Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials and partners celebrated the completion of a trail accessibility project in Cades Cove at the John Oliver Cabin on Tuesday, Sept. 28. The newly-created trail meets standards of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) and provides access for visitors of all ability levels to one of Cades Cove’s most popular historic homesites.
“The work of making our parks more accessible for all is so important,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Now all visitors have the opportunity to leave the roadway and be more fully immersed in the Cades Cove story through a trail experience within the historic landscape.”
The trail provides a unique view across the pastoral fields associated with the home of Cades Cove’s first European settlers, John and Lucretia Oliver, who settled there in 1818. The fields provide outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities for deer, turkey, bears, and grassland birds. The half-mile, paved trail is approximately eight feet wide to provide adequate space for wheelchairs or other mobility devices to pass one another. Funding for the project was made possible through a $150,000 donation provided by the National Park Foundation and a $57,000 donation provided by the Friends of the Smokies.
“It is such an honor to partner with Superintendent Cash and his staff in helping fulfill this vision of making park experiences more accessible,” said Sharon Pryse, Board of Directors Chair for Friends of the Smokies. “We’re grateful for the donations of all our ‘Friends’ who make it possible for us to support special park projects.”
“The new trail provides a pathway for all to experience the natural wonder and history of Cades Cove,” said Will Shafroth, president and chief executive officer of the National Park Foundation. “Thanks to the initiative of Friends of the Smokies and support from NPF and our donors, more people will be able to access and to share the beauty of this place.”
The Cades Cove Loop Road and the John Oliver Cabin are open daily from sunrise until sunset. For more information about the history of Cades Cove, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/historyculture/cades-cove-history.htm.
– National Park Service release