This digital collection was created to contribute to the public's understanding of the forces and ideas that led to the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934. The park is world renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its landscape, and the endurance of the region's mountain culture. The most visited national park in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains: A Park for America collection focuses on early efforts to establish a park in eastern US, including the records of the Appalachian National Park Association, Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, Civilian Conservation Corps, and journals created by Horace Kephart in preparation for his classic book, Camping & Woodcraft.

The project is a collaboration among three of the region's most significant educational and cultural partners: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Western Regional Archives of North Carolina, and Western Carolina University's Hunter Library.