President Roosevelt originally dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Sept. 2, 1940. On Sept. 2, 2009, 75 years later, the park was rededicated with a commemorative ceremony at Newfound Gap that was attended by Dolly Parton, representative Heath Shuler, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar among others. During his speech, Salazar noted that the Smokies isn’t just the most popular national park in the country, it’s the most profitable, bringing in $700 million to local economies last year. Dolly Parton, who released a CD that raised $200,000 for the park, sand “My mountains, My Home” at the rededication. Interesting side note: President Roosevelt is the only president ever to officially visit the Smokies while in office.
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