History of the Grassy Balds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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This report summarizes briefly the historical use of the grassy balds in the Great Smoky Mountains by settlers before the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (to be referred to as GSMNP or Park) and describes their historical appearance. The main source of information is interviews with fourteen people who knew the balds before the establishment of the Park or immediately afterwards, but I also referred to published papers and books, unpublished material in the GSMNP library, old photographs, and theses. The interviews are included as an appendix, and an index has been prepared to make accessible interesting material not relevant to the subject of grassy balds. The tape recordings themselves are in the GSMNP library.

I would like to thank the many people who helped prepare this report. The people who were interviewed gave their time generously and patiently bore breakdowns of the tape recorder. Dr. Susan Bratton of the Uplands Field Research Laboratory conducted some of the interviews and gave encouragement throughout. Tina Dombrowski, Will Morgan, Leonard Terry, Warren Banner, Tim Hyatt, Jenny Adams, Andrea Behrman, and Michael Stein helped with the tedious job of transcribing the tape recordings and typing rough drafts of the transcripts. The National Park Service Southeast Region provided living and office quarters at the Uplands Laboratory and supported the work through contract CX500050207. Dr. Peter Marks provided helpful comments on the manuscript.

Fig. 1. Tom Sparks, the herder at Spence Field, in front of his cabin (from a photograph loaned by Asa Sparks).

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Last Updated: 07-Mar-2008