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Cades Cove is, by far, one of the most popular places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rich in history and wildlife, the area is great for families who want to spend a day exploring the mountains. Many groups who visit the area spend time taking photos and wandering around all of the historic buildings before having a picnic lunch and watching the wildlife. To keep Cades Cove history alive, it’s important for the national park crews to constantly work on improving and restoring the area. Here’s what they’ve been doing to make it better for visitors:
Before the area was a national park, Cades Cove was a small community of families who relied on a farming lifestyle, planting crops and raising livestock. During that time, the livestock would take care of grazing the land, creating plenty of open field space for other species in Cades Cove.
After the national park took possession of the land, the park officials have made it a priority to showcase historic preservation and wildlife.
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When you visit Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer, you will notice that the national park has been working to keep the area in perfect condition for visitors. Over time, they are trying to restore areas of the cove to their natural meadows.
1. They mow areas near the loop road, so visitors can have a clear view of wildlife.
2. The national park crews plant native species and encourage the growth of those species instead of the growth of trees and other plants that are not necessarily native to the Smoky Mountains.
During this restoration process, we are hoping some animals will return to their habitats within the national park. There have been some animals, especially birds, who have left the national park to find a habitat elsewhere due to the lack of natural habitat in the park.
Extra Information about Cades Cove
1.The Cades Cove Visitor Center is open daily, this summer, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (For more information about visitor centers in the national park, follow this link: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm)
2. If you are traveling from Gatlinburg, TN to Cades Cove, expect over an hour of travel time. Cades Cove is approximately 35 miles from the beginning of Gatlinburg, but summertime traffic may cause a bit of a delay.
3. If you’re traveling from the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove is a little over 2 hours from Cherokee (approximately 60 miles).
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