The new Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will open its doors in time for this weekend. The 6,300-square-foot facility is the first structure built specifically as a full-service visitor center on the North Carolina side of the park and is also the first new visitor building constructed in the Smokies since the early 1960s. The $3 million environmentally friendly facility, which is applying for LEED Silver certification, was built entirely from private funds. Friends of the Smokies donated $550,000 which was funded mainly through sales of the specialty license plate.
Located at the Cherokee gateway to the park on U.S. 441, visitors will have the opportunity to learn the human and cultural history of the area including the Cherokee Indians and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The formal dedication of the visitor center is scheduled on Friday, April 15th at 11:00 a.m.