Parks & Partners

The Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest in the world, having changed relatively little over the past 200 million years. The Southern Appalachians, where the land was never covered by glaciers or inundated by oceans, are one of the most species-rich temperate areas in the world, with 2,250 species of vascular plants, over 130 species of trees, more than 200 species of birds, and thousands of species of invertebrates.

This ecoregion is also recognized as a world center for amphibian, plant, and aquatic species diversity. Network parks protect the largest contiguous stands of old-growth forest remaining in the eastern United States, as well as many of the best remaining examples of globally imperiled species populations and communities.
Mist rising off the Big South Fork.

Big South Fork NRRA

With more than 472 miles of streams, the park is home to 42 species of freshwater mussels and 93 species of freshwater fish.

Blue Ridge Parkway and Looking Glass Rock.

Blue Ridge Parkway

High biodiversity is a result of complex geology, topography and climate, including a 5,400-foot elevation range, and high annual rainfall.

Black Bear at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, it's the most visited national park in America.

Obed Wild and Scenic River

Obed Wild and Scenic River

Over 45 miles of free-flowing rivers, including the Emory River, Obed River and two of Obed's tributaries, Clear Creek and Daddy's Creek.

Last updated: July 30, 2018