Ya know, I rant a lot about the shape of things in the Smokies. Yeah, the air's bad in summer, the roads are crowded, the trees are dying, and Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge detracts from the whole experience. FINE. But I do take offense to some recently published slaps from the National Geographic.
See the article here.
I really think it is unfair to rank the Smokies with wilderness areas in the wilds of Canada, Alaska, and the west. The Smokies (and the other "Rock Bottom" and "Getting Ugly" areas)should be considered for what they are and how they are used, not penalized because they just happen to be surrounded by millions of people. The Smokies allow 9,000,000, people a year to visit the woods and streams that enrich their lives. Only 3,000 people a year visit the #1 rated Gwaii Haans National Park in British Columbia. More than that visit the Smokies on any given day! Of those 3,000 lucky souls, how many of them aren't already heavily indoctrinated into the value of wilderness already? Moreover, the Smokies were set up with no fees so the rank-and-file of this land could have equal access to our wild lands. Believe me, a trip to the wilds of British Columbia requires either lots of money or lots of time...working people have little of either!
Posted by Ole Slew Foot at July 20, 2005 11:45 PM
The Smokies are invaluable for their place on our planet. For many they are the only wilderness that they will ever see. Their charms helped this suburbanite kid learn the ways of the wild, as I'm sure they have done for countless others. So give us a break National Geographic! While your points are valid..your cheap shots are just cheap!