The Environment

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the ecological and biological jewel of the region. It contains the most biologically diverse ecosystem in North America with more than 1500 species of flowering plants and more species of trees than the entire continent of the U.S. The state wildflower is the Passionflower, and the state domestic flower is the Iris. The state tree is the Tulip Poplar. Our prized resources are our mountains and our bodies of water. This is a slice of Appalachia that attracts over 9 million visitors through our side of the beloved Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Climate

The East Tennessee region has a comfortable year-round climate with four distinct seasons. Situated in a valley, the region experiences minimal severe weather disturbances, which creates an ideal environment for businesses.

Native Vegetation

Generally speaking, some dependable favorite native vegetation species found in residential gardens and commercial properties include the following:

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Dogwood

Cornus florida

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Foxglove Beardtongue

Penstemon digitalis

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Golden Alexanders

Zizia aurea

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Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis lanceolata

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Purple Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea

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Red Maple

Acer rubrum

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Silver Maple

Acer saccharinum

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Redbud

Cersis canadensis

Native Animals

For wildlife lovers, the animals in our region offer an impressive array of diversity. The brook trout is the only native trout species in the Smokies. If you weighed all the salamanders in the park, they would outweight the mammals! Black bears inhabit all elevations of the park. It is one of the last places they can roam in the wild. Of course, this is just the beginning.

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Black Bear

Ursus americanus

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Whitetail Deer

Odocoileus virginianus

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Red-Tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

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Wood Frog

Rana sylvatica

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Great Blue Heron

Ardea Herodias

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Indigo Bunting

Passerina cyanea

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Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

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Turkey

Meleagris

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Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

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Brook Trout

Salvelinus fontinalis

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River Otter

Lontra Canadensis

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Hellbender

Cryptobranchus alleganiensis

Protecting the Watershed

The people of blount county believe that water is our golden goose, and we’re not about to let anyone kill it. The Smoky Mountains made this community. Support for protecting our water, air, and landscape resources is engrained in our culture. Land development is controlled to protect the watershed and water quality.  

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Little River Watershed Association

The Little River Watershed Association (LRWA) was formed on March 24, 1998 “to protect and enhance the Little River and its tributaries through mobilizing public support, building public awareness and recommending best management practices.” To accomplish this mission, LRWA performs three roles: advocacy, education and coordination of resources. The LRWA received its charter from the State of Tennessee on September 19, 1999 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

The organization hosts quarterly Adopt-a-Stream cleanups along the Little River. It also hosts quarterly Little River Watershed 101 events to educate the community about protecting this natural resource – from discussions about rock dams to an interactive stream school for kids.