As 2011 begins, Friends of the Smokies celebrate the success of its “bear” license tag and express appreciation for all the green and black tag owners across the state of North Carolina. Through the purchase of the tag throughout the year, more than $356,000 will go to support a variety of projects in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Some of the projects made possible by the plate revenues in 2010 include creating exhibits for the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, which will officially open in the spring; providing educational programs for North Carolina schoolchildren; supporting the ongoing elk project in Cataloochee, as well as black bear conservation efforts; and supporting the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob, near Maggie Valley.
“We want to thank all of the people who bought or renewed a Smokies plate this year,” said founding board director John Dickson, retired Asheville Savings Bank President and CEO.
“We have another ambitious list of significant projects that will help the park in 2011, and we hope North Carolinians will continue to help us preserve and protect the park through their support of the plate program.”
Of the extra $30 annual fee for the specialty tag, $20 goes to Friends of the Smokies to support projects and programs in the North Carolina portion of the park. Launched in 1999, the Smokies license plate has now raised more than $2.2 million.
Friends of the Smokies is a non-profit organization that supports conservation, education, historic preservation, and other priorities benefiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smokies plate is available any time from any local North Carolina license plate agency office or online at the N.C. Department of Transportation web site. More information is available online at www.friendsofthesmokies.org or by calling (828) 452-0720.