“Friends of the Smokies” is a non-profit organization which supports the National Park Service’s mission of preserving the Great Smoky Mountains by raising funds and recruiting volunteers.
The organization’s mission statement, taken from their newsletter, states: “Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park assists the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness and providing volunteers for needed projects.”
A clause in the original legislation which chartered the Great Smoky Mountains National Park stipulated that the Park would never charge an admission fee. While this is great for visitors to the Park, it also eliminated a source of revenue which could be used to properly maintain the Park. Recent legislation has allowed the Park to retain more of the other fees collected by the Park, but the cost of wear and tear caused by nearly 10 million visitors annually exceeds the funds generated.
“Friends” are always soliciting contributions to help fund repair work on trails, wildlife research and protection, environmental educational services provided by Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, and historic structures repair.
“Friends” needs your help. You can make contributions by putting cash or a check in the donation boxes located at park visitor centers and along some roads. Or you can write “Friends” at:
PO Box 1660
Kodak, TN 37764-7660