Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced an opportunity for interested parties to harvest hay though an agricultural Special Park Use permit in fields adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and along Newfound Gap Road near Smokemont Campground. These fields, comprised of five parcels totaling 53 acres, are kept open to preserve the cultural landscape associated with the early 1900s.
Agricultural use of the fields is restricted to haying operations. The permittee will be authorized to sell, trade, or barter the hay harvested under the authority of the permit. Agricultural Special Park Use agreements are a tool used to preserve the open, pastoral appearance of the land without attempting to reproduce, on a large scale, a replica of the agricultural fields that existed when the park was established. Preventing reforestation of these areas maintains the scenic views of the valley and mountain panoramas, along with providing a foreground for historic structures at the Oconaluftee Mountain Farm Museum.
Anyone interested in learning more about this unique opportunity is encouraged to reach out to the Agricultural Special Park Use program lead, Jamie Sanders, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (865) 436-1296. Applications and permit conditions may be obtained through the Agricultural Permitting office. All interested individuals must submit an application by Sept. 15.
– National Park Service release