march 2012 mast

Notable People Quiz


Thomas Clingman


Click here to take our newest quiz about Smokies Notable Figures of the Past!

***Grand Opening!***

Fabulous New Online Store


Hiking the Smokies

Family Fun Newest Book
Black Bear T-Shirt
100% Made in the USA

GSMNP Best Earning Park for Local Economy


A recent NPS study shows GSMNP is not only the nation's most visited national park, but also it tops the 397 national park units in visitor spending.  


The study estimates the Park's 9 million visitors spent over $818 million in 2010 in the gateway communities surrounding the Park and 11,367 local jobs were supported by Park visitor spending.


The study found the NPS received 281 million recreational visits in 2010 nationwide and park visitors spent $12.13 billion in local gateway regions.


The study provides park-by-park and state-by-state breakdowns of each park unit's visitation, visitor spending, and local jobs supported at NPS units from Alaska to the Virgin Islands.  


The top five NPS units in terms of spending generated were Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN & NC) with $818 million, Grand Canyon (AZ) at $415 million, Yosemite (CA) with $354 million, Yellowstone (MT & WY & ID) at $334 million, and Blue Ridge Parkway (VA & NC) with $299 million.


Dale Ditmanson, Smokies Superintendent, said, "This study clearly demonstrates the economic benefits that communities located near national parks receive by being collocated with these unique national, historic and cultural sites."


Click here to see the entire study.

Business Members

buckhorn inn 

Buckhorn Inn

2140 Tudor Mountain Road  

Gatlinburg TN 37738 



Beauty, peace, and solitude emanate from the pine and hemlock forest surrounding Buckhorn Inn, while the ever-changing view of the Great Smoky Mountains never fails to inspire the visitor. 


Situated within its own thirty-acre property, the Inn offers a hiking trail, pond with a resident family of swans, and lovely gardens. Buckhorn has been a favorite destination for discriminating visitors to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains since 1938. 


Located less than a mile from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Buckhorn Inn is convenient to all activities and attractions in the area including hiking, arts and crafts, musical theaters, and discount shopping malls. Our lodging options include ten rooms in the main building, all beautifully furnished with antiques and artwork. 


A short stroll away, seven private cottages with living rooms and fireplaces are nestled in the woodlands around the Inn. Three gorgeous guesthouses offer even more privacy and space. Dining at Buckhorn Inn is a delightful experience of the best in regional cooking. 


Crafted with skill and care, our Southern-influenced meals are ones to remember, from our hearty breakfasts to our delectable dinners. The evening dinner is open to the public as well as inn guests.


You can see all of GSMA's Business Members by clicking here.


To see the discounts offered to GSMA members, click here.


If you own a business and would like to be included in this newsletter and our website, contact Westy Fletcher at 423.487.3131 or


Gatlinburg Falls Resort

653 Hidden Valley Road
Gatlinburg TN 37738


Aunt Bug's Cain Rentals 

3121 Veteran's Blvd
Pigeon Forge TN 37863

GSMA Members in good standing will receive 10% off on lodging. Holidays, the month of October and special events excluded.


Accommodations at Cabins USA Pigeon Forge

2140 Parkway
Pigeon Forge TN 37863

GSMA Members in good standing will receive a 10% discount on lodging. Holidays, the month of October and special events excluded.


Fireside Chalet & Cabin Rentals

Wears Valley Road at 2612 High Valley
Pigeon Forge TN 37863
At check-in mention this offer of $10.00 off entire stay. Cannot be combined with any other vacation special discount offers.

Upcoming Events

Music of the Mountains
April 20-22
Cosby in the Park 
May 19
Click here for more information on upcoming events.

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We never share your address with anyone and we never send any spam.

Motorists Will Get Better Views!

blue islands clouds chase clecknerStunning photo of islands in the clouds by Chase Cleckner


Special crews will be at work this spring trimming trees near the park's scenic overlooks to improve the views for motorists and other visitors. 


Over the years, many of the overlooks along Newfound Gap Road, Clingmans Dome Road, and other thoroughfares have grown over to the extent that they no longer offer views of the mountains. 


The landscaping work will be done in such a way as to encourage low growing native shrubs to thrive while discouraging the growth of tall trees.

Warm Winter in the Park

New Video and Wildflower Hiking Info

spring beauty valerie polk 

Photo of Spring beauties by Valerie Polk


Enjoy Valerie Polk's new video about the warm winter we've had this year in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Suggested March Hike

Wildflowers are already starting to bloom along Chestnut Top Trail, which begins at the Townsend "Y", between Townsend, TN and Little River Road. The first mile of the trail usually offers more than a dozen species of early spring wildflowers. 


If you want to hike farther, the trail continues for a total of 4.3 miles to connect with Schoolhouse Gap Trail. You can set up a two car shuttle at the Schoolhouse Gap trailhead and make it an invigorating 6.4 mile hike.


