The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

For centuries, the majesty and mystery of the Great Smoky Mountains have lured mankind. The Cherokee were among the first to build thriving communities here, and backcountry frontiersmen were next to put down roots. In time, visitors arrived, eager to take in the cool mountain air, and returned home with stories of hillbillies. Then came those who used the mountains for their own advantages, such as lumber barons, armed with steam shovels and skidders. Eventually, civic boosters from Western North Carolina and East Tennessee took note and began advocating for the protection of the Great Smoky Mountains. Before a national park could be established, though, there were competing interests to be sorted and a consideration of the lives affected.