Great Smoky Mountains Association's 2023 Achievements in Enhancing Visitor Centers

By Katie Cavanaugh-Smith posted 12-18-2023 02:17 PM


In the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) has been making waves with a series of remarkable accomplishments in the eleven stores they operate within and around GSMANP. As we reflect on the year gone by, it's clear that GSMA's dedication to enhancing the visitor experience has yielded some truly exciting results.

Sugarlands Breaks Records

One of the standout achievements for GSMA in 2023 was the unprecedented eight-month streak at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This incredible milestone saw over 100,000 monthly visitors consistently flocking to the center, underscoring the impact of GSMA's efforts in creating a space that resonates with park enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. The Sugarlands Visitor Center, long known as a gateway to the wonders of GSMNP, has become a vibrant hub of activity and information under GSMA's stewardship.

Helping Rangers Interact in the Park

In a strategic move to optimize visitor interactions, GSMA took a bold step by primarily staffing the information desks at both the Sugarlands and Oconaluftee Visitor Centers throughout the year. This decision not only showcased GSMA's commitment to providing valuable information but also allowed National Park Service (NPS) rangers the flexibility to engage with visitors directly. By relieving NPS rangers from desk duties, GSMA played a crucial role in enabling them to venture out among visitors, sharing their expertise and passion for the park.

New Townsend Visitor Center Location

The Great Smoky Mountains Association has recently shared the exciting news of opening a newly relocated visitor center in Townsend!

The GSMA team expresses gratitude for over 30 years of collaboration with their friends at Blount Partnership, sharing the Townsend Visitor Center location. The move represents not just a physical change of address but also a new chapter in the GSMA's commitment to supporting and enhancing the visitor experience within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

As the GSMA embraces this exciting transition, they eagerly anticipate welcoming visitors to their new space. The Great Smokies Welcome Center promises to be a hub of information, education, and exploration, reflecting the organization's dedication to fostering a deeper connection between people and the unique landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains.