GSM Outfitters would like to take this opportunity to talk about the fires, the National Park and how it impacted Eastern Tennessee.
On November 28th 2016 various fires spread, new fires started and intensified as a result of high wind and long term drought. Some of the fires were caused by winds which forced transformers and power lines down and thus ignited and spread. Some of the fires were caused by what GSM Outfitters believes was malicious stupidity and anger. It is our opinion that if you are starting fires in the National Park after a 5 or 6 month drought you are both angry and stupid. There is no other logical explanation for such acts. The courts are still (very slowly) working through all of this. With that being said, what we (GSM Outfitters), would like to focus on is what can we learn from this and what is the actual impact?
As far as the impact of these events, people tend to be extremely concerned over loss of life and property. We also feel terrible about this. There are various charities we have worked with and participated in as well as getting some of our suppliers involved to help, just like most folks in the area have done. This region should definitely feel good about itself the way it takes care of its people after this kind of disaster.
The damage in the National Park and how it changes will be both up to people and nature. Some places are changed forever and will never look the way they looked before. That does not mean those places are not beautiful, spectacular and breathtaking. It just means they are different than they were. Nature will quickly step in and transform these areas into something new. Any pictures or videos of these places from before the fire should be preserved as they can never be had again. Over the next few years new pictures and experiences will be fascinating to compare. For the people that have enjoyed The Great Smoky Mountains we think this National Park is like our children, you can’t not love them!
The media, GSM Outfitters believes has made it sound like Eastern Tennessee is devastated and half gone. This could not be further from the truth. Some friends of ours during a conversation brought up this analogy regarding this point which I thought was very clever. Put a penny on your dining room table and nothing else. The table represents Sevier County and the National Park. Now look at the penny and that represents the damage that occurred. I would like to take this analogy even further. Put the penny in the biggest room in your house. The entire room is Tennessee and the penny is the damage that occurred. Now imagine the penny on your roof. Your roof is Tennessee and North Carolina. The penny is still the damage. The point being there is no reason relative to the fire that should stop you from coming here, appreciating this National Park, the people from this area and all that is offered (which is a lot!).
There are a small fraction of the trails closed from the fire! There are a small fraction of trails in which you can see fire damage. For every trail that has fire damage there must be hundreds where you cannot even find evidence of the fire. I think it is critical we keep this whole thing in perspective. It has never been more important for people to support the things they think are important, special and cherished.
GSM Outfitters would like to thank everyone that has worked and invested time effort and money to this disaster.