Word from the Smokies

Photo by Joshua Bemis

Word from the Smokies is a regular column that appears on Saturdays in the Asheville Citizen Times.

Helping to raise awareness about park issues, initiatives, and successes, we reach up to 60,000 readers with these educational articles published in an important North Carolina park gateway community. To read, click on the headline and the article will open in a new window.

December 30: Our winsome birds of winter; join the count
December 25: Endangered Species Act turns 50
December 16: Database aids study of George Masa photography
December 2: Major Redmond, ‘King of the Moonshiners’
November 23: Ensuring sustainable wild turkey populations
November 4: Search and rescue volunteer makes big impact
October 21: Letters reveal colorful characters, park history
October 14: Cherokee museum rebrands for a more inclusive future
September 30: Safe Passage film fest highlights road ecology
September 16: Fall adventure supports biodiversity nonprofit
September 2: Broad-winged hawk migration coming soon
August 19: Tray Wellington builds bridges with bluegrass
August 5: Dykeman namesake among 3 new Smokies spiders
July 29: Kephart, ‘a student, first, last, and always’
July 15: Henry Lix’s legacy as founder of GSMA
July 1: The world of weasels
June 17: An annual checkup for salamanders
June 3: Uncovering the origins of Mingus family saga
May 20: Understanding the ubiquitous bobcat
May 6: Association connects veterans to the outdoors
April 22: Salamander’s glow could shed light on a mystery
April 15: New book teaches kids to be BearWise
April 8: Apply for writers conference by end of April
April 1: Training essential to park’s search and rescue
March 18: Learn about conservation on your property
March 4: George Ellison: Too much and not enough
Feb 25: Glamping Eco-Adventure supports biodiversity research
Feb 18: Project uncovers stories of Black life in the park 
Feb 11: Local novelists to help lead conference
Feb 4: What happens when we relocate box turtles?
Jan 21: Terry Maddox leaves enduring legacy
Jan 7: Daisy Town Day shows Elkmont no ghost town

December 24: Old Wallet helps inform Cades Cove history
December 10: Museum of the Cherokee Indian honors ancestors
December 3: The staying power of Smokey Bear
November 26: Sometimes bears cross roads to get garbage
November 12: Celebrate trees with Smokies Life
October 29: Parks as Classrooms’ experiences engaging
October 15: Volunteers track monarch butterflies in park
October 8: Save salamanders: Don’t stack rocks
September 24: Elk Fest returns as herd enters 21st rut season
September 17: A sweet harvest tradition returns
September 10: Plan ahead for Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
September 3: New salamander species found hiding in plain sight
August 27: Roamin’ with Wiley Oakley, legendary mountain guide
August 20: Alum Cave Trail, heart of the park
August 13: Scientist uncovers secret life of soil
August 6: Safe Passage facilitator is Conservationist of Year
July 30: Remote cabin memorializes noted Southern artist
July 23: Opening Doors with Wilma Dykeman
July 16: Partners help meet the needs of park, visitors
July 9: North Shore decoration days continue
July 2: 2 perspectives converge on Mount Le Conte
June 25: Whats the rub with Charlies Bunion?
June 18: Bodacious Bear to help BearWise team raise funds
June 11: Stage Set for wildlife enhancements on I-40
June 4: Discovering intersection of history, nature
May 28: Renovator breathes life into Cataloochee structures
May 14: Aspiring Naturalists join DLiA eco-adventure
May 7: Writer in residence finally gets to popular park
April 30: Parks shine a light on the magic of fireflies
April 23: Plant life makes comeback after 2016 wildfires
April 16: GIS makes it simpler to map a complex park
April 9: Dazzling lights endanger birds
April 2: Marker honors pioneering photographer
March 26: Taking a walk across ancient land
March 19: Data monitoring protects species for long haul
March 12: Convergence of diversity in Natural History room
March 5: TEDx speaker champions safe passage
February 26: Northern river otters stage a comeback
February 19: African American project makes invisible visible
February 12: A Day in life of Forestry Technician Kate Beckner
February 5: Remembering Poet Laureate Ella V. Costner
January 29: A brief history of air quality monitoring
January 22: Living with bears requires humans to adjust
January 15: More Walk, less talk — a New Year’s resolution
January 8: Science and Education Center Conceived 40 Years Ago

