January 2, 2010
Posted: 01:39 PM ET
"The Smokies are a part of my DNA," Parton said in accepting the appointment. "I've always been an ambassador, but I'm particularly honored to become 'official' for this special 75th anniversary."
In this LKL Blog Exclusive, Dolly Parton tells us about her Smokey Mountain memories and her new role.
"My love for the Great Smoky Mountains is easy to explain. I have spent most of my life inspired by them, talking about them and writing songs about them. As long as I can remember, looking up from our little house in Locust Ridge, the mountains towered over my life.
As a child I thought they represented protection to me. As I got older, they became my connection to the wonder of God. Through my life they have represented precious memories of home.
Regardless of where I roamed around the globe, the Great Smoky Mountains travelled with me and kept me grounded. When the Park called and asked me to be their Ambassador for the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I thought it was a natural. I've been the unofficial ambassador for years, singing the praises of God's spectacular beauty all around the world. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to do something special to protect the mountains for generations to come.
I sat back and looked at my mountains from my special retreat not far from the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and put pen to paper. I started writing the music for a new show at Dollywood called "Sha-Kon-O-Hey! Land of Blue Smoke." It was being created to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the park. With me writing the music, hopefully folks everywhere will know what a wonderful treasure the Great Smoky Mountains are.
To create something even bigger I decided to donate the music to the Friends of the Smokies organization for 2009 to generate some income for their Trails Forever program. The mission of the Friends is to protect and preserve the park for the more than 10 million people who visit the park each year. If we could create an endowment to ensure the Friend's work continue, it seemed like the perfect gift back to the park and the mountains that have shaped my life."
– Dolly Parton
If you would like more information or would like to buy a copy of "Sha-Kon-O-Hey!" you can do so at http://www.friendsofthesmokies.org.
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