Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are inviting the public to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sugarlands Visitor Center to view the recent renovations to the main lobby and visitor contact area of the 50-year-old facility on Friday, April 12 at 10am.
This project was made possible with funding provided by Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies. The renovated visitor contact area creates a sense of arrival and serves to enhance visitor orientation as visitors are provided park information and directed to interactive exhibits which introduce them to natural resource challenges like air quality and forest health. Along with lighting system improvements, the new visitor information desk and exhibits are laid out in a more open space allowing for better circulation and overall accessibility.
“We are excited to invite our neighbors in the community to see the improvements on April 12th,” said Smokies Chief of Resource Education, Elizabeth Dupree. “The renovated space allows us to better serve the 850,000 visitors which come through the visitor center annually as well as our local community who has long enjoyed the natural history museum.”
The majority of the renovations were performed by existing park crews who worked during the evening hours from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm to install new flooring, paint, lighting, and develop a new entrance into the natural history museum. Highly skilled laborers created a masonry wall that mirrors the original architecture of the building inviting park visitors into the newly redesigned visitor contact area. The visitor center remained open throughout the construction period with visitor center staff and volunteers serving visitors, at times, in limited space surrounded by ongoing construction.
For more information about Sugarlands Visitor Center and park operations, please visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm.