Gateway to the Smokies

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Facebook Live Video from 2021/04/20 - Ecotourism & Safe Passage for Large Wildlife in the Smokies

Facebook Live Video from 2021/04/20 - Ecotourism & Safe Passage for Large Wildlife in the Smokies


2021/04/20 - Ecotourism & Safe Passage for Large Wildlife in the Smokies

[NEW EPISODE] Ecotourism & Safe Passage for Large Wildlife in the Smokies

This week, our special guest is Frances Figart. She directs the Creative Services department at Great Smoky Mountains Association and edits Smokies Life magazine, the premier benefit for GSMA members. She is the editor of the 2019 GSMA title, Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography, which won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award that same year. 

Her background includes editing the monthly magazine for the National Tour Association, editing popular arts and culture monthly The Laurel of Asheville, and providing marketing and communications for a kayak ecotour operator in Canada and Costa Rica.

Tune in for this fun conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.

Show Notes

Segment 1

Joseph discusses a personal anecdote about the experience he went through after the passing of his wife. He transitions into the topic of today’s episode, journeys in life. Joseph introduces today’s guest, Frances Figart, and discusses some of her career. Frances discusses her experiences that led her to Asheville and her journey into the ecotourism industry. Moving to Asheville, Frances knew almost no one, but quickly found her way in the mountains. Frances discusses getting involved with journalism in the Smokies, and how she became interested in the park.

Segment 2

Coming back from the break, Frances describes what ecotourism actually is and how she got involved with it. Frances talks about the GSMA and what her position in it is. The GSMA is an educational park partner, with the revenue from their books, magazines, and other products helping to support the park.

Segment 3

Frances has written two books, one called Seasons of Letting go, which encapsulates the experience of her mother’s passing. Frances discusses how this book came about when she was home taking care of her mother. She hadn’t planned to write a book, but she wrote a blog during and in the year after her mother’s passing, which eventually was put together to become the book. She discusses what the book means to her, how it helped her reinvent herself yet still honor and remember her mother. Joseph shares the similarities he has found in his experiences to what Frances has talked about. Frances found that in letting go of her mother, she found herself and aligned with her destiny. Her second book, which was recently released, is very difficult from her first, being a children’s book about the Smokies. Frances talks about a project she has been working on helping to bring down the animal deaths in crossing roads in the mountains. This inspired the children’s book as they will soon be inheriting the park and will be the ones taking care of it. Not only is the book fun for children, but it is educating, helping to make complex topics about these animals simple for children.

Segment 4

Coming back from the break, Joseph asks Frances about the impact Covid has had on the park. Early on in the pandemic, the park, visitor centers, and warehouses for online orders all needed to close. A challenge the GSMA faced was keeping park goers involved virtually. Frances combatted this issue by starting a blog called Smokies Live, sharing stories that acts almost as a more up to date version of the magazine. In addition to the blog, the GSMA hosts zoom meetings and uses slack in order to keep connected. As much as she loves her job, Frances says that she would be doing many of the obligations of her job in her daily life regardless, making it even more enjoyable for her. She discusses future plans for the sequel to her children’s book.


00:00:36.150 --> 00:00:42.000 Joseph McElroy: howdy thanks for joining us on this week's episode of gateway to the smokies.

00:00:42.510 --> 00:00:50.670 Joseph McElroy: This podcast is about america's most visited National Park, the great smoky mountains national park and surrounding towns.

00:00:51.090 --> 00:01:01.170 Joseph McElroy: This area is filled with ancient natural beauty a deep story history and a rich mountain culture that we will explore with weekly episodes.

00:01:01.770 --> 00:01:16.170 Joseph McElroy: i'm Joseph Franklin mcilroy amanda the world, but also with deep roots in these mountains My family has lived in the great smokies for over 200 years my businesses in travel, but my heart is in mountain culture.

00:01:17.310 --> 00:01:36.810 Joseph McElroy: Now this episode is entitled ecotourism and safe passage is for wildlife in the smokies but it's really about journeys journeys to help conservation efforts, the journeys to life that lead to transitions and journeys that wildlife have to make to ensure their species survival.

00:01:38.280 --> 00:01:47.610 Joseph McElroy: You know that journeys are something that I talked about every day my profession has been marketing and, in that we always talk about the customer journey.

00:01:48.060 --> 00:02:08.190 Joseph McElroy: The path they follow and the transitions they make to become paying customers now, this is not a profound journey but it illustrates that even the smallest parts of our lives, we are on journeys the profound journeys create transitions that can be life changing and even world changing.

00:02:09.600 --> 00:02:20.610 Joseph McElroy: we're going to talk some about death, I know this is not expected, but when you travel and celebrate life you're also preparing for a good death without regrets.

00:02:22.620 --> 00:02:28.830 Joseph McElroy: And my family place that I now own the middle or motel there was an old couple who'd been coming there for years.

00:02:29.760 --> 00:02:37.800 Joseph McElroy: And they called one day and talk to my parents and honestly told them that the woman was dying and wanted to come stay in the Cabinet and die by the river.

00:02:38.520 --> 00:02:51.900 Joseph McElroy: And the sides of the mountains that had brought such joy her whole life and she did they let her come and she eventually died in peace in the cabin and it was as much as as a celebration, as it was an occasion for SAR.

00:02:53.430 --> 00:03:10.920 Joseph McElroy: And this is one of the reasons I bought the motel from my parents, three years ago, because the profound meeting I found in hospitality that creates memorable moments in people's lives and their journeys and that make those journeys more beautiful and hopefully without regrets.

00:03:12.090 --> 00:03:19.530 Joseph McElroy: Some of you know, the in 2014 my wife of 20 years died of rare cancer, and I was her caregiver for two years.

00:03:20.280 --> 00:03:29.460 Joseph McElroy: My guest today has a book on life's lessons learned from helping her mother die, and then it she writes about the hero's journey by Joseph Campbell.

00:03:30.120 --> 00:03:45.000 Joseph McElroy: How facing obstacles and fighting dragons leads to transformation at first her mother's death seemed to her to be the end of the journey until she went through her grief and realized her mother was still on a journey for me.

00:03:46.260 --> 00:03:55.800 Joseph McElroy: This brought back memories, because I attended a workshop after my wife's death in the mountains, called the hero's journey by just the Joseph Campbell foundation.

00:03:56.610 --> 00:04:11.250 Joseph McElroy: There they led me through an exercise, where I had to write on a gravestone something that I needed to see buried now having just buried my wife, this was something of a challenge for me.

00:04:12.180 --> 00:04:23.940 Joseph McElroy: But through some deep reflection, I wrote on the gravestone Mr and Mrs Joseph mcilroy and laid it down in the ceremony on the mountain side and had my transformational moment.

00:04:24.600 --> 00:04:37.320 Joseph McElroy: Because I realized that I was still thinking of myself, as Mr Mrs Joseph mcilroy and I realized that identity, no longer existed, I was grieving as much.

00:04:38.040 --> 00:04:58.410 Joseph McElroy: For her as for my my identity as as I was, for my late wife and I didn't need to grieve for that identity, I needed to process the grief for my late wife and then I was no longer Mr Mrs Joseph McElroy I had to proceed as Joseph I had to reinvent a new life.

00:04:59.580 --> 00:05:09.990 Joseph McElroy: Now I still remember today that life and wife, but I am married again I have given life to twins who are two years old and i've recovered and refurbish my family's homestead.

00:05:10.950 --> 00:05:20.940 Joseph McElroy: So I started a brand new journey through that transition, so this so this episode is not about me it's about journeys.

00:05:21.570 --> 00:05:28.050 Joseph McElroy: And we're also going to be considering the life and journeys that wildlife has to make because of human civilization.

00:05:28.800 --> 00:05:38.160 Joseph McElroy: And how we can make those journeys safer and life more fulfilling and how we can do conservation efforts and with ecotourism and things like that.

00:05:38.910 --> 00:05:42.750 Joseph McElroy: So, to help us explore this I invited My guess Francis fiber.

00:05:43.410 --> 00:05:53.940 Joseph McElroy: Who directs the creative service department at the great smoky mountains, associations and edits the fabulous smokies life magazine is one of the most beautiful magazines i've ever seen.

00:05:54.690 --> 00:06:04.980 Joseph McElroy: She is a Thomas Wolfe memorial literary award winner she has edited edited several magazines, she has led marketing for eco tour operators in Canada and Costa Rica.

00:06:05.520 --> 00:06:15.000 Joseph McElroy: she's the author of several books, including the seasons of letting go, which is the book I just referenced and has a new children's book a search for safe passage.

00:06:15.450 --> 00:06:29.520 Joseph McElroy: which was just published by the great smoky mountains, associations and it follows a group of animal friends friends in a smoky mountains board brant banding together to find a safe way across the major highway hello, Francis.

00:06:30.150 --> 00:06:32.160 Frances Figart: haters of thanks for having me.

00:06:32.430 --> 00:06:34.470 Joseph McElroy: Oh sure how are you doing today.

00:06:35.190 --> 00:06:41.550 Frances Figart: Doing really well it's wonderful to be here and i'd like to thank our mutual friend Bob plot for introducing us.

00:06:42.000 --> 00:06:50.910 Joseph McElroy: he's is, do you know I danced last week we're actually creating the smoky mountain meadowlark smoky mountain heritage Center and we're doing.

00:06:51.390 --> 00:06:57.570 Joseph McElroy: Working together to create lots of heritage events and bring lots of awareness of what's happening in these mountains.

00:06:58.020 --> 00:07:11.490 Joseph McElroy: So you have had a remarkably diverse career and live everywhere from Costa Rica and Canada, yet now live north of actual right and with your life has been on a six acre property near the appalachian trail.

00:07:11.850 --> 00:07:14.100 Joseph McElroy: Yes, how did you end up working in the great smoky.

00:07:14.820 --> 00:07:31.860 Frances Figart: So very interesting, so I as you were talking about went through an experience, where I helped my mother passed away in 2012 she died and that next year, I moved to the asheville area and I met my husband and I.

00:07:32.940 --> 00:07:44.430 Frances Figart: moved to a place that's just about 40 minutes north of asheville called flag pond Tennessee which there's not very much here and that's why we're here, there are a lot of cool animals and not very many people.

00:07:45.270 --> 00:07:52.920 Frances Figart: But when I first moved to asheville I had put my career in ecotourism on hold to help my mother passed away.

00:07:53.370 --> 00:07:58.890 Frances Figart: And so I really was starting over you know it's very much like you were talking about you kind of reinvented your life.

00:07:59.400 --> 00:08:04.140 Frances Figart: And I went to asheville I didn't know anyone I knew to people.

00:08:04.590 --> 00:08:12.540 Frances Figart: And, but i'm a great networker so I stormed into town and said i'm going to become a magazine editor i'm going to be the editor of the Laurel of asheville which I did that.

00:08:13.020 --> 00:08:27.120 Frances Figart: And I also did some pro bono work for another part partner in the smokies called discover life in America, and they do the all tax of biodiversity inventory, which is a Count of all the species in the park.

00:08:27.720 --> 00:08:39.510 Frances Figart: And so I did some pro bono editing and writing for them and years later, in 2017 the executive director Todd witcher of discover life in America called me one day and said.

00:08:39.990 --> 00:08:43.890 Frances Figart: there's a job, opening up in the smokies that has your name written all over it.

00:08:44.310 --> 00:08:53.430 Frances Figart: And I said well that's wonderful, but my husband built our cabin and there's no way that i'm going to be able to move to the smokies I couldn't move to gatlinburg.

00:08:53.790 --> 00:08:58.710 Frances Figart: And he said, well, I think you need to have a talk with the executive director I don't think he would have to move there.

00:08:59.490 --> 00:09:06.930 Frances Figart: Because you know when you work in publishing it can be pretty remote, these days, and so I did have that conversation with.

00:09:07.530 --> 00:09:16.800 Frances Figart: them the executive director and now the CEO Laurel repertory who is my boss, and we decided that if I were the right person for the job that I wouldn't have to move away so I.

00:09:17.370 --> 00:09:30.720 Frances Figart: I went through all the processes I didn't expect to get the job, and yet here I am and so all day long I work from home in flight on Tennessee but my mind is two hours away in great smoky mountain National Park.

00:09:31.470 --> 00:09:38.130 Joseph McElroy: cool I knew, you had plenty of experience in the area yeah like me i'm doing this podcast from New York City.

00:09:38.880 --> 00:09:46.920 Joseph McElroy: But you know I grew up there, and you know and i've always been there and I have my business interests there, and you know so.

00:09:47.520 --> 00:10:03.540 Joseph McElroy: You know well, of course I business interest in New York, so, but you can you can you can love multiple places in your life, and I think actually having the experience of loving two places really prepares you to talk about it in the travel sets right yeah.

00:10:03.690 --> 00:10:17.100 Frances Figart: yeah like I love I love, where I live, so much, and I have trail cams around my property and at night, especially at night there are bobcats that come through that's my spirit animal and I love them, but we have bear and deer and Turkey and.

00:10:18.180 --> 00:10:24.210 Frances Figart: opossum and skunk and would check and all these wonderful animals that are on this property, so I love it here.

00:10:24.600 --> 00:10:35.460 Frances Figart: But I also love, Costa Rica and that would be a place that we're I to have an opportunity to can to live there, I might do so, but I don't think I can pull my husband away.

00:10:35.760 --> 00:10:46.380 Frances Figart: From the appalachian trail region he's hiked it four times, he was here and and I love it here as well, so yeah but I know what you mean you can love to places that's for sure.

00:10:46.560 --> 00:10:56.550 Joseph McElroy: yeah well, I mean you can you can love several places my wife loves New York City and she's learning to love the the smoky mountains and she she loves a.

00:10:58.950 --> 00:11:00.360 Joseph McElroy: place in Mexico.

00:11:01.680 --> 00:11:04.650 Joseph McElroy: i'm drawing a blank on and she's gonna get mad at me she's probably listening.

00:11:05.730 --> 00:11:14.010 Joseph McElroy: San Miguel San Miguel and the mountains in which is sort of a mountainous region in the in the in the.

