Saturday, October 10, 2009

Help Friends of the Smokies Win Grant Money

I just received an email from Holly Scott Burcham from the Friends of the Smokies organization. She's asking everyone to help them win a "Tourism Cares" grant, by simply casting an online vote.

This grant could mean $5,000 to $10,000 for historic preservation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Friends of the Smokies intends to use the grant money towards the restoration of 19 historic buildings in the Elkmont area.

As of Saturday morning, Friends of the Smokies has 17% of all votes, and are in fourth place. However, they're only 382 votes behind the leader. This is not an insurmountable lead!

It's just one click and you're done. No registration required. They don't even ask for your e-mail address. Please click here to vote.

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Peter J. Barr said...

hey jeff,

thanks for posting this. your blog is certainly making a difference - as of sunday morning, the smokies are only down 150 votes, making up over a 200 vote gap in a single day.

i sent this out to many friends, and received a little bit of backlash because the grant will go to elkmont restoration. many hikers and wilderness enthusiasts are against the elkmont project, myself being one of them. when i have discussions with the park about restoring the fire towers and their complete lack of regard for them and the cabin at high rocks, they always bring up the work and money needed for elkmont, which they have declared their top priority.

however, the decision to restore many elkmont structures is final, and opposing it is not going to prevent it. someone told me that a vote for elkmont is a vote against the park. this is shallow-minded. regardless of its use, anyone's help in seeking funding for the Friends is a vote for the park. the more funds that elkmont receives, the quicker we can move onto more worthwhile projects.

thanks again for posting this.

best regards,

peter barr

Smoky Mountain Hiker said...


Thanks for your reply. Yes, that gap is closing and I think we can eventually take the lead!

I understand why there is some controvery regarding Elkmont. I remember seeing the buildings the very first time and thinking, "what an ugly eyesore!". However, I do believe that it's a good idea to restore these buildings. Although the current generation may see little value in these buildings, which represent a certain era of the park's history, future generations will most likely thank us for saving them - just as we thank the generation that saved many of the homesteads in Cades Cove, etc.

I also remember the first time I read that the park service did destroy several homesteads within the park boundaries during the early years, and thinking "what a shame". If the people who made those decisions were still alive today, my guess is that they would likely regret some of those decisions.


Holly said...

Hey- Thank so much for posting! We are only a few percentage points & votes away form 1st place right now. Thank you for helping this effort grow, and for being both knowledgeable (sp?) and sensitive to the issues about Elkmont. Thank you for your positive support!