may mast 2012

Warblers of the Smokies Quiz

 prothonotary warbler ryan wilson

 Prothonotary Warbler by Ryan Wilson


Click here to take our newest quiz about Warblers of the Smokies. This is a tough one!

Mountain Farm Museum

New Video

 mountain farm museum valerie polk

Mountain Farm Museum Davis house and meathouse by Valerie Polk


Click here to see Valerie Polk's newest video about the Mountain Farm Museum in Oconaluftee, NC. 

Waterfalls of the Park

New Video

 waterfall gary wilson

Cascade near Rainbow Falls by Gary Wilson


Waterfalls are one of the Smoky Mountains most prominent features. Over 100 cascades and waterfalls can be found in the park.


Click here to see Gary Wilson's new waterfall video.

Upcoming Events


Cades Cove Full Moon Walk May 6

Meet at the Orientation Shelter at the entrance to Cades Cove Loop Road at 8:30 pm.


Bicycle Mornings Cades Cove Begin May 9

Wednesdays and Saturdays.


Back Porch Old-Time Music May 19 

(3rd Saturday of every month)

Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. 

Bring an acoustic instrument and join in on the old-time jam.


Cosby in the Park May 19

Cosby Campground Area.


Women's Work Festival June 16

Mountain Farm Museum, Oconaluftee, NC.


Family Fun Book Signing May 24

Katy Koontz at Sugarlands Visitor Center.


Click here for more information on upcoming events.
New Online Store

Shop the National Park from Home


Jr. Ranger Books


Youth Ranger Hat


New Park Logo T-Shirt



Jr. Ranger Badge


2013 Wall Calendar

This beautiful calendar came from the best photos posted by 194,000 fans on our amazing Facebook page.smokies wall calendar 2013

hippensteal inn

Business Members



Mountain View Inn

4201 Tatem Marr Way
P.O. Box 707
Gatlinburg TN 37738


The Hippensteal Mountain View Inn is an 11-bedroom bed and breakfast designed, built, and decorated by Vern and Lisa Hippensteal. Three wrap-around porches invite you to relax in rocking chairs under ceiling fans to enjoy the breathtaking panorama that stretches from Greenbrier Pinnacle to Mt. Harrison, with majestic Mt. Le Conte in the middle.


Vern Hippensteal is a leading area watercolorist, whose work is displayed in the Inn as well as two other galleries in Gatlinburg. His studio is on the second floor of the Inn, just off the library.

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


Chilhowee Inn Bed & Breakfast

5291 Old Walland Hwy.
P. O. Box 143
Walland TN 37886


Auntie Belham's Cabin Rentals

1024 Charlotte's Court
Pigeon Forge TN 37863


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


Chalet Village

1441 Wiley Oakley Drive
Gatlinburg TN 37738


Colonial Properties Cabin & 

Resort Vacation Rental

3049 Veterans Blvd.

Pigeon Forge TN 37863



GSMA Members in good standing will receive a 15% discount on lodging, excluding holidays, the month of October and special events.

If you'd like to receive 1 online newsletter a month from us, click on the icon above.  


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


Join 194,500 Fans of the park on Facebook to see over 7,000 great photos of the critters, flowers and landscapes in the Smokies.  You don't have to join Facebook to see the page.  


Follow us on Twitter.   

New Firefly Reservation System

Announced TODAY


GSMNP just announced a new reservation system for the Elkmont Firefly Viewing event beginning in 2012. The popularity of the event has increased significantly over the past several years, and this has caused significant problems.


For this year's viewing, which runs from Saturday, June 2 through Sunday, June 10, a new on-line ticketing system, operated through, will provide visitors with parking passes to guarantee they will be able to park at Sugarlands Visitor Center without having to arrive hours in advance. 


A parking pass will be required for all vehicles. The number of passes issued for each day will be based on the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking lot capacity.


The shuttle buses, which are provided in partnership with the City of Gatlinburg, will begin picking up visitors from the Sugarlands Visitor Center RV/bus parking area at 7:00 p.m. The cost will be $1 round trip per person, as in previous years, and collected when boarding the shuttle.


The shuttle service will be the sole transportation mode for visitor access during this period, except for registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground. Visitors will not be allowed to walk the Elkmont entrance road due to safety concerns.


The majority of parking passes for this year's event will be on sale on-line beginning after 10:00 a.m. April 30. The Park will hold back 25 passes for each day to accommodate individuals who did not learn of the need to pre-purchase tickets. Those last 25 passes will go on sale on-line at 10:00 a.m. the day before the event and will be available until 3:30 p.m. on the day of the event or until the passes are all reserved. 


