Since 1953, the park's cooperating association, Great Smoky Mountains Association, has been supporting the educational, scientific, and historical efforts of the National Park Service through cash donations and in-kind services. In 2011 alone, the association provided over $4.7 million worth of assistance to the park, including over $3 million to build the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Projects the association helped to fund include the elk reintroduction, seasonal park rangers, oral history projects, bear research, and backcountry services.
Memberships start at just $35 per year. Join today by visiting www.thegreatsmokymountains.org/
Great Smoky Mountains Association is a nonprofit organization that operates several bookstores in the park and in surrounding communities. They carry a wide array of items to make your trip to the park more enjoyable and memorable. Visit their online store.
Did You Know?
Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile. Bears can be found throughout the park, but are easiest to spot in open areas such as Cades Cove and Cataloochee Valley.