As you plan your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is a good idea to get to know about the area before you visit. This allows for you to know what parts of the park to visit and some of the history behind the amazing views you will encounter. Here are 6 fun facts about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
1. Early Settlers
When you begin to look at the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it all begins long before some realize. When the first settlers came into the park in the late 1700s, they came across a land of permanent towns and stabilized crop fields. Once they began to explore, they found that the land had been settled on by the Cherokee Indians. Most of the Cherokee tribe was forced off the land during The Trail of Tears in the 1830s. However, there are still to this day, ancestors of the Cherokees living near the park.
2. Smoky Mountain Name
If you are wondering how the name “Smoky Mountains” was founded, it is actually quite simple. The name for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park originated because of the smoky haze that can often be found lingering around the edge of the mountains and dipping into the valley. Going back to the Cherokee heritage, the early natives called the area “Shaconage.” This word translates to “place of the blue smoke.”
3. Black Bear Habitat
One of the most popular things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for both locals and tourists is to drive through the Cades Cove loop in hopes to see both adult and baby black bears. The reason this is possible is because the national park is one of the largest, protected areas in the eastern United States for black bears. Biologists estimate there are roughly 1,500 bears living throughout the park, approximately two bears per square mile.
4. Split State
One of the most interesting facts about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is that it’s split between Tennessee and North Carolina. Even more interesting than that, the split is almost exactly 50/50. Another fascinating thing about the park is how close it is to Gatlinburg. The national park is only about four miles from Gatlinburg, which has led to seeing some elk and bears roaming the streets of downtown.
5. Park Dedication History
While the land has been inhabited for hundreds of years, the national park has only been authorized for a short time of its history. President Calvin Cooledge was the one to authorize the formation of the park in 1926. On September 2, 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated it.
6. Salamander Paradise
When you think of the Smokies, you probably think of bears and elk, but did you know that the park is also home to tons of salamanders . In fact, the national park is also known as the “Salamander Capital of the World.” The park is home to nearly 30 different species of salamanders. Many of the salamanders make homes underneath the rocks both on land and those that sit in the many rivers and creeks.
Now that you know some of the history and fun facts about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you are ready to plan your next trip to experience the beauty of nature. If you want to learn more about the park and all it has to offer, there is plenty more to know about this magnificent place. Check out some of the many things you can do while visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.