Kingsport Times News Friday, October 24, 2014

Regional & National Outdoors

Donor gives $2.2 million for Smokies park centers

April 12th, 2014 1:34 pm by Associated Press

Donor gives $2.2 million for Smokies park centers

KNOXVILLE — Great Smoky Mountains National Park has received one of its largest cash donations ever, a $2.2 million gift from an anonymous donor.

The money will be used to pay off an existing construction loan that funded the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The center near the park's Cherokee, N.C., border opened in 2011.

Money from the gift will also be used toward a new loan to help construct the 13,000-square-foot Collections Preservation Center scheduled to be finished in fall 2015.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported that the money will be directed through the Great Smoky Mountains Association, a nonprofit organization that supports the park's educational, scientific and preservation efforts.

Terry Maddox, executive director of the association, said the anonymous donor simply loves the park.

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