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The Great Smoky Mountain National Park – just why it is so special.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has been described as “The most magical national park in the United States of America”.
The Smoky Mountains or “Smokies” are part of the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States and the whole area is steeped in history, folklore and is incredibly beautiful to boot!
The Smoky Mountain section of the Appalachians was called “Shaconage” or “Place of Smoke” (hence the name) by the native American Indians.
Like most places on the planet however the Smokies are not without the risk and threat of environmental damage (some of it caused by humans in the strangest of ways*) caused by either industrial Pollution drifting in the from the Industrial eastern seaboard of the United States and at some times of the year exacerbated by the pollution arising from the vast numbers of cars that drive through the National Park on a regular basis.
It has been said that one of the dangers threatening the Smokies is that they could be “loved to death”
*The Park has a problem with Wild Boars and even this was caused by man. In 1920, it was alleged that more than 100 wild boars escaped from a private game reserve in Murphy, North Carolina and they have been causing havoc and tearing up the park ever since. In the early years of the 21st Century nearly 100 years later and the problem of the wild boars still has to be solved!
The National Park Service claim the Smokies attracts nearly 10 Million visitors a year and this makes it the most popular national park in the US.
The most popular time of the year and the busiest is the fall when hundreds of thousands of people drive up through the park to view the spectacular autumnal colours. Though not quite as high profile as “New England in the fall”, the Smokies probably (in fact they do) attracts more visitors.
After the fall, the next busiest part of the year is the springtime. Thanks to the mild mountain air, the wildflowers and other warm weather attractions come into their own. The months of late April and early May are the best times for viewing the wild flowers.
For those wishing to view the spectacular blossoming of the vast amounts of Rhododendrons, then June and July is the time for you. July is statistically the wettest month of the year with sudden and torrential thunderstorms being quite common.
The range of temperatures experienced by visitors to the park is quite wide and it is well worth remembering that the higher you go (you can travel to an altitude of in excess of 6,000 ft) it can get quite cool whilst at the same time lower down (below 3-4,000 ft) the temperatures can regularly reach in excess of 90 degrees.
The park is open all year round and if you plan carefully and well ahead of the busiest weekends then a great and magical experience can be had by everyone.
About the Author: Stephen Morgan is an independent journalist. Further information on this article can be found at http://www.smokymountain.name and at http://www.smokymountaincabinsonline.us and his own site http://www.livingwithhighbloodpressure.net