Smokies celebrating Junior Ranger Day

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is celebrating National Junior Ranger Day on Saturday.

The park will have special activities for youth beginning at 10 a.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cades Cove Visitor Center and Oconaluftee (oh-kon-oh-LUHF’-tee) Visitor Center.

The free activities include ranger-guided walks, historic toy making, a talk with a wild-land firefighter, dinner bell making at a blacksmith shop and touch tables with animal skins, skulls and scat.

There will also be an opportunity for middle and high school students at Sugarlands Visitor Center to participate in a salamander monitoring project.

Students will help park rangers search for salamanders to weigh, measure, and identify.

Children can earn a Junior Ranger patch by completing three activities.