On Nov. 28, 2016, a wildfire swept through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and parts of its neighboring communities: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Wears Valley. High winds and dry conditions accelerated a fire that had smoldered near the Chimney Tops Hiking Trail for several days.
Though this tragedy has taken a toll, it looks as though most of the Smoky Mountains have escaped unscathed. We are heartbroken for what has been lost, but we know that our community has the strength to rebuild.
We are glad to report that nearly all of our cabins were completely unaffected by this fire and we are open for business. Now more than ever, we are committed to creating excellent vacation experiences for our guests.
We at Cabins USA are incredibly thankful for the outpouring of support from everyone who loves this beautiful part of the country.
As our community recovers from the fire, here are the things we are thankful for.
Major Attractions Are Open For Business
Though the fire resulted in significant damage, all of the major attractions in the Smoky Mountains escaped the fire unscathed. In fact, you most likely won't find any evidence of the fire in places that you would normally visit.
To say the least, we're relieved to know that we can still enjoy these fantastic local attractions:
- Dollywood Splash Country
- Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
- Ober Gatlinburg
- The Gatlinburg Space Needle
- Old Smoky Moonshine Distillery
- Sweet Fanny Adams Theater
- The Island
- The Old Mill
- The Christmas Place
- The Titanic Museum
- Dixie Stampede
- The Smoky Mountain Opry
- The Apple Barn
- Country Tonight Theater
- The Shops At Tanger Outlets
- And More!
Downtown Gatlinburg was untouched by the fire, so classic restaurants like the Pancake Pantry and popular shopping destinations like the Village are ready to welcome back visitors. In Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, the main strip was also unaffected by fires, so there's still tons of things to do in the Smoky Mountains.
In short, everything that makes the Smokies so fun and exciting is still there for us to enjoy!
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Is Fine
In the aftermath of the fire, pictures of affected areas of the national park show something truly amazing. The beautiful forests of the Smokies are intact!
Firstly, the fire only occurred in a small fraction of the national park. Entire regions like Cades Cove, Elkmont, Tremont, and Clingmans Dome were entirely unaffected by the forest fire.
Next, pictures of affected areas in the national park show the fire mostly burned on the forest floor. The beautiful trees of the Smokies seem unfazed by this fire, and in a few months, it may be impossible to tell that there was ever a fire at all.
Though they can seem destructive, wildfires are a natural and healthy occurrence in this ecosystem. Since the fire mostly consumed leaf litter and dead trees on the forest floor, it appears that the forests of the Smokies are designed to survive and even thrive after forest fires. In fact, this process creates healthier forests by enriching the soil and creating open spaces for saplings to grow.
Lastly, historic structures in affected areas of the national park are still intact. Sources have confirmed that the historic Bud Noah Ogle Cabin near Gatlinburg survived the fire. We're also happy to say that this fire never threatened other historic communities such as Elkmont and Cades Cove.
The Incredible Support From People Like You
In the midst of this terrible event, support has poured in from people like you who love the Smoky Mountains. Donations, supplies, and volunteers from all over the country are helping families who've lost homes to the fire.
As the impacted parts of our community rebuild, we are so thankful for the kind words, concern, and prayer for the Smoky Mountains region. We are happy to say that this area will continue to be a premier vacation destination for years to come.
How You Can Help
So much has already been done to assist those who've lost their homes and jobs to the fire. Local hero Dolly Parton has hosted a telethon to raise money for those impacted by the fire. Local businesses have stepped up and our community has come together to overcome this tragedy.
We deeply appreciate all of the support that has reached our mountain community. If you'd like to continue helping our community, consider donating to the Smokies Relief Fund or by purchasing a Smokies Strong T-Shirt.
These trusted organizations are giving direct help to families who've been impacted by the fire.
One of the best ways to keep this beautiful part of the country thriving is for vacationers to continue visiting.
In the aftermath of the fire, Gatlinburg's Mayor Mike Werner reminded us "If you want to do something for Gatlinburg, come back and visit us."
This beautiful part of the country is so wonderful, thanks to all of the visitors who come to the Smokies year after year. Tourism is the main industry in the Smoky Mountains and our communities are eager to get back to the work of serving visitors from around the country.
When you come visit, you'll see that the Smokies are as beautiful as ever and that this cherished part of the country is ready to rise from the ashes like never before.
For its part, Cabins USA has hundreds of cabins that are perfect for your Smoky Mountain vacation. We never cease to be amazed by the strength of our community and the fantastic people who come to experience the Smoky Mountains year after year.
Written by Mark Frazier