Displaying items by tag: cassius cash
GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials unveiled two new waysides at Mingus Mill on May 23 as part of the larger African American Experiences in the Smokies project.
“The new signs and the African American Experiences in the Smokies project are so important to tell the untold stories of Black people in the region,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.
Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and poet Eric Mingus performed a new piece of music that speaks to and of Mingus Mill, its location, and the people who lived there, including his ancestors. A Santa Fe-based musician, Eric has recently re-connected with his family’s story that is rooted in the park through the African American Experiences in the Smokies project. Eric is descended from Daniel Mingus, a formerly enslaved carpenter, and Clarinda Mingus, the daughter of Daniel’s enslaver.
Hellbender Press previously reported on the Smokies project.
One of the new waysides tells the story of the nearby Enloe Slave Cemetery, where several African Americans are interred. The other wayside tells the story of Eric’s father, legendary jazz bassist Charles Mingus Jr., and his family.
The African American Experiences in the Smokies project is supported by the Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains Association, which help fund research of the historic presence and influence of African Americans in the southern Appalachian Mountains from the 1540s through today.
— National Park Service
Feds clear 14-mile mountain bike trail network off Foothills Parkway, but no funding is secured
GATLINBURG — Those who logged protests against a National Park Service plan to carve a 14-mile mountain bike trail network through the forest off Foothills Parkway said they still opposed the plan despite federal conclusions it would not adversely impact the natural environment of the area.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Donna Edwards, an outspoken conservationist who lives in Walland and participated in the public scoping process. “What are (the) reasons for choosing the alternative with the largest footprint and greatest environmental impact?
“I fail to understand why mountain bikers’ needs are considered to be more important than those of birders and hikers, considering the extensive mountain bike trail networks in other areas of East Tennessee.”
She said arguments against approving the Wears Valley mountain bike trails were wise and well documented.
Here is the original Hellbender Press story:
A proposed off-road bike trail in the Wears Valley section of the Foothills Parkway that would be operated by the National Park Service has overcome a procedural hurdle but appears to be no closer to actually being built due to a lack of funding.
An environmental assessment to determine the project’s potential impact on wildlife and the environment led to an official “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI), park officials said in a press release issued Thursday.
“We understand the public’s desire to have a purpose-built bike trail, and this marks a step for potential future development of a trail in Wears Valley,” said Cassius Cash, superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “Having the signed FONSI allows us the opportunity to explore potential funding paths for both the construction and the annual operational costs.”
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Smokies parking fees will generate $7 million in revenue for park infrastructure
GATLINBURG — Getting outside just got more expensive.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced Monday the park would proceed with plans for a $5/per day parking pass required of all cars staying in one spot for more than 15 minutes.
Weekly passes will be $15, and annual passes will be available for $40, according to a release from the park service. Fees will also increase $3 for backcountry and campground permits, meaning campers and backpackers will have to fork over $8 a night.
GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash hosted a dgital meeting April 14 urging the implementation of a $5 daily parking fee for Smokies visitors to raise money for park maintenance, law enforcement and visitor services.
The meeting included an overview presentation introducing the rate changes and a question and answer session.
Clemson University awarded Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash the Walter T. Cox Award for conservation excellence for his dedication to preserving the natural resources of the most visited national park in the United States.
The Clemson University Institute for Parks, in conjunction with the George B. Hartsog Awards Progran, bestows the annual honor “to recognize individuals who demonstrate exemplary leadership in the field of conservation,” according to a news release from the park service.
“The Walter T. Cox Award recognizes park administrators who exemplify Dr. Cox’s distinguished career in education and public service. Superintendent Cash was one of five individuals recognized this year alongside other national and state park leaders.”
The institute said it gave Cash the award because of his “sustained achievement, public service and leadership in conserving and managing public lands. including the most biodiverse and most visited national park in the U.S.”
In acceptance of the award, Cash acknowledged the difficulties faced by managers of wild lands and other public conservation resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Leading staff in providing high-quality services and protecting resources during the pandemic, coupled with an extreme rise in visitation, has been challenging,” Cash said in the release.
“I’ve been inspired by our staff, partners, and communities as we work together to care for the park and to continue to welcome people to this space for rejuvenation and healing. It is an honor to be recognized for this work.”
Visit Clemson Institute for Parks for more information about the award and a full list of honorees.
Video documents success of ‘Smokies Hikes for Healing’ endeavor
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash was as shaken as the rest of us this past spring and summer when a national reckoning of racism erupted across the country following the homicide of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
Also like many of us, Cash, who is Black, wondered what he could do to help heal 400-year-old wounds.
He determined we needed to take a walk in the woods and talk about things.
“As an African American man and son of a police officer, I found myself overwhelmed with the challenges we faced in 2020 and the endless news cycle that focused on racial unrest,” Cash said in a press release distributed Feb. 26.
“My medicine for dealing with this stress was a walk in the woods, and I felt called to share that experience with others. Following a summer hike in the park, I brought together our team to create an opportunity for people to come together for sharing, understanding, and healing.”
Sixty people directly participated in Cash’s Smokies Hikes for Healing program, Smokies Hikes for Healing, which ran from August to December in the national park. Hundreds of people visited an accompanying website to learn more or acquire information on how to lead their own such hikes.
Cash, who credited the park team who helped him organize the innovative project, correctly determined there was no more appropriate place to honestly discuss racism and the importance of diversity than a hike in one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet.
David Lamfrom, Stephanie Kyriazis, and Marisol Jiménez, facilitated the hikes and created a “brave space for open conversations about diversity and racism,” according to the park release, which also announced the availability of the Smokies Hikes for Healing video produced by Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Friends of the Smokies and New Belgium Brewing Company also contributed financial support to the effort.