The Carlos C. Campbell Collection


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"Carlos C. Campbell…became the best informed man on the Great Smoky Mountains, the most understanding, couragous, and persistant friend the park project and later the park itself, ever had."

— from The Editorial We, by Edward J. Meeman, editor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel during the park movement.


For more than fifty years, Carlos C. Campbell (1892–1978) worked tirelessly for the benefit of the Smoky Mountains. He lived close to the park campaign from its beginning to its successful conclusion.

Carlos was a founding member of the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association, which was formed in 1923 to promote the establishment of a National Park in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.

In 1960, Carlos authored Birth of a National Park in the Great Smoky Mountains. The book is an historical account of the unusual movement which led to the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the incredible dedication of the citizens, young and old, of North Carolina and Tennessee, who ensured, through their efforts and sacrifices, that it would become a reality. This historical account was written and documented at the request of the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association's officers and directors. They desired that all important details of the movement, with interpretations, be recorded.

In 1962, Carlos co-authored Great Smoky Mountains Wildflowers with William F. Hutson and Aaron J. Sharp. This popular little book is now in it's fifth edition and managed by William F. Hutson's son, Robert.

Carlos wrote Memories of Old Smoky in 1968, but it was not until 1999 that it was finally published. It is a collection of stories and experiences from the early years of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and several pre-park years.

Carlos was awarded the Horace M. Albright Scenic Preservation Medal for outstanding work in the field of conservation in 1966. Later, in 1973, he became the twenty-first person to receive the highest award given to civilians by the National Park Service—that of Honorary Park Ranger.

The Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association established the Carlos C. Campbell Memorial Research Fellowship in 1978. To date this fellowship has awarded over $210,000 for research on natural resources in the park.

In further recognition of his long and diligent service, in 1981, the National Park Service dedicated in his honor (posthumously), the Carlos C. Campbell Overlook, which is approximately two miles south of the Sugarlands Visitors Center.

Over the many years of hiking and other visits to the Smokies, Carlos became an avid photographer. He made thousands of Great Smokies pictures, and a great many of them were published in newspapers and magazines, including Nature Magazine, American Rifleman, and the prestigious National Geographic Magazine. The extensive collection of photos is in the process of being carefully digitized for preservation and safekeeping. Many images will be posted on this site so that all may enjoy viewing them.



"It is [my] hope...that the people of North Carolina and Tennessee, and visitors from other states and nations, will know and appreciate the fact that this park was purchased at a very high price in money and devoted effort, and that they will strive to protect and preserve its natural beauty for the full enjoyment and inspiration of future generations." — C.C.C.

Above photo snapped for Carlos C. Campbell by Frances Metcalf.