Great Smoky Mountains Association Meeting and Drive

Icicles on Newfound Gap Rd. - 20100312

I’ve been to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park the last two days and I haven’t stepped on a trail. Not really even outside. What’s wrong with this picture?

OVC temporary entrance - 20100312Yesterday, I drove back to the Park and headed to Gatlinburg for a board meeting of the Great Smoky Mountains Association. Thanks to the I-40 road closure, I’ll be doing that a lot.

Dan Pierce, history professor at UNC at Asheville and author of Real Nascar, was with me. Dan is also a Great Smoky Mountains Association board member. We stopped at Oconaluftee Visitor Center, where I took a picture of the new, temporary entrance. A new visitor center is being built and until then, visitors are going to have to negotiate a construction site.

Newfound Gap Rd. was foggy on top with beautiful ice sculptures. See above. It took almost two and a half hours to get to Gatlinburg. The meeting was at Park Headquarters, close to Sugarlands Visitor Center.

So what is Great Smoky Mountains Association? They are a cooperating association, charged with publishing educational material about the park and running the bookstores. For more of an explanation, see the article I wrote for National Parks Travelers.

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