If you have a kid who's expressed an interest in becoming a park ranger, we have a suggestion for one way they can take that first step toward achieving that dream: Become a Junior Ranger. This program, offered by the National Park Service, is a great way for kids to get more out of their national park experience and learn a lot about nature in the process.
Typically, when you think about hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, you first visualize people walking along a rugged path, on their way to or from a scenic destination like a mountaintop or a waterfall. But that's not always the case. Many park visitors are not able to experience trails in the traditional manner because they are confined to a wheelchair or must use a scooter or other wheeled mobility device. And don't forget about younger children riding in strollers. Their parents also want to be able to enjoy the national park's trails and bring their tots along as well.
A lot of people visiting our area recently have been wondering if they can still visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park in light of the government shutdown, which has been dragging on for over a month now.
This is the time of year when visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park sharply rises. School's out for the summer, and most folks plan their family vacations for this window of time. And people aren't the only creatures active in the national park. Bears are up from their winter slumbers and are living their lives within that same territory.
Strange things are going on outside this week. That big yellow ball in the sky is shining once again, sharing its light and warmth with all us sun-starved creatures here on earth. So this week has the makings of great hiking weather. Whether you're making your first visit to the Great Smoky Mountains or you've been coming here your whole life, we hope you can find some time to get outside and hit the trail in the national park.