Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

History of the Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the United States, and it’s no wonder! It’s stunning views and rich, cultural history make it a must-visit attraction! Here are a few more things you’ll want to know about the history of the Smoky Mountain National Park.

1. The Smokies are estimated to be anywhere from 200 to 300 million years old!

This makes them one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth! Prehistoric people also occupied these mountains, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that human activity started to affect the natural course of events.

2. Many branches of the AAA were interested in developing roads so they could drive through the beautiful scenery.

3. The Land Wasn’t Easy to Buy

Joining the National Park System was far from easy for Great Smoky Mountains. Even with the money for the park in hand, the land for the park was still difficult to buy. This was mainly because it was owned by hundreds of small farmers, and a handful of large timber and paper companies.

4. Former Political Boosters Helped Raise Funds

The government was not allowed to buy land for national park use, so former political boosters stepped in to raise funds. By 1928, a total of $5 million had been raised, and The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund matched that amount.

5. The Civilian Conservation Corps Developed the Park

Many of the roads, hiking trails, and other structures, were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was established as a federal work program in 1933. It provided employment and education to young men from all over the country during the Great Depression. The CCC worked until 1942, when World War II shut the program down. Learn more about the CCC and the history and culture of the Smokies on the National Park Service website.

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