March Wildflowers

The mild winter is allowing spring wildflowers to bloom early this year. Look for trailing arbutus, spring-beauty, hepatica, bloodroot, star chickweed, and violets. 

Family Fun Book Signing

And New Video with the Author 

family abrams falls valerie polkPhoto of families having fun at Abrams Falls by Valerie Polk


Author Katy Koontz will be signing copies of GSMA's newest book, Family Fun in the Smokies, on April 2 at Sugarlands Visitor Center. The event will last from 9:30-1. Sugarlands is two miles south of Gatlinburg on U.S. 441 (Newfound Gap Road).


Enjoy Valerie Polk's new video about our new Family Fun book. 

Wood Frogs : A Sign of Spring

wood frog gary wilson

Photo of Wood Frog by Gary Wilson


This new video by Gary Wilson documents the Wood Frog mating season that begins in late winter when thousands of frogs descend into vernal pools in the park to begin mating.  The frogs will lay tens of thousands of tadpole eggs to continue the next generation of their species.

Expert Guided Hike of the Month

Join Us for an Early Spring Hike in Greenbrier


Join Ranger Carey Jones on Saturday, March 24 for an exploration into a lesser known area of Greenbrier. False Gap Prong will lead you to an old cemetery and secluded former homesites with some scenic water views along the way. With our winter being on the milder side this year expect to see some early spring wildflowers, too.


This moderate hike is about 2 � miles round trip and promises to be a good kick-off to spring for those who have developed a touch of "cabin fever" and want to shake off those winter doldrums.


Meet at 10:00 am at the Greenbrier Ranger Station. Wear good hiking boots, and bring rain gear, water, and a light snack. A hiking stick may be advisable, too.


Participation is limited to 20. Pre-registration is required, along with a $10 fee to cover the cost of the program. Children 12 and under are free. Call 865-436-7318, Ext. 222 or 254 to register.

clifftops night panorama gary wilson cr

Nightime panorama from Clifftops by Gary Wilson

Click here to see a print!

Corrected 2012 SWP logo

The whole family can enjoy this five-day event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There will be a wide variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars. 


Most programs are outdoors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while indoor offerings are held in various venues throughout Gatlinburg, TN.  Click here for details.

Keith Langdon Retires

keith langdonSuperintendent Ditmanson (left) gives Langdon a Service Award


Inventory and Monitoring Coordinator Keith Langdon retired this winter after 37 years with the National Park Service. Langdon started work in the Smokies in 1985. Before coming here he worked in law enforcement and resource management at the Everglades, Shenandoah, Catoctin, and Hot Springs. He began working in parks when he was 17.


At the Smokies, Langdon was instrumental in starting the now famous All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory. Parks and preserves around the world now turn to the Smokies for guidance in conducting their own biodiversity inventory projects.


During his retirement Langdon plans to raise chickens and (what else) volunteer for the park.

Chef Heather's Local Food Recipes


Warm Cherry Brie with Toasted Pecans


1/2 cup cherry preserves

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans

1 brie round, warmed, with rind removed from top only

assorted crackers for serving


This recipe is wonderful, easy, and uses our Foods of the Smokies Cherry Preserves. It's great for dinner with friends, and perfect with a glass of wine. Remove the top rind on the brie and gently warm per the package instructions, or in a low oven on a wooden cutting board for 5-10 minutes. This will give you a warmed board to serve from and help the brie hold its heat longer. Blend the preserves and vinegar in a small bowl, drizzle over brie, and top with toasted pecans to garnish.


Savory Jacket Pork Loin


1 2-3 lb boneless pork loin

6 Tablespoons sorghum molasses

2 Tablespoons sourwwod honey

2 Tablespoons hot pepper relish

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

3 Tablespoons black bean paste

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice

1 teaspoon sesame oil


This recipe for an amazing pork loin uses 3 of our favorite Foods of the Smokies ingredients, and works equally well in its foil pouch in the oven or on the grill for warm evenings and weekends. For oven preparation, preheat to 350. Prepare a cooking pouch from heavy duty aluminum foil, rinse and place pork loin inside. Spoon relish evenly over the top. Whisk together all other ingredients, and drizzle over pork and relish. Close the pouch, sealing tightly. Place on the grill over medium heat or in oven for 30-35 min.


Open pouch and check meat. It should be very tender and mostly done. Finish cooking (15-20 min) as needed with top of pouch open for browning. Slice into medallions and serve over a bed of your favorite rice or with roasted potatoes and veggies. Reserve remaining sauce in pouch to drizzle over pork when serving. 

Any Questions?For questions about online purchases, click here and the Mail Order department will help you.

For questions about membership, click here and Judy or Marti will help you.

For questions about business membership, click here and Westy will help you.
Become a member of Great Smoky Mountains Association today.  You'll receive discounts at our park stores of up to 25% and receive premiums like Smokies Life magazine and the Bearpaw newsletter.  Most importantly, you'll be helping protect nature and history in the Smokies.