National Park Service Deputy Director Mickey Fearn presented Terry Maddox, Executive Director of the Great Smoky Mountains Association, with the 2010 James V. Murfin Award for Partnership Excellence at the annual Association of Partners for Public Lands (APPL) convention held this February in San Diego, California. The award recognizes an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the partnership between the National Park Service and Cooperating Associations.
Maddox has served as Executive Director of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s cooperating association since February 1990. “With 20 years of cooperating association experience under his belt, the Park’s long-time partner has made substantial contributions to the management and growth of the Association and is a respected advocate for the Park in advancing our interpretation, education, and visitor experience goals,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson.”
The Association, generating revenue from management of bookstores in and outside of the Park and on-line services and memberships, provides cash donations to support much needed, but unfunded, Park educational and scientific programs such as Parks as Classrooms, elk restoration, and hemlock woolly adelgid control.
Maddox was recognized as a leader in the development of interpretive products and programs. The nonprofit organization has grown from a small retailer of educational books produced by other publishers to a major producer of books and merchandise that support the natural and cultural themes of the Southern Appalachians. The creation of an in-house publications/graphic design program has significantly increased annual revenues used to support major Park projects and programs. In the last 18 years, the annual aid-to-the-Park has grown from over $350,000 in 1990 to almost $2 million in 2009, totaling about $22 million of support to the Park. The aid also goes towards in-kind services such as paying the salaries of the Park’s librarian and the interpretive millers at the two historic grist mills.
Another highlight of his leadership is in developing community partners and maximizing and expanding on visitor information opportunities. Several welcome centers in surrounding communities host an Association bookstore, furthering the Park’s outreach. In connection with the Park’s 75th Anniversary, Maddox established a relationship with Dollywood Theme Park. As a result, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be represented at Dollywood in 2010 through an Association-operated sales/information center housed at the theme park, a great opportunity to reach out to an additional 2 million people about the Park.
A milestone project, funded by the Association, is the construction of a new Visitor Center at Oconaluftee in the North Carolina area of the Park. This $2.5 million partnership construction project will break ground in 2010 with completion expected in spring 2011. The Association is also working cooperatively with the Friends of the Smokies who has pledged donations for the museum exhibits.
In addition, in an era of digital media, Maddox was noted for the Association’s advances in website technology and the social networking applications available for Facebook, YouTube, iTunes and Twitter. The website experienced over 3 million page views in 2009. “The website is a masterpiece of information on the national park featuring excellent video and audio podcast content and a one-stop shopping outlet,” said Cathleen Cook, Chief of Resource Education. It also includes hiking forums and ecards and photo galleries, books and guides, and maps and trip planning.
“It was only appropriate that Terry’s clever and effective business acumen be recognized by this prestigious award and was exampled in the memory of James V. Murfin who in the 1970’s initiated the untapped potential of association publishing projects to reach major audiences and educate people about public lands,” said Ditmanson.
Additionally, the Association was presented with three First Place Awards and two Honorable Mentions at the APPL convention for products and services developed in 2009.