You may have heard the news by now, but if not, you’re about to get one doozy of an announcement for a rare event, made all the rarer that it will be occurring in late August here in the Smokies – the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse of August 21st, 2017.
While this event isn’t localized to us, in fact, the pathway of areas that will be able to see the eclipse actually cuts through the entire United States, this map eclipse2017.org will show a very surprising and narrow window of opportunity for those who get to see it, and what luck, the Western Smoky Mountains of Tennessee (which we are on) is part of that pathway! On August 21st, from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM, the sun will be completely eclipsed by the moon for the first time in 26 years. For many, this will be the first time they’ve ever seen such an event, and many others could be the last time they get the opportunity.
For that measure, our area is treating the occasion with a special sort of importance similar to the synchronized fireflies of the National Park and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park officials will be holding viewing parties in certain designated areas.
“The park is offering an opportunity to experience the total eclipse through a special, ticketed event at Clingmans Dome as well as informal eclipse viewing sites at Cades Cove and Oconaluftee. The park is partnering with NASA, Southwestern Community College, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to provide a special program with featured speakers and storytellers that help explain the science and cultural connection to this unique natural event at Clingmans Dome.
At 6,643 feet in elevation, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the park and offers the unique possibility of seeing the moon’s shadow approaching across the landscape. The area will be closed to all public vehicle traffic to better accommodate a safe, memorable experience for about 1,325 ticketed participants. The parking area will be converted into the special event site that will include a Jumbotron screen for participating in a national NASA TV broadcast, telescopes, educational exhibits, and stage for special featured speakers.”
Additionally, “With a full schedule of entertaining and educational programs, park rangers and partners are working together to provide a worthwhile experience, even if the sun is obscured by clouds on the day of the event. While a unique experience, the Clingmans Dome location does present logistical challenges that visitors must consider before making a reservation. Due to its remote outdoor location, an inflexible transportation schedule, and limited service facilities on site, interested visitors should closely review event details and consider which of the park opportunities, among many other planned eclipse events in surrounding communities, would best fit each personal situation.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased at recreation.gov. It’s a solid guess those won’t be the only good places to see it. WATE has this list as well: VIEW HERE. Many stores in the area will have solar eclipse glasses for sale, and they will be highly recommended for viewing because you don’t want to see the eclipse happen with your naked eye, trust us on that one.
These areas and many other potentially good viewing spots will be convenient from our cabins at Bear Camp Cabin Rentals. Go out, venture into the mountains to see an event that hasn’t happened since Vanilla Ice promised to solve our problems, and come back to a house full of luxury amenities that decompress you from top to bottom. It’s an experience as close to heaven as you’ll get on Earth and Bear Camp Cabins is where you want to go for it!