GATLINBURG, Tenn.—Great Smoky Mountains National Park, City of Gatlinburg-Parks and Recreation, Great Smoky Mountains Association, and Sevier County School System are launching bilingual Storybook Trails across public parks on Friday, May 19, 2023. A Storybook Trail is a fun, educational outdoor activity that takes the pages from a children’s book and places them on signs along trails.
“We are excited to bring the Storybook Trails back to the Smokies and connect with our local Gatlinburg community,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We hope that this initiative will continue to promote literacy and the desire to explore the outdoors.”
The Storybook Trails will be available in English and Spanish along Fighting Creek Nature Trail at Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and along trails at Mills Park and Mynatt Park in the City of Gatlinburg. The trails will feature three stories, all from books published by Great Smoky Mountains Association: We’re Going to the Mountains (Vamos a las Montañas) by Steve Kemp, The Great Smoky Mountains Salamander Ball (El Baile de las Salamandras en las Montañas Smokies) and The Troublesome Cub (El Osezno Problematico) by Lisa Horstman. Each month, the stories will rotate among the three parks.
“The Recreation Department is excited to help launch the Storybook Trails in Mynatt Park and Mills Park,” Gatlinburg Recreation Director Laurence Evans said. “These trails will give children an opportunity to do something fun outdoors, while being educational at the same time, in our City parks throughout the summer.”
To kick off this year’s Storybook Trails of the Smokies, the public is invited to a community celebration event at Mills Park in Gatlinburg, TN at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2023. Attendees can read the stories along the trail, become a Junior Ranger, and enjoy fun children’s activities and light refreshments. Buses will transport anyone who is interested from Mills Park to the Fighting Creek Nature Trail at 5:15 p.m. Buses return to Mills Park at 7 p.m.
The bilingual Storybook Trails aim to serve the diverse communities surrounding the parks, create an interactive outdoor experience for families and visitors, and encourage stewardship across public lands. The first Storybook Trail of the Smokies traveled to trails across Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2021 and 2022. The trail featured a rotation of stories in English published by Great Smoky Mountains Association and one bilingual book in English and Cherokee language. This year’s Storybook Trails will remain installed and available to the public through August 31, 2023.