Celebrate Father’s Day weekend from the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a special open house event at Clingmans Dome.

As part of a grant competition from the National Trust for Historic Places, Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) are competing against 19 other parks for a share of $2 million provided by American Express. The $250,000 requested by GSMNP will be used to fund restoration and preservation of Clingmans Dome Tower and ensure that
visitors continue to experience this unique structure spiraling up from the highest point in the park.

At this weekend’s open house event, visitors are invited to tour the tower and see historic photographs and proposed renovations along the tower trail. Park staff and volunteers will be on hand to tell the story of Clingmans Dome Tower and answer questions at the parking area and at the tower.

The open house event will be held at Clingmans Dome on both Saturday, June 18th and Sunday, June 19th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The structure is a precedent-setting design of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program, which transformed park planning, management, and architecture and fundamentally altered the visitor experience in national parks. Since 1959, millions of visitors have climbed the tower, where they can see distances of up to 100 miles over the surrounding mountains and valleys.

The tower remains structurally strong, but rehabilitation is needed to correct up to four inches of foundation settlement which is causing an uneven force on the structure. By correcting this now, the work can halt further settlement and prevent the need for more extensive structural repair in the future. Preservation maintenance is also needed to address general deterioration conditions along the stone masonry walls, concrete structure, and flagstone terrace.

Voting for the grant competition is open daily through July 5th at voteyourpark.org. Voters can also enter a National Geographic sweepstakes to win a trip for two to Yellowstone National Park.