Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority to Friends of the Smokies, the Elk Bugle Corps is a more visible presence in Cataloochee Valley this year with its new Bike Patrol.
The TDA grant funds the new Elk Bike Patrol, providing safety uniform shirts, bike shorts and pants, bike safety mirrors and repair kits, and radio gear. These bicycle volunteers, like Stefanie McIntosh of Asheville, help control traffic, nimbly dealing with “elk jams,” answering visitor questions, and being a highly visible presence in the valley. McIntosh comments, “Being on a bike allows us to respond quickly during high traffic times and during visitor emergencies. Kudos to GSMNP South District Ranger Joe Pond for this idea.”
The TDA grant also supplies more uniforms for the Elk Bugle Corps roving the valley on foot and in the volunteers’ E-Ride vehicle so that visitors know where to turn for information. TDA Executive Director Lynn Collins says, “Cataloochee Valley and the elk delight our Haywood County visitors. The Elk Bugle Corps and the new Bike Patrol make their adventure very special.”
Our mission is to mobilize financial support for Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fund important park projects such as this,” comments Holly Demuth, Director of North Carolina resource development of Friends of the Smokies. “Supporting the Elk Bugle Corps and its new Elk Bike Patrol, made possible by this TDA grant, creates a happy visitor experience and increases tourism for Haywood County.”