Friday, September 19, 2008

The Joy of Hiking

The sovereign quality of wilderness is the same wherever encountered... Each manifestation has an unshackled quality—each stirs untapped longings—each gives a fillip to living—each has an unsurpassed lilt which bursts from the deepest wellsprings of life. These are the realities found in the wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountains.
—Harvey Broome
Out Under the Sky of the Great Smokies

As he tramped around the backcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains, Harvey Broome kept a journal of his discoveries and impressions. He published much of it as a source of inspiration for those who visit the Park for many of the same reasons. The Great Smokies are indeed magnificent—the Park and surrounding areas comprise the most biologically diverse region in North America. The mountains provide abundant challenges and adventure to the backcountry traveler, and nurtures the soul as well.

The Great Smokey Mountains are a popular destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, many of whom are seeking a "wilderness experience." The visual impacts from so many people are often dramatic, but perhaps more importantly, we are jeopardizing the quality of water, soils and wildlife habitat, as well as our opportunities for solitude and open access to wildlands.

Using "Leave No Trace" principles will insure generations of hikers the same enjoyment we expect to find today as we hike the winding trails of our precious backcountry.
Two of the most important principles would be: "Pack It In, Pack It Out" and " Build Fires Rarely and Carefully."

Travel lightly and Keep Smilin’

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