Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials, in conjunction with the Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountain Association, are announcing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the national park. The program, Experience Your Smokies, is a unique opportunity to get to know the park and the employees in a whole new way.
“We are delighted to be able to offer this unique experience which allows each participant the chance get a behind the scenes look at what goes on in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” said Acting Superintendent Pedro Ramos. “Not only does it give our Rangers a chance to share their knowledge about this special place, it also allows our neighbors a chance to share their experiences as we better connect our community.”
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. 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. This 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.
“I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the entire staff for their respective roles,” said a 2013 participant. “The knowledge each has is so amazing. This has been one of the coolest experiences of my life.”
Experience Your Smokies is seeking diverse applicants from the surrounding communities for a program this spring. Programs run on Tuesdays on the following dates: March 25, April 8, April 29, May 6, and Saturday, May 17. 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 March 12. The program costs $50with funds going towards program administration and materials.
Info: www.friendsofthesmokies.org/events.html or (828) 452-0720 for an application.