Inn owner donates 104 acres to Smokies

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - The 86-year-old owner of the historic Gatlinburg Inn is donating 104 wooded acres to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the largest private gift to the park in a decade.

The Mountain Press reported Thursday that Wilma Maples always considered the property near Cove Mountain between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg as a special getaway for her and her late husband R.L. "Rellie" Maples.

She says she doesn't want it sold off to developers after she's gone.

As she puts it, "We're here a little while. We should nourish the land. Money is not everything."

Smokies officials say the property could figure into a final path for the Foothills Parkway project.

Information from: The Mountain Press, http://www.themountainpress.com

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