Rare Mountain Forest
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains region is rich in natural resources and biodiversity. A variety of different forest types cloak the slopes and valleys. Among them is the globally rare montane alluvial forest a woodland area that is subject to periodic flooding found on the ridges and terraces along streams and rivers.
Because alluvial forests occur at the bottom of steep slopes, their floodplains serve as collection points for soil rich in nutrients and organic matter and teaming with invertebrates and fungi. Before land development, agriculture and logging, they supported towering sycamores and tulip trees, often rising up from masses of rosebay rhododendron.
The montane alluvial forest in Elkmont represents one of the most ecologically diverse and imperiled plant communities in North America. Usually located in areas of great scenic beauty and rich soils, they have been subject to continuous disturbance from residential development and agriculture for many years. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these recovering floodplain forests harbor rare and declining animal and plant species, from otters to butternut trees.
Little River is on the list of Outstanding National Resource Waters in the state of Tennessee. The exceptionally clean water supports a diversity of fish and amphibians, including the eastern hellbender, a giant aquatic salamander that can measure more than 2 feet long.
A spectacular array of wildflowers can be seen in spring: Crested dwarf iris, Rue anemone, and Sharp-lobed hepatica.
Eastern hellbender salamander
Erected by National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Horticulture & Forestry • Parks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 35° 39.187′ N, 83° 34.795′ W. Marker is near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in Sevier County. Marker can be reached from Little River Road south of Jakes Creek Road B, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located at the Little River Trailhead. Access to Little River Road and
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Spence Cabin (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Daisy Town's Eclectic Architecture (about 400 feet away); Elkmont Historic District: Appalachian Club (about 500 feet away); Back to Nature (about 500 feet away); The Appalachian Club (about 600 feet away); Quite a Social Place (about 600 feet away); Appalachian Clubhouse (about 600 feet away); Wonderland Hotel (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gatlinburg.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Elkmont Historic District
Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 26, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 171 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 28, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.