Great Smoky Mountains

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Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian system, on the N.C.–Tenn. border; highest range E of the Mississippi and one of the oldest uplands on earth. The mountains are named for the smokelike haze that envelops them. More than 25 peaks rise over 6,000 ft (1,829 m); Clingmans Dome, 6,643 ft (2,025 m), and Mt. Guyot, 6,621 ft (2,018 m), the highest points in Tennessee, were named after geologists T. L. Clingman and Arnold Guyot, who explored the mountains in the late 1800s. The Great Smokies are noted for their many species of trees and a great variety of flowering plants. Nearly 40% of the forest is virgin growth. Black bears are among the most well-known of the many animals and birds in the Great Smokies. Although the region's coves and valleys have been settled since pioneer times, they remained isolated and inaccessible until the 20th cent., when loggers began harvesting the virgin forest and significant tourism led to development of the area, such as the construction of scenic auto and hiking roads and routes. Increased industrialization in the surrounding states and acid rain there have caused vegetation damage and resulted in environmental protection and awareness efforts. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (521,621 acres/211,183 hectares) straddles the crest of the Great Smokies for 71 mi (114 km). The park includes c.600 mi (965 km) of trails through luxuriant forests (the Appalachian Trail follows the crest) and many streams and waterfalls. A number of former farmsteads with log cabins and barns and a grist mill have been preserved. Several museums are there. The park was authorized in 1926 and established in 1930. See National Parks and Monuments (table).


See C. C. Campbell, Birth of a National Park in the Great Smoky Mountains (1978); M. Frome, Strangers in High Places: The Story of the Great Smoky Mountains (1980).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Collins, the percentage of standing fir that were dead was the highest of the five mountains, whereas on nearby Clingmans Dome, the percentage of standing dead fir was the lowest (Table 1).
Although Clingmans Dome has the lowest basal area in live hardwoods of the five mountains, it has the largest percentage of standing dead hardwood basal area.
Major mortality was nearly complete throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, except for Clingmans Dome which was sampled in 1990 during or slightly before completion of the initial wave of mortality (Table 1) (C.
In 1995, three permanent plots on Clingmans Dome and two on Mt.
Since the resampled plots were located on Clingmans Dome and Mt.
With mortality on Clingmans Dome, the last mountain in the Smokies to become infested, quickly approaching that on earlier infected mountains, the first wave of the cycle is nearly complete.
Clingmans Dome Road: a seven-mile spur off Newfound Gap Road that follows the crest of the mountains.
The road crosses Newfound Gap, 5,048 feet, and leads to a seven-mile road to the highest peak in the Smokies, Clingmans Dome, 6,643 feet, reached via a half-mile hike from a parking area.
In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the unplowed road to Clingmans Dome (7 miles) offers a route that climbs to the highest point in the park.

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