Resolutions to recognize the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park passed both the Senate and House last night. The resolutions were sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) in the Senate; and by Congressmen Phil Roe (R-Tenn. 1) and Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn. 2) in the House.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country, attracting over nine million visitors each year. The park today covers approximately 521,621 acres of land in both states, making it the largest protected area in the eastern United States.
“I grew up and live in the backyard of the Smokies, so I’m especially glad that Congress has passed this measure to honor its 75th anniversary,” said Alexander, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittee which oversees funding for the park. “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in our country, and we must all work together to keep it pristine for future generations of hikers, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts.”
“I am pleased the Senate passed a resolution today honoring the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Burr said. “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been, and will forever be, an integral part of North Carolina’s history and culture. I congratulate all of the Park Rangers and Staff who help preserve this magnificent mountain range for us and for generations to come.”
“I love being outdoors and feel very fortunate to have grown up in East Tennessee near the Smokies,” said Corker. “My real introduction to the park came when I was a student at UT, and later when I hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail. These mountains are truly a national treasure, and I thank my colleagues for passing this measure to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”
“In North Carolina, we’re lucky to have beautiful beaches in the east and rolling mountains in the west,” said Hagan. “The Great Smoky Mountains offer a great variety of recreational activities and majestic views, and serve as a reminder that we must do what we can to protect them for future generations. During this 75th anniversary year, I encourage all North Carolinians to visit the Great Smoky Mountains and see what they have to offer. As a hiker myself, I look forward to visiting western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains later this year.”
“I am pleased Congress passed this special resolution celebrating the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most popular park in the country and a treasure in East Tennessee,” said Roe. “This unique ecosystem is not only beautiful, but it is also a job generator for our local economy. I’ve enjoyed hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for many years with my family and friends and will continue to support its preservation.”
“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is certainly a national treasure, and I am proud to have a portion of it in my District. As millions of people already know, the park offers something for every outdoor enthusiast, whether they are interested in a rigorous hike or taking a leisurely drive to enjoy the spectacular views,” said Duncan. “I appreciate that my colleagues in both the House and the Senate passed a resolution today recognizing and celebrating the significance of this important milestone.”
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established by an act of Congress on June 15, 1934, following years of effort by communities in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Funding to create the park came from citizens of communities surrounding the park, the state legislatures and governors of both states, and a gift from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund.
Several events commemorating the anniversary of the park are scheduled this summer. For more information, please visit: http://greatsmokies75th.org.