FRIENDS OF GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK INC
Rating: 5 stars 9 reviews
Issues: Animals, Environment, Sports
Location: PO Box 1660 Kodak TN 37764 USA
Results: 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
Programs: 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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This is an organization that is so amazing words can not describe the benefits is has done for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Over the many years we have been associated with The Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Inc, they have been as professional as forthright with the millions of dollars that have been donated to the park. They has used their funds to help establish the Trails Forever program which has provided for a permanent crew to work on the rehabilitation for various trails that have fallen into disarray of the many years of hard use and weathering. This program had a challenge grant to raise $2,000,000 which was matched by a local organization and the Friends turned this into reality.
Having visitor friendly trails has made the rehabilitated tails become safer and brought new visitors to the park as well. Further programs have been to establish new exhibits for the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the North Carolina side of the park near Cherokee, NC. The previous visitor center was very old and extremely small.
Each year the association coordinates the Evergreen Ball in Knoxville, TN to raise money for the park as well as holding other outside programs that do the same. There are days whereby volunteers take hikers on special trail hikes and this continues to support the efforts of the association to raise and make the hikers more aware of the park and their surroundings.
The staff of the association work endlessly to speak with individuals about their donations and the importance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You have never seen such passion and unselfish employees that continue to dedicate their time for one and only one reason, The Park.
As a final note of to show the associations dedication to the park, each August for over 20 years, the association has run a telethon on two television stations, one in Knoxville, TN and the other out of Asheville, NC. These stations dedicate one hour to the telethon and believe it or not, the telethon raises approximately $240,000 in very kind donations from individuals that all have the love for this park and the association's work for it.
If you believe in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you should become a member of the Friends.