Since its creation in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has become the most heavily visited of all our national parks, with yearly visitation sometimes surpassing 10 million people. As the national park system celebrated its centennial in 2016, Ben Anderson decided to explore and closely observe, across the seasons, as much of the nation’s most popular national park as practicable during the year. On the three or four hikes he took each month, he revisited a number of trails familiar to him from previous excursions as a Smokies backcountry volunteer for more than 20 years.
To many, the Smokies are among the loveliest and most interesting mountains anywhere, favored by a remarkable biodiversity. Anderson offers observations on natural and human history, mountain culture, geography, geology, flora and fauna. The book also deftly blends the personal with the universal in a compelling mix of entries from the backcountry. Although this book can be used as a helpful trail guide, it also provides a fresh look and an engaging narrative about our most heavily visited national park through the eyes and ears of a lifelong devotee.
Ben Anderson was media relations director at Warren Wilson College from 1997 to 2015. Before that he was assistant professor of mass communications at Florida Southern College. He worked on the staffs of The Asheville Times, the Waynesville Mountaineer, Greensboro News & Record, Athens Banner-Herald, Atlanta Journal, and Athens Daily News. He has been a backcountry volunteer for Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than 20 years. He now does marketing and public relations work for the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation in Asheville. A native of Atlanta, he lives in Asheville, NC.
“For those who want a more strenuous experience, this book will probably spark the desire to lace up the hiking boots and head deep into the backcountry. At the very least, the book should provide a deeper appreciation for the exceptional beauty and biodiversity in this distinctive national treasure.” —WNC Woman