A wondrous diversity, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, accomplishing this by utilizing alternative energy sources and improving building structures, protecting the bio-integrity of the Park, increasing climate change education and providing outreach through interpretive programming, projects and exhibits.
To fully experience the grandeur of our region, venture into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At 500,000 acres, it's the largest piece of wilderness east of the Mississippi. Eight hundred miles of trails are packed with over 1,400 species of flowering plants, including 150 tree species, over 50 species of ferns, 71 mammals, 35 amphibians and at least 235 birds. Be on the lookout for black bears. Many of them can be seen throughout the park daily!
Interested in having a low impact on the Park?
Low Impact Vacation
This attractive Smoky Mountain Visitors Bureau site will give you information about outdoor recreation activities, nature appreciation and other ideas for the conservation-minded traveler in Townsend, Tennessee. Townsend is "The Peaceful Side of the Smokies."
At Your Lodging
- Turn off lights.
- Keep the temperature moderate.
- Request clean linens only as needed.
- Conserve water.
Around the Townsend Area and East Tennessee
- Take the Cades Cove Heritage Tour shuttle.
- Use our walking path/bicycle trail.
- Enjoy local attractions, markets, craft exhibits, farmers markets, events, businesses.
- Dispose of litter properly.
- Recycle. Bins are available at most locations.
- Come by the Townsend Visitors Center for more info.
In the National Park
- Respect wildlife. Observe from a distance.
- Stay on established trails (no pets).
- Appreciate the natural diversity of the Smokies and learn more about the flora and fauna at Ranger-led programs.
- Be careful with fire.
- Learn "Leave No Trace" techniques for camping.
- Dispose of litter properly and recycle.
In Your Activities and Travels
- Choose low-impact fun such as hiking, birding, bicycling, water sports, fishing, horseback riding, shopping for authentic local goods and visits to nature centers and museums.
- Carpool with friends.
- Set an example. Teach young people (or, kids, teach your parents!) about conservation and enjoyment of natural resources.
- Eat healthy and locally grown food. Visit farmers markets.
- Get involved with nature awareness, conservation organizations and environmental education.
Other Information Sources
- Learn how scientists are surveying all living things in the Smokies with the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, coordinated by Discover Life in America.
- Find out about how landowners in East Tennessee are voluntarily protecting their forests, streams, farms and wildlife habitat for future enjoyment: Foothills Land Conservancy.
- Find out more: Green Hotels.
- How did you spend your green vacation?
- Plan your visit to Great Smoky Mountains N.P. and Leave No Trace.
- Find out more: Great Smoky Mountains Institute, Planet Green and National Geographic.
- Listings of Farmers Markets for fresh locally grown produce, honey, eggs and meats.
- Pay a visit to a local organic farm: Liles Acres Organic Farm, 865-981-2871, in Maryville, TN.
- Other links related to sustainable tourism: National Geographic Society sustainable travel.
- Tennessee Department of Tourism: Sustainable Tourism Summit.