Mission and History 2017-01-27T15:59:52+00:00

History

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont provides in-depth experiences through education programs that celebrate ecological and cultural diversity, foster stewardship, and nurture appreciation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  “Connecting people and nature” summarizes our mission, which we accomplish by providing hands-on learning experiences.

Tremont Timeline

Pre- Tremont

  • 1859 Will and Nancy Walker settle in the valley
  • 1919 Will Walker dies
  • 1924 Railroad tracks laid by Little River Lumber Company, Logging begins
  • 1925-1959 Girls Scout Camp Margaret Townsend in operation
  • 1926 Tremont logging town officially established (at confluence of Lynn Camp and Thunderhead prongs)
  • 1934 Great Smoky Mountains National Park established
  • 1938 Last load of logs removed from GSMNP are taken out of Walker Valley
  • 1940 Park dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • 1964-1969 Job Corp facility constructed and in operation
  • 1968 NEED (National Environmental Education Development) program establishes Environmental Study Areas in the Smokies through partnership with NPS, Maryville College and local schools

Tremont forward

  • 1969-1979 Maryville College operates the Tremont Environmental Education Center in cooperation with the National Park Service. Lloyd Foster, first Director.
  • 1970 Retired school supervisor, Elsie Burrell begins volunteering to assist school groups at Tremont
  • 1971 Youth Conservation Corps begins at Tremont in the summers
  • 1974 Dr. Randolph Shields, Chair of Maryville College Biology department, assumes Tremont Director position.
  • 1977 Tom DeVaney hired as Director.
  • 1978-1980 Old dormitories are removed, entrance bridge repaired.
  • 1980 Tremont re-opened by the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association after vocational building is converted to a dormitory & classrooms added to upstairs of gym
  • 1982 Center and roads closed to rebuild Tremont entry road bridges
  • 1984 Re-opened after bridge repairs, and conversion of gym to dining hall, old dining hall removed. Ken Voorhis hired as Director
  • 1986 Name change to Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT)
  • 1993 Blizzard brought two feet of snow and subzero temps.
  • 1994 Flood closed portions of Tremont road for nearly 2 years to all but Tremont groups.
  • 2001 GSMIT separates from GSMNHA established as an independent non-profit organization.
  • 2003 Conceptual site master plan completed
  • 2005-2009 Environmental Assessment (E.A.) for improved site and facilities
  • 2009 Tremont’s 40th & GSMNP’s 75th anniversaries
  • 2014 Jennifer Jones hired as President and CEO, Tremont’s 45th Anniversary