To the editor:
Having just returned from a vacation which included a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I want to express my deep appreciation to the government agencies, local and regional planning boards, and devoted individuals who have worked to keep the Adirondack Park a place that reveres and respects nature.
The Smoky Mountains are an incredibly beautiful treasure that the National Park Service has managed, mostly as a wilderness area, with a mission of preserving both the cultural and natural heritage for the future. Although the park is incredibly beautiful, the approach to the park is disconcerting.
We had booked a room in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Our plan was to hike the trails and commune with nature after a busy 2,000-mile journey of sightseeing in bustling cities. How shocking it was to approach our destination. From Sevierville to Pigeon Forge and then on to Gatlinburg, Tenn., a continuous assault of "entertainment" venues prevail with the goal of enticing every last dollar from tourists. There were attractions such as Dollywood, Ripley's Believe it or Not, indoor skydiving, funhouses, hillbilly dinner shows, Hatfield-McCoy feuds, a Space Needle, wax museums, fright houses and bungee jumping, to name just a few. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that the 13 miles between Sevierville and Gatlinburg, which borders the national park, were an almost endless stream of congestion as cars and people vied for space on the streets and sidewalks. Lake Placid on the Fourth of July could be considered restful compared with the din encountered upon our approach to the park.
So once again, I wish to reiterate my gratitude to all of the people, commissions, boards and agencies who have been, and continue to be, vigilant and committed to maintaining the integrity and charm of the Adirondack Park and its perimeter. You've done a wonderful job! Keep it up!
Brenda K. Jock