NPS Centennial

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. As we lead up to the centennial, we invite you to participate in Find Your Park Experiences to learn, discover, be inspired, or simply have fun in national parks. Find Your Park Experiences offer unique opportunities to explore national parks both in person and online. Check out the experiences in this park or search all experiences to identify an opportunity that matches your interests. You can also share your national park story at

A Call to Action remains the foundation for our 2016 centennial preparations. It is the National Park Service's blueprint for the future, outlining the innovative work we want to accomplish. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a big part of this effort. Take a look at what we're doing and get involved!



  • Be a Citizen Scientist in the Appalachian Mountains

    Volunteers collecting phenology data

    Do some citizen science by helping collect data on the seasonal timing of plants and animals in the Appalachian Mountains. Attend a training workshop, download an app, gather your family and friends, and pull out your smart phone to collect original data on leaf formation, flower production, frog calling, or bird behavior. Your observations will help the NPS and its partners understand how these species are responding to climate change along the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. Read more

  • Find Your World Heritage Sites in the United States

    A park visitor stands in Yosemite Valley. Behind him is Yosemite Falls.

    The World of World Heritage awaits. Get out and explore the 22 World Heritage Sites in the United States and see what makes these protected areas unique. Find out why the World has recognized them as being the most significant cultural and natural sites on the planet. Read more

  • Step On Charlie's Bunion!

    A jagged rock outcrop overlooks snow and frost covered mountains and valleys.

    Enjoy breathtaking mountain views along the world-famous Appalachian Trail on this hike to a picturesque stone outcrop known as Charlies Bunion. Read more

  • Walk Behind A Waterfall

    Water in a mountain stream falls from a rock ledge into a pool below.

    Stand behind Grotto Falls to view the forest through a veil of cascading and splashing water. Read more

Call to Action Projects 

  • Students From the Class of 2016 Explore Parks

    A group of 5th grade students display their National Parks Passport booklets

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park has adopted the 5th Grade class at Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg, TN to participate in a series of experiences culminating in the National Park Service Centennial in 2016 which coincides with their 8th grade graduation. Read more

  • Resource Education Staff Leads Distance Learning Classrooms

    Group picture of teacher workshop participants standing in front of snowy woods.

    Park Resource Education staff hosted teacher workshops focusing on weather and technology for 24 local teachers and over 2,000 students. Read more

  • High School Interns Work and Learn about Career Opportunities in the Smokies

    High School student hired as a park ranger helps a child find stream invertebrates in a park stream.

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with funding assistance from the Youth Partnership Program, hired eighteen high school students from its eight surrounding counties to participate in a summer intern program. Read more

  • Smokies Youth Leadership Class of 2016

    A group of young backpackers poses by a trailhead sign in the park.

    During the summer of 2012, a group of five students embarked on their first expedition into Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s wilderness as a part of the Experience Your Smokies Youth Leadership Class. The four-year course is being offered through the Park’s partner, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, and will introduce its young participants to the cultural and biological diversity of the park though classroom programs as well as active outdoor learning opportun Read more

  • Artist in Residence Brings Art to the People

    Artist in Residence, Kelly Adams, helps young park visitors with charcoal drawing techniques.

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park initiated their first Artist in Residence Program during 2012. With help from Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, the first three artists shared their unique park inspirations to over 1000 park visitors during the summer. Read more

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