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President Franklin D. Roosevelt speak atthe dedication ceremony for theGreat Smoky hills National Park

September 2, 1940

RG 82, department of ConservationPhotograph Collection


Speaking native the Rockefeller Monument at Newfound Gap, chairman Franklin D. Roosevelt formally devoted the good Smoky hills National Park to the public on September 2, 1940. Interest in creating a park in the Smoky hills had started in the 1890s, and the dedication of the park to be the culmination of decades of work by individuals, organizations, and various local, state, and also federal agencies.

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The park to be officially created in may 1926 when President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill developing both it and also Shenandoah national Park. The next step in its production was the securing of funds to purchase land for the park (now totaling end 521,000 acres). During the 1920s, the state legislatures of Tennessee and also North Carolina every appropriated $2 million for the purchase of land, and second $5 million came from the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Foundation. Throughout the 1930s, around 4,000 guys from 22 Civilian preservation Corps (CCC) camps to be employed to construct roads, trails, and also various frameworks in the park.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt"s decided at the Dedication that the good Smoky hills National Park


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President Franklin D. Roosevelt, GovernorPrentice Cooper, & Eleanor Roosevelt at thededication ceremony because that theGreat Smoky mountains National Park

September 2, 1940

RG 82, room of ConservationPhotograph Collection


Secretary Ickes, branch Hoey, branch Cooper and also our neighbor, governor Maybank of south Carolina, and my friends from all the States:I have listened v attention and good interest come the thousands of arrays of plants, trees, fishes and animals that governor Cooper has just told us about, yet he fail to cite the thousands of thousands of varieties of human animals that come to this Park.

Here in the good Smokies, we have come with each other to dedicate these mountains, streams, and forests, come the service of the numerous American people. We are living under governments that space proving their devotion to nationwide parks. The Governors of phibìc Carolina and of Tennessee have significantly helped us, and also the Secretary that the interior is so active that he has today prepared for dedication a number of other national Parks-like emperors Canyon in California and the Olympic national Park in the State that Washington, the Isle Royale increase in Michigan and, end here, the great Cavern of Tennessee—and soon, ns hope, he will have one more one for united state to dedicate, the big Bend Park away down in Texas, close to the mexican line.


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Aerial watch of the Smoky hills lookingsouthwest (Mt. LeConte is in the foreground)

October 21, 1940

RG 82, department of ConservationPhotograph Collection


There are trees below that stood before our forefathers ever involved this continent; there space brooks the still operation as clear together on the job the very first pioneer cupped his hand and also drank indigenous them. In this Park, we shall conserve these trees, the pine, the red-bud, the dogwood, the azalea, the rhododendron, the trout and the thrush for the pleasure of the American people.

The old frontier, that put the difficult fibre in the American spirit and the lengthy muscles ~ above the American back, lives and will live in this untamed hills to provide to the future generations a feeling of the land from which their forefathers hewed their homes.

That hewing to be hard. The threats were many. The rifle might never be far from the axe. The pioneers was standing on their very own feet, lock shot their own game and also they battled off their very own enemies. Over time of accident or misfortune they helped each other, and also in time that Indian attack they stand by every other.

Today us no longer confront Indians and also hard and also lonely battles with nature—but this day we have actually grown soft in countless ways.


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Snow-covered Clingman"s Dome HighwayGreat Smoky mountains National Park

December 25, 1939

RG 82, department of ConservationPhotograph Collection


If we are to survive, us cannot be soft in a human being in which over there are threats that threaten Americans—dangers far an ext deadly than were those that the frontiersmen had actually to face.

The planet has to be so shrunk through the airplane and the radio the Europe is closer come America this particular day than was one side of these mountains to the various other side as soon as the pioneers toiled with the primeval forest. The arrow, the tomahawk, and also the scalping knife have been changed by the airplane, the bomb, the tank, and the maker gun. Their hazard is together close to us today as was the hazard to the frontiersmen once hostile Indians to be lurking top top the other side the the gap.

Therefore, to satisfy the threat—to ward off these dangers-the conference of the unified States and also the Chief executive of the United states are creating by regulation the obligation natural in ours citizenship to serve our pressures for defense with training in countless capacities.

It is not in every situation easy or satisfied to ask males of the country to leave their homes, and also women that the nation to offer their males to the organization of the Nation. But the men and also women of America have actually never held ago even once it has actually meant personal sacrifice ~ above their component if the sacrifice is because that the usual good.

We have concerned realize the greatest strike that has ever before been launched versus freedom the the individual is nearer the ameri than ever before. To meet that strike we have to prepare beforehand—for the simple reason that preparing later may and also probably would be also late.


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Eastern entrance to to the parkCherokee, NC

1931

Tennessee Postcard Collection


We must prepare in a thousands ways. Guys are not enough. Castle must have arms. They need to learn how to use those arms. They need to have skilled leaders—who, in turn, need to be trained. New bases should be established and I think will be developed to enable our fleet to protect our shores. Men and women have to be teach to create the gives that we need. And also we must counter the agents of the dictators in ~ our Nation.

There is, moreover, another enemy in ~ home. That adversary is the mean and petty heart that mocks in ~ ideals, sneers in ~ sacrifice and also pretends the the American civilization can live by bread alone. If the heart of God is not in us, and also if we will certainly not prepare to provide all that we have and also all that we space to keep Christian people in ours land, us shall walk to destruction.


