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September 3 proclaimed Friends of the Smokies Day in Tennessee, North Carolina


KODAK, TN – By proclamations from Governor Bill Haslam (Tennessee), Governor Roy Cooper (North Carolina), Mayor Madeleine Rogero (Knoxville), and Mayor Esther Manheimer (Asheville), September 3, 2018 is officially “Friends of the Smokies Day” in honor of the nonprofit organization’s 25th anniversary.

Friends of the Smokies is an official park partner of the National Park Service and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) that works to provide funding for critical park projects. Since 1993, the organization has raised $62 million to support projects including the reintroduction of elk, environmental education for local schoolchildren, world-class scientific research, and preservation of the park’s historic structures.


mt cammerer
Mt. Cammerer summer; Photo by Bruce McCamish, courtesy of Friends of the Smokies


“Friends of the Smokies was founded out of a deep and abiding love for this national park by dedicated individuals on both sides of the mountains,” said Dr. Dan Matthews, Friends of the Smokies board chair. “These proclamations reflect that spirit and honor their contributions toward the protection and preservation of America’s most-visited national park.”

Each proclamation names some of the respective state’s residents who played a pivotal role in the creation of the organization. In Tennessee, the Honorable Gary Wade, Lindsay Young, Natalie Haslam, Governor Lamar Alexander, and Governor Phil Bredesen are named among the founders and charter members. The North Carolina proclamation celebrates Dr. Myron Coulter, Stephen W. Woody, John Dickson, Chief Lee Jones, Wilma Dykeman Stokely, and Mimi Cecil.

The proclamations reads in-part:

“This day also recognizes and honors the thousands of dedicated park volunteers and National Park Service employees who work tirelessly to preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and

By example of their leadership and ongoing philanthropic efforts, the board of directors and president James Hart have inspired thousands of donors from all 50 United States and countries around the world to support Great Smoky Mountains National Park with their time, talent, and treasure.”

“We are grateful to have such devoted partners in Friends of the Smokies,” said GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Donations to this organization help the Smokies maintain its rightful place as a crown jewel of the National Park Service and we appreciate their generous support in the next 25 years and beyond.”

Friends of the Smokies raises money to support the national park through special events like the Evergreen Ball and Smokies Stomp Barn Party, individual donations and memberships, as well as a specialty license plate program in both states. For more information or to make a donation, visit FriendsOfTheSmokies.org.


Published August 30, 2018







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