• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Dispatches from the Field: Air & Sky

Looking west from Look Rock.

Prevailing winds from the west bring weather and air pollution to the Smoky Mountains.

NPS photo.

Resource Roundup: Highlights of scientific projects and findings for Fall, 2009

Meet the Managers: Understanding air pollution

Focus On… the air & sky of the Great Smoky Mountains

  • NPS Profile: Air above & beyond the Smokies
  • Partner Profile: NPS Dark Skies Initiative
  • Links to information about air quality, further research, and volunteering opportunities
  • And for those in school information about education & experience needed to become an expert in air quality monitoring

Return to the Dispatches from the Field issue index.


Did You Know?

Flame azalea can be found growing on heath balds in the park.

The park’s high elevation heath balds are treeless expanses where dense thickets of shrubs such as mountain laurel, rhododendron, and sand myrtle grow. Known as “laurel slicks” and “hells” by early settlers, heath balds were most likely created by forest fires long ago. More...