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"Above the Clouds ~ above Myrtle Point"Great Smoky mountains National Park

ca. 1930s

Tennessee Postcard Collection


It is great and best that we must conserve these mountain heights of the old frontier because that the advantage of the American people. But in this hour we have to safeguard a higher thing: the best of the people of this nation to live as complimentary men. Our an important task of conservation is to keep the freedom that ours forefathers won in this land, and the liberties that were proclaimed in ours Declaration the Independence and also embodied in our Constitution.

In these centuries that American civilization, greatly blessed by the bounties the nature, we prospered in attaining liberty in Government and also liberty of the person. In the process, in the light of previous history, us realize currently that we committed excesses which we are today seeking to atone for.


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Appalachian trace in the Smoky Mountains

January 25, 1940

RG 82, room of ConservationPhotograph Collection


We offered up or destroyed much of our natural heritage just because that heritage to be so bountiful. Us slashed our forests, we offered our soils, we encouraged floods, we overconcentrated our wealth, us disregarded our unemployed—all that this so substantially that we were carried rather suddenly to challenge the truth that unless we offered thought to the resides of our children and grandchildren, they would certainly no longer be able to live and to boost upon our American way of life.

In these later on years we have actually tried sincerely and also honestly to look ahead to the future years. We room at last absolutely engaged in the task of conserving the bounties that nature, thinking in the regards to the totality of nature. We room trying at least to achieve employment for all that would work and also can work, and to provide a higher assurance of defense throughout the life the the family.

From difficult experience we know that the process is a lengthy one, but most of us realize the if we can proceed our effort without major setbacks, the ideals of the American means of life can and will it is in attained by functioning everlastingly because that the good of the whole and not because that the good of any kind of one privileged group.

So, from within our very own borders, liberty with democracy can, i believe, be preserved in future years if we desire to maintain it.


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Great Smoky mountains National Park

James L. Bailey Papers


But over there is a 2nd danger—a danger from without. I hope, because that example, the one century from currently the good Smoky nationwide Park will still belong in practice, and in theory, to the civilization of a cost-free nation. I hope it will not belong come them in concept alone and that in practice the property of this Park will certainly not be in the hands of some strange sort of government puppet topic to some strange kind of an abroad overlord. Ns hope the usage of it will not it is in confined to world who come hither on federal government specified days and on federal government directed tours. I hope the trees will not it is in slaughtered by the axe in order that a federal government may conduct battles of aggression against other nations. I hope the roads and paths and also trails will still be developed in the cause of the liberty the recreation, and not confined to the ulterior functions of a war machine controlled by an individual or by an oligarchy.

That over there is a risk from without is in ~ last known by many of united state Americans. The such a hazard cannot much longer be met v pitchforks and squirrel rifles or also with the cultivate or the weapons of the war of 1917 and 1918, is equally clean to most of us Americans.


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Hikers ~ above the trail to Andrew"s BaldGreat Smoky mountains National Park

June 19, 1946

RG 82, room of ConservationPhotograph Collection


It is not a adjust from the American means of life to advocate or legislate a greater and a speedier preparedness. That is a confident protection come the merican way of life. You and also I recognize that in the process of preparing against danger us shall not have to abandon and also we will not give up the great social enhancements that have come to the American human being in these later years. We need not swap the obtain of better living for the acquire of much better defense. Ns propose that us retain the one and gain the other.

But to conserve our liberties will not be easy. The job will need the united efforts of us all. The will call for sacrifices from us all.

The pioneers endured by fighting their own fight and by, standing with each other as one male in the confront of danger. If we, your descendants, are to fulfill the threats that threaten us, us too have to be prepared to struggle our very own fight and stand together as one man. In hrs of hazard the frontiersmen, whatever their an individual likes or dislikes, everything their an individual differences the opinion, gathered together in pure unity for defense. We, in this hour, should have and also will have absolute nationwide unity for total defense.


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A picnic on Andrew"s BaldGreat Smoky hills National Park

June 19, 1946

RG 82, room of ConservationPhotograph Collection


What shall we be defending? The great earth of this land. Ours homes, ours families—yes, and also far more. We shall be defending a way of life which has actually given much more freedom come the soul and body of guy than ever before has to be realized in the world before, a way of life that has let guys scale every little thing heights they could scale there is no hurting your fellows, a method of life that has let men organize up your heads and admit no master but God.

That method of life is menaced. We can fulfill the threat. We can fulfill it v the old frontier spirit. We can build our weapons, train ourselves come shoot, meet fire through fire, and also with the courage and also the unit of the frontiersmen.

It is our pride that in our country men are cost-free to differ v each other and also with your Government and to monitor their very own thoughts and also express them. We think that the only totality man is a complimentary man. We think that, in the" challenge of danger, the old heart of the frontiersmen that is in our blood will give us the courage and unity that we have to have. We need that spirit in this hour. We require a conviction, feel deep in us all, the there are no divisions among us. We space all members of the same body. We space all Americans.


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An artist painting on Andrew"s BaldGreat Smoky mountains National Park

June 19, 1946

RG 82, department of ConservationPhotograph Collection


The winds the blow v the vast sky in these mountains, the winds that move from Canada come Mexico, indigenous the Pacific come the Atlantic—have constantly blown on complimentary men. We are totally free today. If we sign up with together now—men and women and children—to face the usual menace as a unified people, we shall be totally free tomorrow.

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So, come the free people that America, i dedicate this Park.

Governor Prentice Cooper"s decided at the dedication the theGreat Smoky mountains National Park (PDF)