Park Completes Sugarlands Visitor Center Renovations
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (865) 436-1207
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are pleased to invite the public to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sugarlands Visitor Center to view the recent renovations to the main lobby and visitor contact area of the 50-year-old facility on Friday, April 12th at 10:00 am.
This project was made possible with funding provided by Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies. The renovated visitor contact area creates a sense of arrival and serves to enhance visitor orientation as visitors are provided park information and directed to interactive exhibits which introduce them to natural resource challenges like air quality and forest health. Along with lighting system improvements, the new visitor information desk and exhibits are laid out in a more open space allowing for better circulation and overall accessibility.
"We are excited to invite our neighbors in the community to see the improvements on April 12th," said Smokies Chief of Resource Education, Elizabeth Dupree. "The renovated space allows us to better serve the 850,000 visitors which come through the visitor center annually as well as our local community who has long enjoyed the natural history museum."
The majority of the renovations were performed by existing park crews who worked during the evening hours from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm to install new flooring, paint, lighting, and develop a new entrance into the natural history museum. Highly skilled laborers created a masonry wall that mirrors the original architecture of the building inviting park visitors into the newly redesigned visitor contact area. The visitor center remained open throughout the construction period with visitor center staff and volunteers serving visitors, at times, in limited space surrounded by ongoing construction.
Did You Know?
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...