Author & UNC-Asheville Professor Dan Pierce Loves To Explore The History Of Great Smoky Mountains NP

Jan 31, 2018

Dan Pierce is UNC-Asheville's National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Humanities.  He's written several books on the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Pierce attributes his love of the park to first passing through it on Highway 441 when his family moved to Asheville from Arkansas in the 1950's.  His book Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Community, will be the subject of a lecture Saturday at UNC-Asheville's Reuter Center.  That's the home of OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  Hazel Creek was a boom and bust town that eventually disappeared with the creation of the park and the construction of the Fontanna Dam.  The reservoir created by the dam covers the area where Hazel Creek once stood.  The history of the town - as well as the process that created the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - can still be felt today Pierce says, especially in how the federal government is viewed by many residents in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

(Timeline of interview)

:23 - What was Hazel Creek?

1:21 - How many towns were there in the area that became the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

2:14 - What was intriguing about Hazel Creek that Pierce wanted to write about

4:22 - Why is there still lingering resentment about the process that created the park

5:20 - How does the process that created the park still linger today in how the federal government is viewed by many residents in the mountains of Western North Carolina

9:00 - What did Pierce learn about Hazel Creek as he wrote the book

17:18 - What is it about the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway (two most visited in the National Park System) that make them so attractive to visitors

24:42 - What is the lesson about how the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created that people need to learn