The national park site used to be considered much more sacred than it is today. The history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park began with settlements of Cherokee Indians who were the original pioneers on the land for many years before any other settlers came to the Americas.

In the early 1800s, the Cherokees were forced off of the land, but then had the decision overturned by the Supreme Court. Eventually, the 13,000 Cherokee people were forced to march to Oklahoma against the ruling that the Supreme Court made, which created the now famous Trail of Tears. When this occurred, there were a handful that stayed behind and created their own reservation. In 1889, the Qualla Indian Reservation was chartered. It had about 1,000 inhabitants and spanned 56,000 acres. There are now about 10,000 residents to this area, which is on the southern boundary of the park.

Settlers that later came in the 18th and 19th centuries coveted the land, which quickly became scarce. After time, logging began in the area, which was an essential part of early life for the American pioneers. There were 15 different towns created within the current park area that were strictly developed for logging in the early 20th century. However, by the 1930s, all the accessible timber had been logged, and created a need to relocate. This left the other mountain people to return to farming or find jobs elsewhere, and the land was turned into a national park shortly thereafter.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s Gatlinburg Tennessee began to become a more popular tourist destination and thus made the popularity of the Smokies climb even higher. People from all over the world come to Gatlinburg Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains to enjoy its unsurpassed beauty. I’m sure you will enjoy spending some time in the park and the surrounding towns of Gatlinburg, Townsend and Pigeon Forge as well.

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