Experience Your Smokies
The goal of the Experience Your Smokies Tennessee program, established in 1999, is to engage community leaders by getting them involved with the National Park through an inside look and hands-on experience with Park issues.
The Park began its first Experience Your Smokies program in Gatlinburg, and it was suggested that Blount County develop and expand its own program to include participation from leaders in Blount County.
Park personnel and community leaders worked closely together to come up with a variety of classes including topics and relevant issues critically important to the Park.
The first EYS program reached the goals that had been outlined and the first class graduated in 2000. The program has been so successful that it expanded in 2013 and opened its application process to any resident in the state of Tennessee.
In 2001, the National Park Service presented the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the coveted Keeper of the Light Award in recognition of its work with the Blount County EYS program.
Sponsors of the Experience Your Smokies Tennessee program include:
- The National Park Service
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park Association
- Friends of the Smokies
- Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Blount County Chamber of Commerce
- Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
- The Gatlinburg Gateway Foundation and others.