“We’ve made it a point over the last decade to focus on enhancement projects in North Carolina,” said GSMA Executive Director Terry Maddox. “Each of our three N.C. park visitor center locations tell both the natural and cultural stories specific to these important areas of the national park.”
• The Association contibuted $100,000 to the new Swain County Visitor Center in partnership with county leaders. A museum fills the historic courthouse’s upper level, and a visitor center operated by the Swain County Chamber of Commerce is on the first floor, along with a staffed Great Smoky Mountains Association book store. The national park is planning an exhibit to tell the story of Smokies creation proponent Horace Kephart on the first floor.
• The 2011 opening of Clingmans Dome Visitor Center represents an investment of $285,000. Located at the end of Clingmans Dome Road, 7 miles from Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome Visitor Center sits at an elevation of 6,300 feet, half a mile from the observation tower atop Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains and the third highest mountain in the East. Exhibits in the center provide an overview of the area’s history and rare spruce-fir forest ecosystem.
• The 2011 opening of Oconalufteee Visitor Center represents an investment of $3.1 million. The center features an interactive indoor museum on the history of the area and an outdoor museum depicting what a historic mountain homestead might look like. The area plays host to demonstrations, old-time music jams and ranger programs.
SmokiesInformation.org or 888.898.9102, ext. 325.