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!
In November of 2016 there were wildfires at Smoky Mountain National Park. People lost homes and businesses, portions of the woods were burned, and unfortunately some people even lost their lives. It was a very scary and tragic event that will have repercussions for many years to come.
Photo Credit: WBIR Taken 12/9/16
People who love the area want you to know (whether they are permanent residents, or just visit once in a while) that Gatlinburg and the surrounding area is up and running and as vital as it ever was!! Downtown Gatlinburg wasn’t greatly affected by the fire, neither was Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, or most of the acreage in the park for that matter.
You will see some fire damage, There were homes and forested areas and resorts that suffered great damage. I was there in December 2016 and even then, less than a month after the wildfires, Gatlinburg was up and running strong! Those Tennessee folks sure are resilient! So please – go – visit, set a spell in a rocking chair on a porch. Gatlinburg will be happy to have you!
Wilderness Wildlife Week Photos
I got an online newsletter from Jim Eastin at “Taking Better Photos” which reminded me of the Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge, just up the road from Gatlinburg. This event takes place at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center. All lectures and seminars are FREE to the public. Jim Eastin will be teaching classes there on January 12th and 17th. In addition to classes there are organized hikes and field trips as well. There is even a photo contest for you amateur photographers.
What a wonderful way to take a mid-winter vacation with the family! We haven’t attended yet but it is on my bucket list to get to some of these interesting lectures about the area. You can view the Class List to see the subjects and find out who is presenting, or pack your lunch and head out with the group on an organized hike. There is a wide array of subjects from photography to snakes to fly fishing to music. A bit of everything for everyone including classes for kids. Sounds fun!
Image via Wikipedia
Do you want a quiet vacation in Gatlinburg – January is apparently the time. We are here for a long weekend and the crowds are non-existent. The weather is great, 50-60 degrees during the day. The neighborhood we are staying in has very little activity, not a lot of people renting the cabins this time of year. So if you want a quiet vacation in Gatlinburg, January will serve you well.