10 National Park “No Nos”

The flurry of media attention around actress Vanessa Hudgens and her boyfriend, who face allegations for carving their names into one of Sedona’s precious (and protected) red rocks, serves as a reminder to us all that we must exercise care and respect when visiting our national and state parks.

It’s only natural to want to leave a part of yourself with these beautiful sanctuaries of nature’s untouched glory (or take part of them home), but there are strict laws and rules protecting them, and the consequences are hardly worth it.

When visiting White Oak Lodge and Resort, you’ll no doubt want to explore the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Here are some things you should know about disturbing the flora and fauna that could save you trouble in the end.

  • Approaching any wildlife within 50 yards or within any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife is prohibited.
  • Feeding wildlife is prohibited in the national park.
  • Graffitti/vandalism, the destroying, injuring, defacing, or damaging property is prohibited.
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft may not be operated within the boundaries of the national park.
  • Alcoholic beverages that have been opened are not permitted in the park except in designated picnic areas, front country and backcountry campgrounds, and shelters.
  • Picking plants or removing any object from the national park is prohibited.
  • Permits are required for all overnight stays in the front and backcountry.
  • Only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture or a state department of agriculture may be brought into the park.
  • Bicycles are not permitted on any park trail except the Gatlinburg Trail, the Oconoluftee River Trail, and that portion of the graveled road now existing from the Deep Creek Trail head to the end of the gravel on the Indian Creek Trail.
  • Metal detectors and mineral detectors are not permitted in the national park.

Permits are required for the following activities: special events/weddings, commercial photography, scattering human ashes, demonstrations including the sale or distribution of print matter.

There are plenty of ways to create meaningful memories of your White Oak Lodge and Resort vacation, like taking lots of photos or finding souvenirs in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Be kind to our national parks and report any violations if you see them to park personnel as soon as possible.

Have you visited many national parks? How do you commemorate your visit? Share your tips in the comments below.

Victoria Hoffman

A native of New Jersey, Victoria isn't entirely sure how she ended up in Kansas City, but has enjoyed writing, editing, creating, communicating and marketing for high-profile accounts throughout the city ever since. In her spare time, Victoria is an actor (and active) with local community and city theatre.