Smokies officials announce a new way to explore the park

Jan 28, 2013
Clingman's Dome

Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in conjunction with the Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountain Association, are introducing a new program, Experience Your Smokies.

“If you have ever wanted to be a park ranger or get a behind the scenes look at what goes on in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this is your opportunity,” said park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson.

Experience Your Smokies is a program designed for local residents, business, community and educational leaders to get a behind the scenes look into the national park, while networking with others from western North Carolina.

“Our surrounding communities and their leaders are very important to us, and this program gives us a chance to make more meaningful connections with our neighbors and for them to do the same with us,” he said.

Participants will attend five full-day sessions at a variety of locations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, accompanying park employees in activities that may include radio-tracking elk, participating in a fish survey, and assisting with trail restoration. The program is a perfect way to get an insider’s look at park operations as we explore areas like Cataloochee Valley, Deep Creek, Oconaluftee, Clingmans Dome, and Purchase Knob, Ditmanson said.

Experience Your Smokies is seeking diverse applicants from the surrounding communities for a program this spring. Program dates are as follows: Wednesday March 27, April 16, April 30, May 7 and May 18.

Class size is limited to 25 participants. Those attending will be asked to commit to attending all class days.

Applications will be accepted between now and Feb. 22.  The program costs $50 with funds going toward program administration and materials.

Visit or call 452-0720 for an application.

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