Born in the upstairs of the Post Office building his mom ran in Crabtree, Robert Williams, now 87, has always called Haywood County home.
His dad was in the cattle business, and when the family moved to Canton during Williams’ childhood, chores such as feeding cattle, splitting wood and tending the fire kept Williams busy. But his grandfather William Silver’s 1,800-acre tract in the Plott Balsams, while also technically a workplace, provided a respite from the busyness of day-to-day life. Silver and his son — Williams’ uncle — ranged cattle up there, and in the summers Williams would join them.
Drawing more than 300 million visitors each year, the National Park Service is both a reservoir of natural beauty and an economic anchor for the communities surrounding its lands — and many of those communities are now banding together to demand that Congress address the parks’ $11.3 billion maintenance backlog.
“To know what this means to us — the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — and for us to have to ask them for some sustainable revenue to keep these parks going, it’s almost like asking somebody to take care of their baby,” Jackson County Commissioner Boyce Dietz said before the board unanimously passed a resolution in favor of sustained funding Dec. 18, 2017.
The Great Smoky Mountains Association’s newest musical release, “Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition,” earned a Grammy nomination recently for “Best Album Notes” as written by Ted Olson, professor of Appalachian Studies and Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.
For the first time, vehicles can drive the entire 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway from Walland to Wears Valley, Tennessee.
The Smoky Mountain Field School was only a couple years old when Joel Zachary came on as an instructor in 1980. Kathy Zachary — then his girlfriend, now his wife — joined him in 1983, and the field school has been part of their lives ever since.
“We like to say that the success of the program is due to the instructors we have that are so enthusiastic about their topics,” Kathy said. “They have a passion for teaching and sharing, so the person who signs up to take a course really gets that contagious enthusiasm that the instructor shares.”
Cherokee tribal members could be gathering sochan plants from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as early as next spring after Tribal Council’s vote last week to fund the $68,100 needed to complete the regulatory process.
The fire review process included a thorough analysis of all communications and decisions made from the time the fire began on Nov. 23, 2016, to the time it left the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 6 p.m. Nov. 28. According to the review team, here’s how it unfolded.
Nine months after a small wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park metastasized into a deadly blaze that wreaked havoc on Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a report reviewing the National Park Service’s decisions and actions leading up to the Nov. 28 firestorm has been released.
Austin Bohanan, 18, had been lost in the wilderness for 11 days when he woke up the morning of Aug. 22 to see boats floating on the water below the ridge where he’d slept.
Those boats were his ticket out of the nightmare that began Aug. 11 when he’d gotten separated from his stepfather Hubert Dyer, Jr., during an off-trail excursion in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Chilhowee Lake. Bohanan scrambled down to the water, which turned out to be the tail end of Abrams Creek, and waved down one of the boats. The boaters gave him a ride down to Shop Creek, where his family was gathered to support the crews searching for him.
After 11 days missing in the remote backcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Chilhowee Lake, 18-year-old Austin Bohanan walked out on his own about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22.