00:11:14.370 --> 00:11:30.060 Joseph McElroy: Mexico and she's originally from Trinidad and grew up on a mountain in Trinidad you know everything so true that'd be in this Caribbean island but it's actually a mountainous Caribbean island and so she's she's I tell her we're just we're just mountain people.

00:11:32.490 --> 00:11:37.170 Joseph McElroy: So, and so, what do you, what do you love most about the smoky mountains region.

00:11:38.250 --> 00:11:47.250 Frances Figart: Well, I tell you it's um it's a very diverse place and that's part of the reason why I love, Costa Rica, was the diversity and you know the smokies has been studied.

00:11:47.580 --> 00:11:59.820 Frances Figart: by scientists all over the world as a biodiversity hotspot and so that's why I really got interested in the job because it was a place that I could put my ecotourism background to work if you will.

00:12:00.210 --> 00:12:13.800 Frances Figart: And I manage the creative team they're a great smoky mountains, association and we create all kinds of books and magazines and projects like we did we actually do a podcast to that's called smoky mountain air.

00:12:14.820 --> 00:12:28.980 Frances Figart: So there are so many ways to lend you know the creative forces to the smokies because they're just so many stories to be told we're helping to tell ancient stories of the peoples who were here before it was even a park.

00:12:29.010 --> 00:12:29.700 Joseph McElroy: You know the Chair.

00:12:29.880 --> 00:12:36.660 Frances Figart: In the African American people that were here before, so we help the park in so many different ways to do that interpretive work.

00:12:37.470 --> 00:12:49.350 Joseph McElroy: Well that's Nice, you know I I was reading about that you know the cherokee you know claim anywhere from 3000 to 15,000 years ago of culture in this area yeah and so.

00:12:50.040 --> 00:13:01.290 Joseph McElroy: I find that very interesting and, of course, the West African influence on music here is tremendous, especially the banjo I mean our first episode, we talked a lot about that.

00:13:01.890 --> 00:13:18.420 Joseph McElroy: I have a friend of mine who is both Scotch Irish and West African descent all right, and he was the drummer for simple minds at one point he's artists in residence at the middle Arc motel and he's exploring all those sorts of aspects of the Culture here.

00:13:18.900 --> 00:13:30.390 Frances Figart: Well, you mentioned that because we just created a new podcast series that's called sepia tones and it's about African American music in appalachia.

00:13:30.960 --> 00:13:47.070 Frances Figart: And the influence that that's had on the smokies region, in particular, and the co host of that Ted olson and bill Turner are just amazing so it's under the smoky mountain air podcast series and really worth listening to i'm very excited that we're.

00:13:47.070 --> 00:13:49.080 Frances Figart: Creating we're creating that right now.

00:13:49.320 --> 00:13:54.720 Joseph McElroy: Well, I should talk to Mike and see if there's any synergies and what he's doing yeah so cool.

00:13:56.040 --> 00:14:02.610 Joseph McElroy: So we're back, we have taken a break now we'll talk more about articles and publications and books.

00:17:01.980 --> 00:17:09.990 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin mcilroy back with the gateway to the smokies podcast with my guest Francis fiber.

00:17:12.060 --> 00:17:25.500 Joseph McElroy: So, before I get into you know more about the the great smoky areas specifically you know we talked about ECO tourism, you talked about it briefly, can you just tell us what that means you really.

00:17:26.670 --> 00:17:42.150 Frances Figart: yeah a lot of times people describe it as sustainable tourism and really if you think about it, those two things are a bit of a misnomer right because it's hard to travel sustainably when you're traveling you're you're using fuel and.

00:17:43.380 --> 00:17:51.360 Frances Figart: Lots of our resources but there's a movement in the travel industry to try to do it that in such a way that it's light on the land.

00:17:51.810 --> 00:18:03.630 Frances Figart: And a lot of times ECO tourism is focused around very small group travel so, for instance, I worked with a kayak ECO tour operator in both Canada and Costa Rica, we would go back and forth.

00:18:03.930 --> 00:18:11.700 Frances Figart: Depending on the season, because you don't want to be paddling in Canada when it's October so that's when you'd get a Costa Rica and.

00:18:12.690 --> 00:18:20.040 Frances Figart: You know the focus was on small groups that would not make a big impact in the areas that we were paddling.

00:18:20.430 --> 00:18:30.030 Frances Figart: So that's that's kind of how I got involved before that I was a magazine editor for the national tour Association, which was more of a motor coach across the US.

00:18:30.540 --> 00:18:44.670 Frances Figart: and Canada type of organization for tour operators and I learned about ECO tourism and natural tourism through that experience and so that is kind of what I gravitated to because I liked the conservation aspect of that work.

00:18:45.270 --> 00:18:47.910 Joseph McElroy: So, and then your podcast you mentioned, with the.

