Friends Of Great Smoky Mountain National Park Inc

Rating: 5 stars   10 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:

Animals, Environment, Sports


PO Box 1660 Kodak TN 37764 USA


Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park helps to preserve and protect one of America's greatest natural treasures by raising funds and awareness and providing volunteers for needed projects.


Since 1993, Friends of the Smokies has raised more than $47 million to help fund important projects in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Target demographics:

Everyone who loves, lives near, visits, and takes cherished memories away from the Smoky Mountains.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

The natural and cultural resources in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Geographic areas served:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Parks as Classrooms, which helps educate 18,000 students annually through hands-on curriculum-based education in the park, Trails Forever, which funds a full-time trail crew to preserve the park's 800+ miles of trails for generations to come, and historic preservation efforts to protect the rich history of east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

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Reviews for Friends Of Great Smoky Mountain National Park Inc

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been greatly impressed by seeing the amazing work of the Trails Forever crew on the Forney Ridge and Chimney Tops Trails, and now on the Alum Cave Trail. Thanks to their professional work (aided by volunteers), these trails have been improved more than any time since the work of the CCC. And thanks to the Friends of the Smokies for securing the funding to enable the Trails Forever crew to do their work.

Surely this is just one of many examples of how Friends of the Smokies is making a significant impact on our dearly loved Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Friends of Great Smoky Mountain National Park is THE most giving, influential, and effective non-profit organization of which I have ever witnessed or been a participant. I have volunteered as a campground host for the Smoky Mountain National Park since 2006. I have seen first hand the difference FOTS has made in the community, the park, and the volunteer program! The states of NC and Tenn benefit from the efforts of education, conservation, preservation, and participation provided by FOTS. As a result of my involvement with the FOTS, I seek to share their vision and to involve all of my contacts in partnering with their programs by donating or volunteering in order that this national treasure is protected for generations to come!
The entire staff of the FOTS is dedicated, enthusiastic, friendly, and eager to lend their support to enhance or initiate activity for the benefit of millions of annual visitors. They are literally my FRIENDS as well!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I live very close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and visit the Park frequently. I am an avid hiker and fly fisherman. Friends of the Smokies plays a vital role in funding significant activities and projects in the Park. FOTS is a very professional organization with passionate, enthusiastic and skilled staff. I had the opportunity to work as a volunteer with The Trails Forever crew on the Chimney Tops Trail. This is an amazing program that FOTS facilitates and the improvements made to the trails they have rehabilitated will last for generations to come.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Friends of the Smokies organization is by far one of the greatest organizations related to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The FOTS staff are some of the most passionate and dedicated folks I know, and I have proudly volunteered alongside them with much enthusiasm and pride. I must say, I have always been amazed at how every Friends event runs smoothly and no loose ends are to be found. This organization knows what it means to cross their t’s and dot their i’s. As a lover of the mountains, I will support them at every opportunity and continue to encourage others to do so as well.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching them grow over the years I've been involved.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hire additional staff, as every employee I've worked alongside seems to have their plate full.

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Crystal- Thank you for your hard work improving trails in the Smokies, and assisting with events. You are a great photographer, and a wonderful Friend of the Smokies!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I've volunteered for Friends of the Smokies for 4 years by working on their annual Evergreen Ball, telethon, and programs that they assist such as the Gatlinburg Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. Many wonderful programs and projects that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides would not be possible without the support from the FOS. The money they raise helps fund the Hemlock Protection program, Parks as Classrooms, and Trails Forever. These are critically needed projects for the future environmental health of the park and the enjoyment of the millions of people who visit.
I've enjoyed being a volunteer for the Friends of the Smokies due to the dedicated, hard-working, and fun staff at their office.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen the results of National Trail Day improvement, the work on the Hemlock trees, and read about the Parks as Classroom program

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

can't think of any

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Thank you, Leslie! You are a joy to work with in our office, at our Telethon (coming up on August 11th!), and you hard work in recruiting auction items for our Evergreen Ball is so very deeply appreciated. Thank you for your kindness and generosity. And for this fabulous review!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have the greatest regard for Friends of the Smokies organization and have had opportunity to interact with staff in the office setting and at special events where I've worked as a volunteer, including Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage each April and Wilderness Wildlife Week each January for last 5 or more years.

All of the staff seem to love the Smoky Mountains and appear to be super-dedicated to making everything they do help the GSMNP Park Service. It appears every event they put together turns out to be a 5-star, 1st-class endeavor.

One particular event I found awesome was the way they were able to help the GSM Park Service pull the "Once in a Lifetime" Cades Cove Loop Lope together on such short notice when it was learned the contracted service to resurface roadways was going to be complete earlier than planned, and it turned out to be such a tremendous success!!! I felt honored to get to work as a volunteer for that, too, and hope they will be able to make it an annual event, perhaps on the first Saturday of April or May.

It is always great to read about the Evergreen Ball each year, and in 2009, they did such a great job for an entire year of events for the 75th Anniversary and Rededication Ceremony.

I realize that FOTS' primary role and biggest achievements are in relation to the donations that support so many programs for the GSM Park Service, but they are so much more personal than just fund-raising folks, and I feel honored to have had contact with them over the years.

I strive for the day I can provide more financial support, but 'til then, will have to enjoy the privilege of the volunteer hours I can give.

Nancy Anderson
Fairhope, Alabama

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Through my activities, I've gained contacts and had opportunities to learn more about the Smokies which I'm enjoying sharing with my grandchildren in hopes that they will grow to love the Smokies and be responsible stewards of GSMNP.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I find it amazing that the staff can accomplish all that they do every year, so feel that if they were to have one or two additional staff.... well, maybe not...... I like the GSMNP right where it is and they already seem able to move mountains!!!!

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Thank you so much, Nancy. We value your volunteer support. You always have wonderful ideas and suggestions! Thank you for traveling from Alabama to volunteer with us in Tennessee. You are amazing.