[Marxism] Blog Post: Cades Cove: History Is So Much Fun!

michael yates mikedjyates at msn.com
Sun Apr 21 06:19:35 MDT 2013

Full at http://cheapmotelsandahotplate.org/2013/04/21/cades-cove-history-is-so-much-fun/

While visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we spent a day at Cades Cove. Twenty-seven miles west of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and once a thriving farming community, it is now the park’s major tourist attraction, receiving more than two million visitors each year. We enjoyed the trip between the town and the Cove, on a narrow road, winding our way along wide mountain streams, often between steep, tree-covered hills. As we got closer to our destination, our excitement grew as we anticipated several hours exploring the remnants of the old village and taking a hike to Abrams Falls.

When we arrived at Cades Cove, we found ourselves on a one-way, eleven-mile loop road. We came upon some gorgeous open fields surrounded by mountains, and we stopped to photograph a small herd of deer. We wondered why these fields were here, fenced in and some burned, seemingly prepared for plowing. The scene looked too pristine, almost staged. Later we learned that, although no one still lives in the Cove, a few families pay a fee to the park for the privilege of doing some farming.

Something struck us as peculiar about this landscape. The usual policy of the National Park Service in the Smokies has been to let formerly farmed areas revert to nature, and we saw many examples in other parts of the park. Why wasn’t this the case in Cades Cove? We returned to our car and continued on the road, noticing signs along the way, directing motorists toward one or another old but restored structure: a cabin, a church, a cemetery, a grain mill. Apparently, nothing had been left in its original state.

We began to feel disappointed and angry. Cleared fields, “farmers” paying to till the soil, restored buildings? This was looking like a movie set. Traffic was picking up, and we envisioned a long, slow drive, our irritation rising as we passed more and more tourist venues. Fortunately, we came to the unpaved road that led to the Abrams Falls trailhead. We put on our backpacks and began to hike. Soon we were in our element. The trail overlooks a stream surpassing in its beauty, meandering its way to the falls. Along with other hikers, we enjoyed the wildflowers, singing birds, and the wonderful waterfall, which pours into a large and inviting pool. We talked to some hikers and for a couple of hours forgot about the loop road 		 	   		  

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