Summer is officially here, and that means many American families will soon be packing up the car and going on vacation. One popular destination this season will undoubtably be the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is one of this nation’s most visited and beloved national treasures.
The park, which covers approximately 521,621 acres in Tennessee and North Carolina, is also a valuable economic tool for our region. Local leaders know the unspoiled beauty of the Smokies is a vital resource that fuels both commerce and relaxation.
The National Park Service’s website for the park describes the Smokies as “world renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life.”
That’s why Americans must be ever vigilant when it comes to protecting these natural resources from poachers, arsonists and litter bugs. The Smokies must also be protected from encroaching development and the ecologically damaging pollutants coming from the coal-fired power plants that neighbor these ancient mountains.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the crowning jewel of a park system that is the envy of the world. We should never take it for granted.