Aug. 14 telethon will help the Smokies

Aug 06, 2014
Photo by: Donated

On Aug. 14, Friends of the Smokies will host the 20th annual Friends Across the Mountains Telethon to benefit Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). The event has a long history as the only telethon for a national park, and has raised over $2.9 million dollars.

“For 20 years, this broadcast has provided viewers with a special opportunity to learn more about the national treasure right in our own backyard,” said Jim Hart, president of Friends of the Smokies. “We are excited to celebrate this milestone and we are very thankful for the generous financial support that viewers provide each year to help the park.”

This year’s broadcast will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, on WLOS-TV Channel 13 in Asheville and WBIR-TV Channel 10 in Knoxville.  The telethon is sponsored by Dollywood, Mast General Store and Pilot Flying J, and with volunteer support from First Tennessee Bank and Home Federal Bank.

Friends of the Smokies is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness, and providing volunteers for needed projects.

Viewers of the Telethon will see many of the GSMNP needs which Friends of the Smokies is funding this year, nearly $1.6 million to support education, conservation, recreation, and historic preservation in 2014.  Current projects include continued rehabilitation of the Chimney Tops Trail by the Trails Forever crew, ongoing suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid, supporting bear and elk management and funding for Parks as Classrooms environmental education programs for more than 18,000 students.

Individuals and business owners have three different ways to make a gift.  They can make a donation online today at, they can call Friends’ toll free telethon hotline during the Friends Across the Mountains broadcast to make a pledge over the phone, or they can call Friends of the Smokies and ask for a donation form to be mailed to them (Waynesville NC Office, 828-452-0720; Sevierville TN Office, 865-932-4794 or 800-845-5665).