More recently, human-caused factors such as air and water pollution and non-native species have had a significant impact on natural resources-both here and worldwide. The further impacts on the park of ten million human visits each year are only just beginning to be measured and mitigated. Scientists are striving to better understand these impacts on the park's ecosystem. Park staff carefully monitor threats such as air pollution and destructive non-native species and endeavor to implement proactive measures to preserve the park's valuable resources.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...