00:18:49.170 --> 00:18:50.130 Joseph McElroy: GS ma.

00:18:51.450 --> 00:18:55.080 Joseph McElroy: talks about ECO ECO tourism experiences of people could have.

00:18:56.070 --> 00:19:07.380 Frances Figart: We haven't gotten into that topic yet, but that's a really good idea and I think we should have been focusing recently on, as I mentioned the sepia tones the black appalachian music.

00:19:08.400 --> 00:19:19.320 Frances Figart: Focus but we've also had podcasts that have been readings by some of our smokies life magazine authors and you know we've explored other programs in the park but.

00:19:19.770 --> 00:19:30.840 Frances Figart: You know, eco tourism has not been mentioned a lot in my job, yet, but it's something that's always in the back of my mind, because we do have a lot of congestion and a lot of visitors in the park, you know, we had.

00:19:31.230 --> 00:19:40.920 Frances Figart: 12.5 million visitors in 2019 and then of course last year it fell a little bit because of coven and we were closed part of the year.

00:19:42.120 --> 00:19:55.710 Frances Figart: But this year people feel like parks are the place to be and so each month this year we've had some numbers already and we expect to probably tip over that 12.5 million mark during 21.

00:19:56.250 --> 00:19:58.560 Joseph McElroy: Do you if you if somebody wanted to.

00:19:59.790 --> 00:20:00.390 Joseph McElroy: You know.

00:20:01.440 --> 00:20:12.330 Joseph McElroy: engage in ecotourism experience and then the smoky mountains, do you know of any providers or resources or even you know publications that might give them information.

00:20:13.800 --> 00:20:23.250 Frances Figart: Absolutely, there are a lot of great ecotourism operators out there, and one in particular that I think of right off the BAT is Tara in Terra.

00:20:23.790 --> 00:20:36.720 Frances Figart: incognita ECO tours and that's run by Judd katich and he's a friend longtime friend and he does skirt trips to all kinds of wonderful places where ECO tourism, tourism has done.

00:20:37.470 --> 00:20:38.400 Joseph McElroy: fabulous i'm.

00:20:40.080 --> 00:20:45.750 Joseph McElroy: glad about that i'm wanting you know where we are at the motel where the only we're actually the only.

00:20:46.350 --> 00:21:05.550 Joseph McElroy: Three pine lodging facility west of asheville and three partners graded by the Sydney according to you know North Carolina sustainable ECO ECO friendly and so we've taken a lot of effort to be and so we're looking at how to develop more eco tour, so I guess.

00:21:06.240 --> 00:21:07.230 Joseph McElroy: So anyway right I.

00:21:07.830 --> 00:21:09.390 Frances Figart: connect you with some people.

00:21:09.480 --> 00:21:23.550 Joseph McElroy: cool that'd be fabulous so you've written scores of articles for well known publications around the region and now you're the creative service director, the GA s ma so tell us a little bit about this organization and what what that job means.

00:21:24.810 --> 00:21:31.860 Frances Figart: Right well so great smoky mountains association is one of several part partners and we're an educational park partner.

00:21:32.220 --> 00:21:47.040 Frances Figart: So we support the park through creating products and selling them and Joseph you probably know that you know the park in the smokies doesn't charge an entrance fee like some parks and so there's always that challenge of how do they.

00:21:48.090 --> 00:21:54.240 Frances Figart: generate the income to take care of the backlog of maintenance and all the different things that need to be done for the park.

00:21:54.660 --> 00:22:03.870 Frances Figart: So we create books and magazines and other products, and we also sell other books in our bookstores that are run by great smoky mountains association.

00:22:04.320 --> 00:22:12.840 Frances Figart: And those funds come together to help support the park to do many different things like we talked about earlier telling the stories.

00:22:13.260 --> 00:22:18.390 Frances Figart: Of the peoples who were here before or preserving the historic buildings in the park.

00:22:19.080 --> 00:22:28.950 Frances Figart: Just things like utilities for visitors we help to provide that, so there are so many things that go into how we support our our park and as a partner.

00:22:29.520 --> 00:22:37.200 Frances Figart: And we, you know, there are other partners like discover life in America that I mentioned, and they have other projects that they work on but we're.

00:22:38.070 --> 00:22:47.610 Frances Figart: serving in a way that that we sell our products in the bookstore so anytime you visit the park and you go into one of the bookstores that's great smoky mountains association.

00:22:48.030 --> 00:22:55.560 Joseph McElroy: You also I know this for a fact, because I am one you've developed a pretty large network of resellers right that actually.

00:22:55.860 --> 00:22:57.930 Joseph McElroy: support you and selling those.

00:22:58.590 --> 00:23:08.100 Joseph McElroy: Are smokies adventure COM site actually sells the DSM a products and we you know we try to package, a little different and things like that, but.

