On August 20, Friends of the Smokies hosts the 21st annual Friends Across the Mountains Telethon to benefit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The event has a long history as the only telethon for a national park, and has raised more than $3 million.
“As we celebrate the 99th year of the National Park Service and look ahead to its centennial in 2016, support from our partners at Friends of the Smokies is more important than ever,” said Cassius Cash superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains, who will be appearing during the broadcast.
This year’s broadcast will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 on WBIR-TV Channel 10 in Knoxville and WLOS-TV Channel 13 in Asheville. The 21st annual telethon is generously sponsored by Dollywood, Mast General Store, Tennessee State Bank, and Pilot Flying J, with enthusiastic volunteer support from First Tennessee Bank and Home Federal Bank.
“The telethon has a proud legacy of providing critical funds for programs like Parks As Classrooms which educates and cultivates the next generation of park stewards,” said Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart. “We are very thankful for the generous and loyal support that viewers provide each year to help the park.”
Viewers of the Telethon will see many of the park needs funded by Friends of the Smokies this year, more than $880,000 to support education, conservation, recreation, and historic preservation in 2015. Current projects include rehabilitation of the Alum Cave Trail by the Trails Forever crew, ongoing suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid and other invasive pests, supporting black bear and elk management, and funding for Parks as Classrooms environmental education programs for more than 18,000 students.
Last year’s Friends Across the Mountains Telethon raised more than $200,000.
Donations can be made online today at www.friendsofthesmokies.org, by calling Friends’ toll-free telethon hotline during the Friends Across the Mountains broadcast to make a pledge over the phone, or calling Friends of the Smokies and ask for a donation form to be mailed to them (Waynesville NC Office, 828-452-0720; Kodak TN Office, 865-932-4794 or 800-845-5665).