Great Smoky Mountains National Park 75th Anniversary Employee and Alumni Homecoming
April 30 - May 2, 2009
Superintendent Dale Ditmanson and his staff are pleased to host this landmark Homecoming during the Park’s 75th anniversary. The Homecoming is for anyone who is currently working or has ever worked for the park—National Park Service employees, partners, volunteers, concessioners, contractors, et al—and their families. This is a social opportunity for the park family to renew acquaintances, share stories, and see the changes that have occurred over the years.
A G E N D A
Registration is required for all events and activities except the Open House.
Thursday, April 30
• 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Check-in - Sugarlands Visitor Center Training Room
• 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Open House
• 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Meet the Authors Reception Gatlinburg - W. L. Mills Conference Center - Gatlinburg*
• 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Barbecue Hoedown Dinner - Gatlinburg - Twin Creeks Picnic Pavilion - Gatlinburg*
Friday, May 1
• 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Late Check-in - Sugarlands Visitor Center Training Room
• 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Field Programs
• 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. - Banquet and Silent Auction Gatlinburg - Park Vista Hotel*
Saturday, May 2
• 8:30 a.m. – Depart for Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center*
• 11:30 a.m. – Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Lunch and Programs*
• 1:00 p.m. – Optional hike to Cataloochee
• 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Dinner and Elk program in Cataloochee*
*Fees associated with activities to cover refreshments and meals. See registration form for costs.
The celebration starts out with an Open House on THURSDAY at certain locations in the park where you can visit, enjoy refreshments, and talk with your counterparts. Later that afternoon, several noted authors will be guests of honor at a Meet the Authors reception-- (many of them will also be leading field hikes on Friday.) You may purchase their works in advance from the Great Smoky Mountains Association website, www.SmokiesInformation.org, or you can purchase copies at the reception to have autographed. The authors are listed on this website with their bios.
We planned FRIDAY activities to offer a wide range of events that will be both enjoyable and informative about many aspects of the park. Register early for these activities, as some will be limited. If you plan to stay in the park all day, you will need to arrange for food and drink -- and there are a few offerings that will require appropriate outdoor clothing. Friday evening’s banquet will be grand, and includes a silent auction. We welcome a donated item from your area/park for the auction which will benefit the Great Smoky Mountains and National Park Service Employee and Alumni Associations. You can bring the item to the registration table. In addition, we hope you will contribute digital photographs of your time in the Smokies for use in a presentation at the banquet.
SATURDAY will be an all day event starting at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center in North Carolina, located on a scenic mountaintop site (elev. ~5,000 ft. and can be cool this time of year). It is about a 1-1/2 hour drive from Gatlinburg, and well worth it! We will be coordinating carpool transportation needs for this event at check-in. We are also offering a 5-1/2 mile hike from the Center to Cataloochee Valley where we will participate in an elk program. You must let us know on the registration form if you plan to hike so we can coordinate transportation arrangements.
We look forward to seeing everyone! Please contact us if you have any questions.