00:23:09.210 --> 00:23:11.730 Joseph McElroy: we're we're an avid supporter of that.

00:23:12.090 --> 00:23:18.450 Frances Figart: Well that's great and we welcome you and you know it's interesting because we are basically a very boutique publisher.

00:23:19.380 --> 00:23:29.100 Frances Figart: of books, you know it's something that we we don't do that publishing exclusively we do so many other things in running our bookstores and our retail is really our bread and butter.

00:23:29.910 --> 00:23:37.860 Frances Figart: But we create a couple of books every year and this year, the new book from gma is the one that I wrote called a search for safe passage.

00:23:38.250 --> 00:23:44.670 Joseph McElroy: cool well, I know I will talk about that in just a second I think it's a great book, but I think another big thing that you guys do.

00:23:45.090 --> 00:23:54.540 Joseph McElroy: Is that you create maps and guides right, not just the books, I mean the books are great I mean you talk about like moonshine you talking about women in the appalachian you talk about.

00:23:54.870 --> 00:24:01.380 Joseph McElroy: You know all sorts of different cultural aspects that people don't necessarily think of, and then you get into herbal medicine and.

00:24:01.920 --> 00:24:16.530 Joseph McElroy: You know and wildlife and many things you just the selection is is great, but you do wonderful guides and great maps and hiking hiking trail maps and things like that you just released the hundred trails that is a.

00:24:16.680 --> 00:24:17.280 classic.

00:24:18.450 --> 00:24:23.790 Joseph McElroy: classic classic and an updated and everything and that's that's a good seller.

00:24:25.500 --> 00:24:34.200 Frances Figart: Sales map which was originally a partnership between gma and the Carolina mountain club and we've just revitalized it and brought it up to date.

00:24:34.590 --> 00:24:43.140 Frances Figart: Which is very exciting and there's a new challenge from cmc Carolina mountain club for people to hike all of those 100 favorite trails so that's pretty neat.

00:24:43.500 --> 00:24:50.220 Frances Figart: And we do have a lot of guidebooks and you know people who are not watching this can't see it but behind me there's a poster.

00:24:50.520 --> 00:24:55.920 Frances Figart: That shows 100 different butterflies and Moss and they're all in our butterflies and months field guide.

00:24:56.340 --> 00:25:08.820 Frances Figart: Which is just one of many field guides right now we're creating a new one that's all about just insects and that's being written by James Costa of the Highlands biological station which is in color we.

00:25:09.540 --> 00:25:18.360 Joseph McElroy: yeah well that's great I mean I think these are wonderful assets and you also the editor of smokies life magazine what is that what is the purpose of that magazine.

00:25:18.990 --> 00:25:31.710 Frances Figart: That magazine is the main benefit that are members of gma get in the mail twice a year, and thank goodness it's twice a year because i've worked on a lot of monthly magazines and you really can't do anything else.

00:25:32.460 --> 00:25:42.660 Frances Figart: One time I was like Conference, and when I was with the national tour association, so people came up to my booth at a conference and they said we're just curious What do you do in between issues.

00:25:45.090 --> 00:25:49.380 Joseph McElroy: But now you look at it it's so beautiful right it's such a beautiful magazine.

00:25:49.860 --> 00:25:52.920 Frances Figart: It really is and that's thanks to my staff, I have an.

00:25:52.920 --> 00:26:03.090 Frances Figart: amazing on staff that Lisa horseman is the lead designer on that magazine she's also a famous children's author and we sell her books, you might have some of her books.

00:26:03.720 --> 00:26:16.290 Frances Figart: The great smoky mountain salamander ball is one that you probably have, and you know that that magazine is just a lot of fun, but yeah it takes the full six months because you are doing a lot of things to make it happen.

00:26:18.300 --> 00:26:32.520 Joseph McElroy: So, and you know the you know the the things that are the contents are like bike days in caves cove park faces up faces up to over tourism twin creek science, education, a lot of wonderful stuff there.

00:26:34.020 --> 00:26:49.080 Frances Figart: Paul has an article in this one I don't know if you notice that, but he wrote a story about two of the heroes of the smokies Georgian Elizabeth ellison and so Bob and Janet mckee read that together, and it was a great story.

00:26:49.380 --> 00:26:56.940 Joseph McElroy: Oh that's great oh yeah Well, no, I think it's and it's and it's so that's mostly I said you don't distribute it anywhere else right.

00:26:57.540 --> 00:27:09.060 Frances Figart: it's in our book stores, and you can buy it at smokies so if you're not a Member, you can go online it's smokies information to Oregon by it, but we encourage you to be a Member for just 30 bucks a year.

00:27:10.170 --> 00:27:11.160 Joseph McElroy: Okay cool.

00:27:12.420 --> 00:27:12.870 Joseph McElroy: So.

