Push Is On For New Carolina Welcome Center In Smokies

Plans to replace the visitor center on the North Carolina side of the Smokies will be presented next week. The Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee has needed upgrading for years.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park spokeswoman Nancy Gray says
the building was never intended to welcome visitors. It was built in 1941 as a ranger station and federal magistrate's court room.

The center is the second-busiest in the park. The Sugarlands center near Gatlinburg gets the most traffic, followed by Oconaluftee and Cades Cove center near Townsend.

The Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of Great Smoky
Mountains National Park are working to pay for a new center.

The proposal for a new center at Oconaluftee will be presented to the public July 19th.