KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For this week’s “Smoky Mountain Minute,” a spokesperson with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to share about visiting the park.

GSMNP’s Dana Soehn spoke about the Smokies being the most-visited National Park in the nation. She added that each week their goal is to help both locals and visitors discover what makes the park such a special place year-round.

“People come to the Smokies year after year unlike some of the western national parks that might be a bucket list item where you only go once in your lifetime, many people don’t even get the opportunity to go to some of those larger national parks,” explained Soehn. “For the Smokies, it’s located within about a third to half the U.S. population, so people can get here within a days drive and they can come multiple times a year.”

Soehn also spoke about what they want visitors to know before enjoying time in the Smokies.

“Plan like a Park Ranger,” she said. “We find that a lot of our newer visitors are not prepared for a Smoky Mountain visit, they haven’t experienced visiting a park that has 1,900 bears and so how to travel in bear county.”

Soehn added that it all goes back to being prepared and doing the preplanning before entering the national park.

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park are partnering with WATE 6 On Your Side News at Midday for a new weekly segment titled “Smoky Mountain Minute.” The segment will run every Wednesday.

For ideas or topics you’d like to see covered in a Smoky Mountain Minute segment, you can email Midday Anchor Lexi Spivak at or reach out to her via social media.