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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Spring Road Status

    During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »

Cultural Resources: Winter, 2009

Issue 6 > Resource Roundup > Cultural Resources & Archeology
GIS specialist Ben Zank maps Elkmont.

Ben Zank uses this high-power Geographic Positioning System (GPS) unit to map features within centimeters of their actual location.

NPS photo.

Elkmont in maps

In addition to having photographers document the buildings at Elkmont (see the Partner Profile for more information), the park is also mapping many of the physical features in the area ahead of planned construction. Ben Zank, GIS specialist at the Smokies, spent many mornings (when the satellite signal is better) taking Geographic Positioning System (GPS) points of the houses, electric poles, utility boxes, and manhole covers around the settled areas of Elkmont. From these, he made maps to give to park managers and construction crews. Many of the houses in Elkmont will be restored in the coming years, but those that are not historic or that are too dangerous to enter will have to be removed. Having accurate maps of all of the features helps in the area’s restoration process.

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Did You Know?

Fall leaf colors are most vivid at low to mid elevations.

About 100 native tree species make their home in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—more than in all of northern Europe. The park also contains one of the largest blocks of old-growth temperate deciduous forest in North America. More...