Friday, July 13, 2018

August 3 Deadline Approaching for Fourth Annual Big South Fork Photo Contest

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area would like to remind everyone that the deadline for submitting entries for the 2018 Big South Fork photography contest is August 3.

Images may show wildlife, plant life, natural landscapes, historic areas, weather, or people interacting with nature within the boundaries of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. All photographs, except those submitted in the artistic category, should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.

Photographs may be submitted into one of seven categories:

• Action/Adventure -- Photographs of people participating in recreational activities

• Artistic -- Artistic compositions in nature, both natural and manipulated in post processing

• Cultural -- Photographs that illustrate historic or culturally significant structures

• Flora and Fauna -- Animals in their natural habitat, including close-ups of invertebrates, or plants in their natural habitat, including close-ups of flowers, fungi, lichen, and algae

• Youth -- Entries in any category by photographers under 18 years of age

• Kentucky Landscapes -- Expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Kentucky park boundaries

• Tennessee Landscapes -- Expansive and dramatic views of the land and its features within the Tennessee park boundaries.

Entries will be judged on technical excellence, originality, creativity, visual impact, and artistic merit. Judges’ decisions are final. Selected images will be printed for an exhibition at Bandy Creek Visitor Center that will open on Saturday, September 1, 2018. Selected images may also be displayed on the internet and other venues.

The contest is open to all photographers, except NPS employees and their immediate families and household members. Each person may only submit two photos into the competition. All photos must be in a digital format. Entries must be received no later than the close of business Friday, August 3, 2018. Each entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form with all information clearly filled out. Entry forms may be downloaded from

Entries may be emailed to or hand-delivered or mailed to park headquarters at:

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
4564 Leatherwood Road
Oneida, Tennessee 37841
Attn: Photo Exhibit.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Clingmans Dome Tower Rehabilitation Work to Resume July 10

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower will be closed Tuesday, July 10 through Friday, July 27 to complete a rehabilitation project that began last year. The remaining final surface overlay work was scheduled to be completed earlier this summer; however, numerous rain events resulted in the delay of the project.

While visitors will not be able to climb the tower, the Clingmans Dome parking overlook area will remain open and offers outstanding mountain top views. The visitor contact station and store, the trail up to the tower, and all access to the trailheads in the vicinity will remain open. Visitors will also have the option of hiking out to Andrews Bald for outstanding views as well. Visitors should expect some construction traffic in the vicinity of the contact station and along the trail.

Last year, contractors repaired deteriorated areas on the concrete columns and walls, stabilized support walls at the base of the ramp, and repaired stone masonry. This work has been made possible through funding received from a Partners in Preservation (PIP) grant. The $250,000 grant was awarded in 2016 to the Friends of the Smokies on behalf of the park after being one of the top nine, most voted for parks in the Partners in Preservation: National Parks Campaign.

Straddling the North Carolina and Tennessee state line at 6,643 feet, the tower is a prominent landmark and destination as the highest point in the park. The observation tower is a precedent-setting design of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program, which transformed park planning, management, and architecture and fundamentally altered the visitor experience in national parks. Since 1959, millions of visitors have climbed the tower, where they can see distances of up to 100 miles over the surrounding mountains and valleys. Some minimal preservation work today on the tower will ensure that visitors continue to experience this unique structure spiraling up from the highest point in the park.

For more information about the Clingmans Dome Tower, please visit the park website at