00:27:13.950 --> 00:27:21.480 Joseph McElroy: You when you talk about the DSM maybe an educational park partner Besides supporting it with money, what does that mean.

00:27:22.620 --> 00:27:31.830 Frances Figart: um so you know, like, I mentioned the proceeds from our books and products provide services for visitors and we fund resource management of the park.

00:27:32.700 --> 00:27:42.030 Frances Figart: We make it possible for the park to preserve his historic structures and tell those older stories of the cherokee and the African Americans who were here before.

00:27:42.510 --> 00:27:51.030 Frances Figart: We help educate our members and part visitors about natural and cultural heritage of the smokies through those projects okay.

00:27:51.810 --> 00:27:52.170 well.

00:27:53.610 --> 00:28:04.200 Joseph McElroy: When we get back you have you have a new book called this, you will be have two books that we wanted to talk about briefly seasons of letting go, which I mentioned, and then I think, a very important one now.

00:28:04.800 --> 00:28:10.170 Joseph McElroy: search for safe passage which was a children's book has got a pretty important message to talk about.

00:28:11.220 --> 00:28:14.820 Joseph McElroy: And so let's dig into the meat of that when we get back.

00:28:15.540 --> 00:28:16.200 Frances Figart: sounds good.

00:28:24.420 --> 00:28:24.630 and

00:31:05.970 --> 00:31:14.640 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin McElroy and i'm back with the gateway to the smokies podcasts and My guess Francis.

00:31:16.320 --> 00:31:17.550 Joseph McElroy: Francis you know we.

00:31:18.720 --> 00:31:29.730 Joseph McElroy: been talking about you know your job and let's talk about your creativity all right, which is even your job demonstrates your creativity you're the author of two books.

00:31:30.240 --> 00:31:39.510 Joseph McElroy: And the first one, I got to read a little bit of and because it was formatted as a series of poignant collection of essays.

00:31:40.380 --> 00:31:48.120 Joseph McElroy: I was able to actually get her, I think a little bit of an understanding and it's called seasons of letting go, which was about helping your mother die.

00:31:48.600 --> 00:32:03.300 Joseph McElroy: A dignified death and how you learn from that your mother was a ruthie, I think, and she was a baseball fan, and she sounds like a tremendous woman, and so, can you tell us a little bit of that book came about.

00:32:03.720 --> 00:32:07.830 Frances Figart: Sure thing so her name is Ruth and that he is silent.

00:32:08.160 --> 00:32:08.760 Okay.

00:32:09.900 --> 00:32:16.740 Frances Figart: When she was born, she was named just the normal, are you Th but she'd like to be different so she wanted to put a silent E on it.

00:32:17.700 --> 00:32:18.660 Joseph McElroy: Okay, great.

00:32:18.900 --> 00:32:22.680 Frances Figart: My middle name is free to so I have the silent E as well.

00:32:22.920 --> 00:32:23.940 Joseph McElroy: Can I call you ruthie.

00:32:27.960 --> 00:32:28.290 Frances Figart: But.

00:32:28.590 --> 00:32:35.910 Frances Figart: The book, you know I I tell people I kind of tricked myself into writing a book, because what happened was in 2010.

00:32:36.390 --> 00:32:45.690 Frances Figart: I put my career on hold and I went home and I realized, I was going to need to be with my mom for as long as it was going to take, and it was about two years, just like your experience.

00:32:46.380 --> 00:32:55.740 Frances Figart: And so I didn't know really how to cope with you know how this is your your loving this person, but you also have this big job.

00:32:56.640 --> 00:33:04.410 Frances Figart: You know it's like you're you're doing the caregiving thing and so it's 24 seven you don't get a break there's really no escape from the stress of it.

00:33:04.740 --> 00:33:15.510 Frances Figart: So I think to process that stress I started a blog and I started writing essays just about coping with the fact that i'm going to lose my mother and i'm the sole caregiver, and this was really hard.

00:33:16.890 --> 00:33:29.040 Frances Figart: And it wasn't until several years after she was gone that I realized that some of my best writing had been done, both during the time she was dying and also my processing the first year of grief.

00:33:29.790 --> 00:33:38.850 Frances Figart: Especially that first year, and so in 2015 I realized that I had a group of essays that I really just wanted to put together as a book.

00:33:39.240 --> 00:33:43.380 Frances Figart: And in really for me my audience was the people who knew my mother.

00:33:43.680 --> 00:33:53.310 Frances Figart: That probably would not go look at my blog site and look up all these essays on there, because they were older people, they were in her age group, so I wanted to present them with something.

00:33:53.610 --> 00:34:00.780 Frances Figart: And i'm holding the book up right now it's got a scene that's much like your background Joseph and you know I.

00:34:02.430 --> 00:34:12.960 Frances Figart: yeah I wanted it to be something that people could hold in their hand and have a good feeling about her life so it's a tribute to her, but it's also a tribute to what you were talking about earlier, which is that we.

