National Forest or National Park?

I had no idea there was a difference. In fact I’ve probably been heard using ‘Forest’ and ‘Park’ interchangeably all my life when referencing our National treasures. Today I found out the nuances. Ancora imparo.

Turns out a National Forest serves many purposes for United States residents; grazing, timber, recreation, and animal habitats. A National Park is mostly preserved as it exists, the only changes being natural. They are each managed by a different department of the government as well. The National Forest Foundation explains this and gives further statistics about some of our existing Forests and Parks.

I chose to hike a spot in Great Smoky National Park today that is not frequented, and I’m so happy I did! I was on the path alone and thoroughly enjoyed the gems I found. I took a right at this sign to see the Cemetery – it was fenced and gated so I didn’t go in. I could see both old and new gravestones from my spot on the road. A quick turnaround and I was off to Jakes Creek Trail.

Although I think I’ve been down this trail a few years ago, it looks so very different now. The only thing left standing from a long ago past of summer cottages are the fireplaces. And they are lined up one after another all along the river. They almost look like soldiers. I’m curious why they all seem to be on the same side of the houses that are no longer present?

Then there was this one across the road – all alone. Weird.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The single remaining structure on this road was once inhabited by Col. David Chapman who was tasked with raising the funds to preserve these lands as Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Thank you Col. Chapman!

 

 

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Leaf Season in the Smoky Mountains

It’s that time of year again – Leaf Season in Gatlinburg. That’s what the locals call it. For the rest of the country it is simply Fall or Autumn of course. Where I live in the upper Midwest we say we are going to see the colors. Apparently, and I just learned this, in Europe they do not have the oranges and reds we have. They only have yellow leaves in the Fall. So I guess we are fortunate to have a lovely display no matter where we have seasons and deciduous trees in the Fall.

We’ve been to the cabin at all different times of the Fall and my favorite is the last week of October into the first week of November. That is when you’ll see the colors in the lower elevations, like right off the cabin porch! BONUS!

A view from a porch

A view from a porch

We’ve also been to the south end of the park to Oconoluftee. It’s worth the trip, especially if you are there later in the day when the elk show up. That was a real treat! There is a trail in the woods there where you walk right along the river, and you can take your dog/s. One of only two trails in the park that allows dogs. I’ve not done it but others tell me it’s beautiful and they even spied Elk grazing.

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So go, enjoy the colors, Fall, Leaf Season – or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods.

Smoky Mountain Park Views

Autumn Panorama

Have you seen the view of the trees during leaf season in Smoky Mountain National Park? If you have, lucky you, the colors as you know are beautiful and vibrant.  The changing leaf color continues for a month starting in early October at the top elevations and working its way down the mountain to the lowest elevations in late October/early November.  It is a gorgeous time of year to be in the mountains .

Autumn view from Black Bear Falls

Grotto Falls Hike in Autumn

If you haven’t had the good fortune to experience Leaf Season in the Smokies you can see it from the comfort of your chair via these National Park sponsored webcams.  Enjoy!

Look Rock Camera

Purchase Knob Camera