The Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides visitors with so much, and asks for so little in return. As one of the few national parks without an entrance fee, the GSMNP allows over 10 million annual visitors to enjoy its hiking trails, scenic roads, and picnic areas for free. This summer, however, the national park requested your help to vote to receive a grant of $250,000 to restore the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower, and the results are in!
Clingmans Dome WON $250,000!
Thank you for all of the votes! The contest has ended and Friends of the Smokies has announced that they have won the grant of $250,000 to restore the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower! They expect to receive the grant by September 2016 and the work will begin on the Observation Tower in 2017. This is an exciting and rare opportunity for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and we are all excited to see the updates made to the Observation Tower in 2017!
The #VoteYourPark Competition
To celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial, the Partners in Preservation organization will award $2 million in grants to America’s park sites in need of repairs and improvements. In order to determine which national park locations are most deserving, Partners in Preservation is making the decision by popular vote. 20 different sites will compete for your vote, with five parks getting a portion of the grant money at the end of the contest.
Restoring the Clingmans Dome Tower
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is competing in the #VoteYourPark Competition in hopes of winning a grant to restore the Clingmans Dome tower. Standing 6,643 feet tall at the Tennessee-North Carolina state line, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the national park. From the top of the tower, visitors can see up to 100 miles of breathtaking mountain scenery.
The GSMNP is requesting $250,000 to make improvements to the tower. Although Clingmans Dome is structurally sound, it needs rehabilitation to fix up to four inches of foundation settlement, which is causing an uneven force on the tower. Correcting this issue now will prevent further settlement and the National Park Service can avoid more costly repairs in the future. The rest of the grant money would help maintain the tower and address the deterioration of Clingmans Dome’s concrete structure, flagstone terrace, and stone masonry walls.
How to Vote for Clingmans Dome
Ready to do your part to help the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Head to voteyourpark.org to cast your vote for the Clingmans Dome tower restoration project. Voting is open from now until July 5, 2016. Visitors to the website get a new set of votes each day, so you can keep voting throughout the competition!
In an interview with Local 8 News, GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash made this appeal to fans of the Smokies:
“Please vote daily to help us win the challenge that will enable us to preserve one of the most unique experiences in the park. With these funds, we can help ensure that people have the opportunity to walk to the top of the Great Smokies and take in the view from this historic tower.”
To learn more about everything to see and do in the Smokies, check out our Great Smoky Mountains National Park page.