Great Smoky Mountains

Image of folklorist Joseph Hall
Courtesy of Ted Olson, ETSU

More than 4,000 people surrendered their homes and land to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park covers more than 500,000 acres and straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.

Photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Ken Thomas / Wikipedia

For a century the National Park Service has established and preserved parks, seashores and memorials across the country. Sites range from Yellowstone National Park to the César E. Chávez National Monument.

In 2015, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, both partially located in North Carolina, were two of the top three most visited sites in the National Park system.

However, growing concerns about climate change and big maintenance bills threaten preservation efforts.

An image of a hiker new Dover, N.C.
Lorie Hansen

Close to 1,000 miles of North Carolina stretched in front of her, from the harsh winds and sizzling heat of the state’s highest sand dune on the Outer Banks to the steep, muddy terrain of Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain peak in the state.  

Despite the obstacles that lay ahead, Lorie Hansen knew it was time for her to hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Image of banjo hero Carroll Best.
Courtesy of Louise Best

In the 1930s, the National Park Service sent a man named Joseph Hall to the Great Smoky Mountains to document the life and stories of people who were about to be relocated so that it could become a national park