Students at Maryville Intermediate School got to experience what life was like in and near Townsend before the days of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The students were visiting the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont earlier this school year. One day they walked through the woods where they met different “mountain folks,” portrayed by Tremont staff dressed in period clothing. The students interacted with the people they met, asking questions about the formation of the park and life in the mountains.
The students were asked to question the characters about what they thought of the government transforming all the land into a National Park. Some of the characters questioned the students harshly while other simply wanted to know what the students wanted and why they were walking through the woods. The students learned not just about the environment but also about the culture of the people who lived in the mountains before the National Park.
The students were participating in one of Tremont’s school programs.