Passes can be purchased at Parking passes may also be obtained by calling 1-877-444-6777. The Park will not receive any revenue either from the reservations or the shuttle tickets.

Suggested May Hikes

High to Low

cc cub brian yoder 

Cades Cove Cub by Brian Yoder Images


May is a great month to do a "top to bottom" hike where you can travel from late winter to late spring by descending in elevation. 


Good choices include trails starting from Clingmans Dome Road such as Fork Ridge to Deep Creek or the Appalachian Trail to Sugarland Mountain Trail or Noland Divide Trail. 


Of course, if you're interested in maximizing your heart rate, weight loss, and leg strength, these trails can be hiked from bottom to top.

Elk Calving

Fields Closed for Protection

elk nub antlers lisa humphrey tice 

Elk Beginning to Grow Antlers by Lisa Humphrey-Tice


All fields in the Cataloochee Valley, and the field east of US Hwy. 441 between the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the fields at Couch's Creek and along Tow String Road, are closed to pedestrian and horse traffic during the months of May and June because this is the elk calving season.


During calving season, newborn calves are often bedded down in the tall grass area of the fields. Closing the fields prevents inadvertent contact between visitors and calves, which could lead to disturbance of the calf and or an attack by the mother elk.  


But the vista clearing work has begun, so you will get some new views in other areas of the park!

April Showers Bring May Flowers

milkweed patty hankins 

Milkweed by Patty Hankins


May Wildflowers


Mountain laurel is coming into bloom! This is one of the most beautiful and abundant flowering shrubs in the Smokies. It can be found at elevations below 5,000 feet in drier pine-oak habitats, especially on the park's west side. Suggested trails include Cove Mountain, Schoolhouse Gap, Chestnut Top, and Abrams Falls.


Umbrella and Fraser magnolia trees are also showing their huge, creamy white flowers. These are denizens of rich, moist forests at the lower elevations. A good trail to enjoy these blooms is Gabes Mountain.

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Video

Inspiring New Interview

thomas foster at thru-hiker gary wilson

Photo of Thomas Foster by Gary Wilson


Click here to see Gary Wilson's new video and hear an AT thru-hiker talk about his motivation for making the long walk.

Join Us for a Hike to Andrews Bald

See All the Way to Fontana Lake!

andrews bald mid june marvin tarrance

Andrews Bald in Mid-June by Marvin Tarrance


The GSMA hike for May will go to Andrews Bald on the Forney Ridge Trail on Saturday, May 26.


Meet at the Clingmans Dome parking lot at 9 am. The hike will be led by Marti Smith, an experienced hiker in the Smokies and 900-miler. It's a 3.8-mile round trip, and considered easy to moderate.


The highlight of the hike will be an exposure to the first trail that benefited from the "Trails Forever" trail improvement program. Prior to the program, the beginning of the trail was extremely rocky. It is now much easier to navigate, due to all the hard work of "Trails Forever" National Park Ranger Christine Hoyer and her many volunteers.  


We hope to see the Catawba Rhododendrons in bloom on the Bald. It may be a little early, but everything else has been early this year due to the unusually warm winter. Also, from the Bald there are great views of the mountains all the way to Fontana Lake.


Bring a snack or lunch and water. Dress in layers and bring rain gear,

just in case.


The fee is $5 for GSMA members and $10 for non-members. Children 12 and under are free, but must be accompanied by an adult. Call 865-436-7318, ext. 222 or 254 for reservations.

Wildflower Hike Video

Little River Trail

showy orchis valerie polk

Photo of Showy Orchis by Valerie Polk


Click here to see Valerie Polk's beautiful video of a hike taken along Little River Trail on April 8.

Chef Heather's Foods of the Smokies Recipes

Summery and Cookout Worthy Treats


Colorful Summer Slaw


2 tablespoons Foods of the Smokies Sourwood Honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/3 cup plain, nonfat yogurt

2 cups shredded green cabbage

1/3 cup shredded carrots

1/3 cup diced Bermuda (purple) onion

1/3 cup diced Roma tomatoes (seeds removed)

1/3 teaspoon garlic

salt and black pepper to taste


Prepare and toss together cabbage, onion, carrot, and tomatoes. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over veggies and toss lightly to combine. Cover and chill 15 to 30 minutes before serving. This is a great light, healthy side for summer cookouts and an excellent topper for barbeque sandwiches that can be prepared ahead!


