Park Shares Highlights of Smokies Hikes for Healing Program

Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced the release of a video highlighting the Smokies Hikes for Healing program. In response to social unrest across the country in 2020, Park Superintendent Cassius Cash initiated the program to provide a space for people to have open conversations about racism, diversity, and inclusion in a place long recognized for its incredible diversity. The park provided an ideal backdrop for rich conversations among the sixty individuals who participated in the healing hikes, along with hundreds of others who visited the Smokies Hikes for Healing website for information or to download resource guides to lead their own healing hikes.  

“As an African American man and son of a police officer, I found myself overwhelmed with the challenges we faced in 2020 and the endless news cycle that focused on racial unrest,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “My medicine for dealing with this stress was a walk in the woods, and I felt called to share that experience with others. Following a summer hike in the park, I brought together our team to create an opportunity for people to come together for sharing, understanding, and healing.” 

From August through December 2020, Superintendent Cash joined up to ten individuals on hikes across the park in Tennessee and North Carolina. The hikes were led by trained facilitators, David Lamfrom, Stephanie Kyriazis, and Marisol Jiménez, who created a brave space for open conversations about diversity and racism. The individuals started the hikes as strangers and left with a deep connection and appreciation for diverse perspectives. More than 200 applications were received for the opportunity. To help meet the demand for participation, facilitators developed resources for others to start conversations in their own communities. These resources can be downloaded at   

Longtime park partner Great Smoky Mountains Association assisted in the creative development of the program and website, along with additional financial support from Friends of the Smokies and New Belgium Brewing Company. The Smokies Hikes for Healing video was produced by Great Smoky Mountains Association and can be found directly at

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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