Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facts

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facts
Great Smokey Mountains National Park is the most popular national park in the United States, with more visitors each year than any other park in the country. The park was established by Congress in 1934, and was officially dedicated in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. At more than half a million acres (522,419 to be exact), it is one of the eastern United States' largest protected pieces of land. Early on not everyone was happy about turning such a large parcel of land into a national park, and it was debated as to whether it should be a national park or a national forest. In the end, the park concept won, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was born.
Interesting Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facts:
Some of the land contained within the park used to be part of the Cherokee Indian's homeland.
Beginning in the 18th century, frontiersmen (and women) started to settle the area.
President Andrew Jackson signed an act (Indian Removal Act) in 1830 that forced the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River to leave. This included the land now contained in the park.
Some Cherokee hid in the mountains that make up the parkland and today some of their descendants still live south of the park.
Much of the money raised to secure the park land came from private donations and state money.
The federal government used some of their money to help establish the park, which had never happened before.
Approximately 10 million people visit the park each year.
There are 800 miles of hiking trails that range in length from only a-half-a-mile to 70 miles.
The park encompasses 800 square miles.
The Smoky Mountains are some of the oldest mountains on the planet.
There are more than 1600 different species of flowering plants, and some of these can't be found anywhere else on earth.
In total there are more than 10,000 species of animals and plants living in the park.
There are possibly another 90,000 other unknown species that live in the park.
There are many heritage buildings in the park, including cabins, churches, farmhouses and out-buildings dating back to the 1700s.
There are 16 mountains within the park that reach at least 6,000 feet.
In 1976 the park was designated an International Biosphere Reserve.
The park was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
The tallest concrete dam east of the Rockies sits on the southwestern park boundary. It is 480 feet tall.
Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (a 50s TV show) was often filmed in the park.
The movie "A Smoky Mountain Christmas" starring Lee Majors and Dolly Parton was filmed in the park.
There are five areas where horses and their riders can camp. 550 miles of hiking trails in the park are open for riders.
There is no admission fee to the park, which is very rare for national parks.
The park is the largest protected bear habitat in the eastern U.S. There are approximately 1,500 black bears in the park. This equals two bears in every square mile.
The park is also referred to as the Salamander Capital of the World. There are 24 species of salamanders in the park.
The mountains formed about 200 to 300 million years ago.

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