A new program, "Reward Yourself - Hike the Smokies Challenge" in 2010, was announced yesterday by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in order to help visitors reach individual milestones. The park will distribute mileage record books for free on Sunday, April 25, at Sugarlands and Oconaluftee Visitor Centers between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and at the Cades Cove Visitor Center from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. After April 25, the pocket-size booklets will be available at the three visitor centers for $1.00.
The challenge is to keep track and record the mileage from each trail excursion, even if it is the same trail day after day. As a recreational benefit, when a person has "hiked" 100 miles, 250 miles, and 500 miles, he/she can bring their mileage record to one of the three visitor centers to receive a mileage pin and be recorded in the "Hike the Smokies" 2010 web records.
The program was designed to give visitors a little motivation to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
A video podcast, Day Hiking in the Smokies: Expect the Unexpected will also be launched on April 25th. This 3-minute video podcast will help visitors prepare for the weather extremes that can be found in the Smokies during a day hike. Two additional video podcasts are being developed in this series for release this summer and fall that will provide additional tips on hiking safety in the Smokies.
"Day hiking in the Smokies is a good way to get exercise while also discovering the beauty of this area," said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. He continued, "With over 800 miles of scenic trails to choose from, the possibilities for day hikes are endless."
This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of The Coca-Cola Foundation, a Proud Partner of America’s National Parks, and in cooperation with Great Smoky Mountains Association and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.