On your next vacation to Gatlinburg Tennessee be sure you make time to visit the Smoky Mountain National Park. Since the park was established it has seen millions of visitors over the years and doesn’t show any sign of losing popularity. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the park since it was officially chartered. On June 15, 1934 Congress past legislation making 400,000 acres around Gatlinburg TN an official national park, making the sleepy little town come alive. In 1941 the one millionth visitor passed through the Smokies. That’s a lot of people in less than ten years!
The Smoky Mountain National Park has brought a lot of tourists over the year’s making Gatlinburg TN a popular destination spot since it’s so close to the park. In the 40’s the park added more land to the dedicated area and a road going through the park was decided on. At this time the war was on everyone’s mind and the Smoky Mountain National Park saw soldiers, planes, famous speakers, etc. come through it. When news the war had ended people in Gatlinburg and the areas near the National Park rejoiced. The story “Time Stood Still in the Smokies” was published around this same time.
Gaining even more fame in the 1950’s the National Park began doing shows, exhibitions, etc. This in turn attracted more people to the area. In 1952 the Smoky Mountain National Park reached 2 million visitors and was showing promise for more. Disney Productions even used the National Park to film it’s “Davy Crockett” movie! Bigger and better attractions were starting to be built around Gatlinburg TN at this time in hopes of attracting more tourists to the area and this will turn out to be a very successful move.
In less than 30 years of being a charted park, the Smoky Mountain National Park made a huge step by attracting National Geographic to the area in 1962. Cade’s Cove, which is right outside of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, was featured in the magazine’s “People of Cade’s Cove” edition. A huge milestone was reached in 1962 when the one billionth visitor to the Smoky Mountain National Park is greeted to the area. Tourism really started livening the area up making a demand for lodging in the surrounding area of Gatlinburg.
The 70’s were a time of environmental awareness for the nation. Streams were marked off and established as habitats for fish native and nonnative to the area. Endangered species were starting to be looked after at the National Park as well. In fact, the first Earth Day is declared in the 70’s. The Smoky Mountain National Park was even declared as a mandatory area for a high amount of air quality protection since it was now spread out over half a million acres.
As the 1980’s rolled around the National Park got ready to celebrate it’s 50th anniversary. Movies were still being shot in the Park and tourism was reaching a peak in the surrounding Gatlinburg area. The World Fair made it’s appearance to the area in the 80’s attracting even more tourists to the area.
When the 1990’s began a need for protection of the animals became more of a necessity. Bears were visiting Gatlinburg cabins
and trash cans were their prey. Since it’s dangerous for bears and humans to interact a need for bear proof garbage cans became a top priority. In 1993 a huge blizzard hit dumping more than nine feet of snow in the Smoky Mountain National Park and Gatlinburg. In 1996 the Olympic torch ran through the National Park and over the mountains to Gatlinburg. The 1990’s presented an interesting time to those who visited the area as well as those who resided there.
Now in the 2000’s the Smoky Mountain National Park and Gatlinburg became a popular area for vacationing. The Park is still a sanctuary for many animals and a great place for family fun exploring mother nature. The Smoky Mountain National Park has come a long way over the past 75 years and shows no signs of slowing down to be one of the most popular National Parks.