September 10, 2009
Nancy Gray, (865) 436-1208
The United States Mint announced recently that the nation will honor Great Smoky Mountains National Park through its new quarter-dollar coin program. The Smokies design, yet to be selected, will be the 21st to be featured on coins minted under the America the Beautiful Quarters program, and will be issued in 2014.
"We are privileged to be featured on the quarters program along with many of our nation's most revered places," said park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. "The coins are an excellent way to capture the public's attention and focus on our great resources," he continued.
"Whatever illustration is chosen to depict this national park, it will serve to represent the Smokies lush forests, abundant plant and animal life, awe-inspiring scenery, and the Park's rich Southern Appalachian mountain culture," Ditmanson said. The park provides visitors with recreational and educational opportunities in nature and sightseeing tours of remnant 19th and 20th century log cabins, churches, grist mills, barns, and other outbuildings in seven historic districts. Established in 1934, the Smokies is the most visited national park in the National Park System, hosting over 9 million visitors annually.
Congress authorized the America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 to celebrate the nation's legacy of conservation. The act directs the United States Mint to strike and issue 56 circulating quarter-dollars with reverse (tails side) designs emblematic of a national park or other national site in each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories - Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. The coins' obverse (heads) will feature the familiar "restored" 1932 portrait of George Washington. Starting in 2010, the quarters will be issued sequentially each year, in the order in which the featured site was first established as a national park or site.
The complete National Site Registry, which lists all 56 sites to be included under the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program in chronological order by year, is available at http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/NSQuartersProgram/?action=siteRegister.
Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner approved the list of sites recommended by the United States Mint on August 25, 2009, after consultation with the governor or chief executive of each host jurisdiction and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
In addition to the coins for circulation, the Mint will produce collectable items including proof sets, silver proof sets, a five ounce silver bullion coin, coin bags and coin rolls for each quarter. For more information about the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, please visit http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/NSQuartersProgram/index.cfm.