Spicy Cherry Chipotle Barbeque Glaze


8 oz. Foods of the Smokies Cherry Preserves [also works well with Peach Preserves]

1 diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce plus 1/2 teaspoon extra sauce

2 tablespoons Foods of the Smokies Sorghum Molasses

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

1/2 cup finely chopped onion


Whisk together all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium to low heat, stirring frequently 5-10 minutes to warm. This sweet, spicy glaze is great on chicken and drizzled over pulled pork and ribs. It combines two of our Foods of the Smokies favorites for a delicious, smoky treat so easy it's perfect for summertime!

Answers to Last Month's Wildflower Quiz

1.    This earliest flowering wildflower in the Smokies is also known as Mayflower.


a.    Pussy Toes

b.   Trailing Arbutus

c.     Fraser's Sedge

d.    Wake Robin

e.     Mountain Bellwort


2.    This April-May blooming plant is also called "Doll's Eyes" due to the large white berries with dark spots that appear from July- October.


a.    Mountain Mint

b.    Bloodroot

c.     False Dragonhead

d.   White Baneberry

e.     Mountain Spiderwort


3.    Sometimes called Windflowers, these spring bloomers are unusual in several ways... one being the fact its flower has no petals... what look like petals are actually sepals.


a.    Lily of the Valley

b.    Fly Poison

c.     Dwarf Cinquefoil

d.    Mountain Gentian

e.    Wood anemone


4.    Mountain folklore tells farmers to prepare for planting when this early spring arrival appears. Its species have been traditionally used for the treatment of liver ailments.


a.    Canada Violet

b.   Sharp-lobed Hepatica

c.     Showy Orchis

d.    Stonecrop

e.     Starry Campion


5.    This diminutive, almost inconspicuous, plant has flowers of white and contains little chlorophyll.


a.   Pennywort

b.    Whorled Pogonia

c.     Bowman's Root

d.    Yellow Trillium

e.     Filmy Angelica


6.    While the color of this flower is usually maroon-ish, other color varieties occasionally occur. Not the most fragrant of flora, it is also called "Stinking Benjamin" or "Stinking Willie".


a.    Crane-fly Orchid

b.    Indian Cucumber

c.     Bee Balm

d.   Wake Robin

e.     St. John's Wort


7.    The arrowhead shape of this plant's leaves may give it away, and if not, then its small brown blossoms often hidden by leaf litter will. In days gone by a tea brewed from its stem was used to treat whooping cough.


a.    Squaw Root

b.    Bird's Foot Violet

c.    Little Brown Jug

d.    Trout Lily

e.     Cut-leaved Toothwort


8.    Various parts fo this plant, which derives its common name from the tinge of the leaves and seeds, rather than the flowers, were used by native Americans for fevers, hysteria, rheumatism, colic, toothache and poison ivy/oak rash.


a.    Painted Trillium

b.    Indian Pink

c.     Orange Jewelweed

d.    Pink Turtlehead

e.    Blue Cohosh


9.    This plant has opposite heart-shaped leaves which disappear entirely in winter. Flowers are maroon and emerge at the base of the leaf stalk with three ;png pointed lobes. Native Americans used the rhizomes to flavor food and made a tea to treat indigestion, coughs, heart ailments, cramps, colds, and sore throats.


a.    Alumroot

b.    Squaw Root

c.    Wild Ginger

d.    Pink Turtlehead

e.     Goat's Rue


10.    The showy 5-petaled pink to rosy-purple blooms of this April-May bloomer are hard to miss in the park's rich, moist woods.


a.   Wild Geranium

b.    Spreading Pogonia

c.     Goats' Rue

d.    Gay Wings

e.     Pale Meadow Beauty


11.    There are four members of the fumitory family in the park... squirrel corn, bleeding heart, climbing fumitory, and...


a.    Brook Lettuce

b.    Wood Sorrel

c.     Showy Orchis

d.   Dutchman's Britches

e.     Hairy Beard-Tongue


12.    Though most violets have heart-shaped leaves, this has thrice-divided leaves and the usually lilac-colored flowers are borne on long stalks held high above the leaves. Bright orange stamens extend well beyond the petals.


a.    Wooly Blue Violet

b.    Beaked Violet

c.     Halberd-leaved Violet

d.    Canadian Violet

e.    Bird's Foot Violet


The winner was Nita Johnston of Tennessee! 

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.