New Exhibit - The Appalachian Trail: One Step At A Time
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a new exhibit, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, now displayed at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and an upcoming series of lectures by "thru-hikers," those who have hiked the entire 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail.
The new exhibit, entitled "The Appalachian Trail: One Step at a Time," showcases the history of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) from its origins in the 1920s to its current national scenic trail status, and is a joint project of the National Park Service, the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The exhibit surveys the history of the trail, its construction in Great Smoky Mountains National Park by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the early days of the park, and its current management and maintenance by staff and volunteers from the National Park Service and the organizations mentioned above.
The A.T. passes through 14 states on its path from Georgia to Maine. It traverses Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 71 miles from Fontana Dam on the west side of the park to Davenport Gap on the east. The highest point on the A.T. is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Clingmans Dome.
Along with the exhibit, which will be on display through fall of 2006, the park is hosting a series of three free evening lectures at the Sugarlands Visitor Center by hikers, who have completed the entire 2,175 miles of the A.T. These lectures will provide first-hand accounts of the planning, logistics, and hiking of the trail by several "thru-hikers."
"Hiking the A.T. demands stamina, planning, and perseverance, along with a good sense of humor, to meet the challenges encountered along the way, and the speakers in the series will explore all the dimensions of hiking and experiencing the trail," said Scott Pardue, Sugarlands Visitor Center Supervisor.
On April 14, the first speaker in the lecture series was David Brill, A.T. thru-hiker and author of As Far As the Eye Can See. On May 26, Cindy Ross will recount her experiences hiking the entire trail. On June 23, the final lecture in the series is scheduled and will involve a roundtable discussion of several A.T. thru-hikers who will relate their unique experiences of being on the trail for upwards of 6 months at a time.
All lectures in the series will occur at 7:00 p.m. in the Sugarlands Visitor Center theater, located near Gatlinburg, Tenn. The exhibit and lectures are open to the public, free of charge.
For more information, contact the Sugarlands Visitor Center at (865) 436-1291.