Smokies Rated Poorly by National Geographic

Gregory Bald - the topNational Geographic Traveler has rated 133 best destinations in the world for travel. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park didn’t do well.


A national treasure surrounded by a bathtub ring of ugly,
unplanned development” especially around Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
, the magazine said.

The problem with these surveys is that they compare apples to oranges or maybe in this case, apples to broccoli. Both are good but they’re different.  As everyone knows by now, the Smokies are the most visited park in the United States – almost 10 million visitors. In addition, there is almost no development in the park. No great lodge, no Yosemite Village with gas stations and coffee shops. So all of that is outside the park – that’s what the quote above refers to.

National Geographic asked experts to look at authenticity and stewartship. Go to Cataloochee; you can’t get more authentic than that. I think the problem is that these experts never got into the Smokies; they just drove on Newfound Gap Rd.

And number one – Norway’s Fjord region. I’ve been there; it’s lovely but it isn’t the Smokies.

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