Smokies Plate is Back – for a while

FriendsoftheSmokies Plate

The black bear on a green background is back on the North Carolina license plate. So he’s a little smaller and he’s had to move over to make way for a white box for your license plate but he’s here.

With more than 20,000 on the road, the Friends of the Smokies bear plate is one of the most popular specialty license plates in North Carolina. This is how it works:

Of the extra $30 annual fee for the specialty tag, $20 goes to Friends of the Smokies to support a variety projects and programs in the North Carolina portion of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bringing in over $430,000 in 2011. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in America, and one of the few that does not charge an entrance fee. But you knew that!

For more information about getting your own Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate, visit or your local NC license plate office.

That’s the good part. But for reasons that continue to mystify me, our North Carolina legislature has decided that by 2015, all the specialty license plates will be uniform. Only a small logo will be allowed. All the experts say that this new law will cut into sales of specialty plates.

So here when the government is telling us to do more with less, individuals are willing to pay an extra $30 for a license plate and the legislature is taking that away. Does that make sense?

Read an article about the threat to all North Carolina plates on National Parks Traveler.


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