December 26: Fates perform on video benefiting Safe Passage
December 18: Community scientists discover 70+ new species
December 11: Supervisory forester leaves legacy of preservation
December 4: Wilson helps provide safe passage for wildlife
November 27: Learn something from the wild turkey
November 20: Artist Elizabeth Ellison is pure Smokies
November 13: Keys to wildlife crossings in Pigeon River Gorge
October 23: Bats hang in the balance in wake of disease
October 16: Professor discovers 4 new snakes in 6 years
October 9: Volunteer preserves Smokies’ plant diversity
October 2: Park scientists, writers reflect on ‘habitat’
September 25: Two firefly species seen for first time
September 18: Safety first as elk herd enters 20th rut season
September 11: Wildlife biologist helps elk return to Appalachia
September 4: Teen conservation leaders get new perspective
August 28: A chance encounter with Russula mushrooms
August 21: Podcast explores influence of Black musicians
August 14: 21,183 species described in park – and DLiA keeps on discovering
August 7: Park leads in science of ‘water bears’
July 31: Plan like a ranger when you visit parks
July 24: Internship bridges an educational gap
July 17: Saving our Smokies by picking up one piece of litter at a time
July 10: Road ecology comes to Southern Appalachia
July 3: Time to try birding beyond the backyard
June 26: BearWise basics can save lives
June 19: A firefly season recap from the experts
June 12: Meet wild creatures native to ‘sky islands’
June 5: Retired biology professor still digs research
May 29: ‘Raingers’ aid understanding of rainfall
May 15: Science series returns with eye on butterflies
May 8: The cicada-pocalypse is nigh
May 1: Charismatic beetles light up the night
April 24: Monarch butterflies are coming soon
April 17: How Oconee bells led botanists on a 200-year wild botanical goose chase
April 3: 3rd year of sochan gathering for Cherokee
March 20: NC father-daughter team discovers aquatic organism
March 6: Children’s book looks at need for wildlife crossings
February 20: Writer makes Great Smokies her park
February 13: Biological science technician loves her ‘muddy, sweaty’ work
February 6: Entomologist reflects on role of women in science
January 30: Beyond the shadow of the woodchuck
January 23: Smokies birds may have benefited from Clean Air Act
January 16: NC field station enhances park research

December 19: New bee discovered after fire
December 5: Wildlife biologist for Eastern Band of Cherokee shares indigenous knowledge
November 21: The conservation success story of the iconic wild turkey
November 14: Wild turkeys are intelligent, community-minded
October 31: Study adds to knowledge of fire-enhanced fungi
October 25: Pandemic creates hardship for longtime sorghum demonstrators
October 3: Come and explore the controversy, mystery and awe of Kephart’s legacy
September 26: Assassin bugs discovered in Smokies
September 19: Don’t kill It! Spiders protect us from disease
September 12: Grassy balds are the place to be during the pandemic
August 29: The tiny beetle who acts as janitor and farmer to our forests
August 22: Ellison and McCue: Kephart brought them together
August 1: The Great American Outdoors Act will mean upgrades for the Smokies
July 26: Park Superintendent Cash launches Hikes for Healing
July 18: Meet the ranger who works to prevent search and rescue
July 5: The Obscure Tale of the Appalachian Cottontail
June 27: Great American Outdoors Act will be a game changer
June 21: Saving aquatic wildlife becomes education park ranger’s passion
May 31: Bear without boundaries: Social media complicates living with bears today
May 24: The unintended consequences of accidentally feeding bears
May 17: Let’s get back to the basics to avoid conflicts with bears
May 10: Small species play big role in Great Smokies
May 3: Give it up for the birds – there’s no time like the present to watch and learn
April 26: How to get your firefly-watching fix
April 19: What Horace Kephart can teach us about solitude, simplicity
April 5: Decisions to close the Smokies builds on legacy of paradox and radical thinking

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