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Friends Across the Mountains telethon breaks annual record, raises more than $215,000 to benefit Friends of the Smokies

The annual telethon, broadcast on WBIR and WLOS, raises money for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


The 25th annual Friends Across the Mountains telethon broke records yet again Wednesday night on WBIR Channel 10, benefiting Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountains we call home.

By the end of the show, the telethon had surpassed last year's record with a total of $215,025!

Thank you to the many donors for all your generous help this year, and if you missed the telethon -- you can still donate to Friends of the Smokies at this link.

“The number of people visiting the Smokies continues to rise so the resources needed to preserve and protect the park is increasing,” said Tim Chandler, Friends of the Smokies’ CEO. “Once again, our Friends stepped up to ‘answer the call’ to help keep our park protected and pristine.”

The telethon aired live on WBIR Channel 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. 

WLOS, a station in Asheville, also aired the telethon. 

The yearly effort raises money for Friends of the Smokies, which works to help preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness. The group also provides volunteers for needed projects.

In 2018, hundreds of generous donors set the donation record that was broken Wednesday night with a total of $210,525. 

Since 1995, the telethon has raised more than $4 million for the park. 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest, free park in U.S., so donations like these can really make a big difference. 

Last year, donations helped fund Friends of the Smokies’ 25th Anniversary Signature Project: a capital campaign to upgrade the park’s emergency radio communications system.

The state-of-the-art radio upgrades will allow rangers to respond more quickly and effectively to emergency situations in the park, keep more than 11 million annual visitors safe, and communicate with emergency services in surrounding communities.

In previous years, the non-profit has raised money for a number of noticeable projects across the park. One of the biggest, Trails Forever, is a 2-year rehabilitation of one trail at a time. Alum Cave, Forney Ridge, Chimney Tops Trail and Rainbow Falls have all undergone the updates.

If you'd like to donate, click here. You can also donate by calling the Tennessee office of Friends of the Smokies at 800-845-5665 or the North Carolina office at 828-452-0720.

RELATED: Bolstered donation box designed at UT installed in Smokies

RELATED: Friends of the Smokies license plates raise more than $15 million in Tennessee and North Carolina

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