.

Your donations to the Legacy Fund will forever be held in trust. Only the proceeds from secure and safe investments will be used to maintain our operation. One day in the future Smokies Life business functions will be funded by the Legacy Fund, which means 100% of our proceeds from visitor center sales, membership dues, and annual giving campaigns will go directly to the park. As far as we know, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of only two parks in the nation working toward a partner-supported endowment of this sort.

We’re happy to help you give even more in support of the Great Smoky Mountains with less effort. When you choose to give $5, $10, $20, or more monthly, you substantially increase your giving ability. Then, when you feel your donation has reached a point where you’re ready for it to stop, just let us know. We’ll take care of the rest.

When you give $5 a month, your annual gift is $65.
When you give $10 a month, your annual gift is $120.
When you give $20 a month, your annual gift is a whopping $240!
Want to give $1,000? Sign up for a monthly $84 gift to the Smokies. 

Many companies offer a matching gift program to their employees to encourage support of organizations like Smokies Life. If you do not know if your employer is a matching company, please check with your human resources department. Please include your matching gift form with your donation or mail it at the time you make a donation to: Smokies Life, P.O. Box 130, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Your support is greatly appreciated.

A residual bequest comes to us after your estate expenses and specific bequests are paid.

Sample language: I give and devise to Smokies Life (Tax ID #62-0576032), located in Gatlinburg, TN, all (or state a percentage) of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, to be used to further its Legacy Fund growth.

Naming Smokies Life as a beneficiary of a specific amount from your estate is easy.

Sample language: I give and devise to Smokies Life (Tax ID #62-0576032), located in Gatlinburg, TN, the sum of $___________ (or asset) to be used to further its Legacy Fund growth.

Smokies Life or its affiliates can be named as a contingent beneficiary in your will or personal trust if one or more of your specific bequests cannot be fulfilled.

Sample language:  If (insert name) is not living at the time of my demise, I give and devise to Smokies Life (Tax ID #62-0576032), located in Gatlinburg, TN, the sum of $ _______ (or all or a percentage of the residue of my estate) to be used to further its Legacy Fund growth.

You may name Smokies Life (Tax ID #62-0576032), as a beneficiary of your IRA or other qualified retirement benefits. Donors should consult with their tax advisor regarding the tax benefits of such gifts.

Naming Smokies Life as the beneficiary of a qualified retirement plan asset such as a 401(k), 403(b), IRA, Keogh or profit-sharing pension plan will accomplish a charitable goal while realizing significant tax savings. It can be costly to pass such assets on to heirs because of heavy tax consequences. By naming Smokies Life as a beneficiary of a retirement plan, the donor maintains complete control over the asset while living, but at the donor’s death the plan passes to support Smokies Life free of both estate and income taxes.

Making a charitable gift from your retirement plan is easy and should not cost you any attorney fees. Simply request a change-of-beneficiary form from your plan administrator. When you have finished, please return the form to your plan administrator and notify Smokies Life. We can also assist you with the proper language for your beneficiary designation to Smokies Life.

Smokies Life is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions to the Legacy Fund are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your generous financial donation. Acknowledgement letters from Smokies Life are supplied to all Legacy Fund donors shortly following receipt of funds. Our federal tax ID is 62-0576032. 

You can learn more about the Smokies Life Legacy Fund by calling 1.888.898.9102 x325 or by mail to Smokies Life, P.O. Box 130, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. If you are interested in mailing a donation, please print and send a copy of our donation form along with your payment. 

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
December

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

Contact

865.436.7318 Ext 320