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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash and the Great Smoky Mountains Association are drawing on the nature around them to provoke open conversation about race and a change in racial biases.

Smokies Hikes for Healing will be held August through December, 2020 in different locations across the park in Tennessee and North Carolina.

During the eight hikes, a facilitator will lead each group in discussion around race and equip participants with tools and ideas about how to identify biases through a deeper level of self-awareness and reflection so that participants can become intentional in addressing racism and race relations.

“National Parks have long provided a place of healing, and I believe the setting of this mountain sanctuary is a powerful space to bring us together to engage in crucial conversations,” Superintendent Cassius Cash said. “This year has brought a lot of uncertainty and fear that tends to draw people to their corners. Through this opportunity, I’m inviting everyone to step out and have real conversations about the history of racism locally and globally. In learning about our past, we open the doors to our future.”

Space is limited to up to 10 participants for each hike. Groups will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and wearing facial coverings when the appropriate distance cannot be maintained. Interested individuals can find more information on how to apply for the hikes by visiting smokieshikesforhealing.org.


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