00:34:13.230 --> 00:34:25.530 Frances Figart: have to reinvent ourselves, and we have to disassociate our identity as being with that person it, you know, even though I really felt strongly that my end identity was wrapped up with being Ruth fibroids daughter.

00:34:26.070 --> 00:34:31.140 Frances Figart: I had to go on and say I can be more than that, I can be different from that and still honor her.

00:34:32.160 --> 00:34:36.720 Joseph McElroy: That is a that is a, that is, I think that's important for a lot of people to.

00:34:37.410 --> 00:34:47.580 Joseph McElroy: To to understand that you know, I think that I, you know I had some friends that actually it was kind of odd, but at the same time they'd lost their lives, maybe one of the year before.

00:34:47.970 --> 00:35:05.970 Joseph McElroy: And then never you know when I saw them they had they hadn't progressed in their lives, and some of them still haven't and they haven't lost that and that they haven't realized that they got to bury their identity, their grieving their identity as much as they're grieving the person.

00:35:06.330 --> 00:35:13.890 Frances Figart: yeah and I think, as you continue to read that book you're going to see that there's a place where I went through that that same thing, where you know you just.

00:35:14.220 --> 00:35:21.900 Frances Figart: You finally let go and the experience of caregiving, I think, is one that you that's where I really learned that I wasn't in control.

00:35:22.500 --> 00:35:31.620 Frances Figart: Because you know I am kind of a control freak and that helps me to be successful and things like building production schedules for magazines or setting a time limit, you know to do a book.

00:35:31.950 --> 00:35:39.390 Frances Figart: And that type of thing, but ultimately we have no control and when you're a caregiver and someone's dying that's when you really learn that lesson.

00:35:39.780 --> 00:35:41.880 Frances Figart: And then, when you start to let go.

00:35:42.060 --> 00:35:48.690 Frances Figart: For me it is if you're really able to realize your destiny, because you don't push so hard for what you want.

00:35:49.110 --> 00:35:58.080 Frances Figart: You don't get that friction anymore you just align with destiny and then the two of you can just sore out into space and that's really what's happened for me since I lost my mom.

00:35:58.500 --> 00:35:58.770 Frances Figart: And I.

00:35:58.920 --> 00:36:04.470 Frances Figart: said I could show her that I finally got it but it's Okay, I think she knows.

00:36:05.250 --> 00:36:14.640 Joseph McElroy: I you know the same way, I feel like I have guardian angels that I didn't have before things have gone in surprising ways for me in my life, since then, so.

00:36:15.840 --> 00:36:18.780 Joseph McElroy: it's, it is a carpet experience right.

00:36:19.590 --> 00:36:23.670 Frances Figart: yeah it's cathartic and you know you probably have had the same feeling too, but.

00:36:24.090 --> 00:36:37.440 Frances Figart: i've been a little sad that my husband didn't get to meet my parents, but then, in some ways it's almost as if his energy continues their own and it's almost like it doesn't matter because it feels like he was a part of them, and they were part of him.

00:36:37.800 --> 00:36:55.500 Joseph McElroy: yeah you know I have, I have a wife and two the two twin children now yeah I have an older son, but but it definitely feels like this, this long journey that just changed, but you know there's a similar similar there's a sort of energy that goes through.

00:36:57.120 --> 00:37:01.500 Joseph McElroy: So now you got a second book come it's got a completely different direction.

00:37:01.950 --> 00:37:03.900 Joseph McElroy: That just came out last month.

00:37:04.950 --> 00:37:16.200 Joseph McElroy: it's a children's book and with a special cause pertaining to the smokies is search for say passions and can you tell me two things, what is it about why came about and why did you make it a children's.

00:37:16.920 --> 00:37:19.530 Frances Figart: Okay that's you know it's going to take me a second so.

00:37:21.120 --> 00:37:28.020 Frances Figart: When I first moved from asheville up to the area where I live in now the closest highway here is I 26.

00:37:28.590 --> 00:37:34.890 Frances Figart: And I was disturbed to see a lot of our iconic black bears getting killed on this highway.

00:37:35.580 --> 00:37:44.850 Frances Figart: And so, when I got my job in the smokies I was able to connect with some people who were having a discussion about a similar problem just outside the park boundary.

00:37:45.570 --> 00:37:54.120 Frances Figart: And it's an area, called the pigeon river gorge it's a 28 mile stretch of road that's really twisty if you've ever driven between asheville and knoxville.

00:37:54.900 --> 00:38:02.430 Frances Figart: been on this really curvy section of road and eight miles is in Tennessee and 20 miles is in western North Carolina.

00:38:02.820 --> 00:38:09.180 Frances Figart: And way too many bear and deer and elk and other smaller animals are killed there every year.

00:38:09.420 --> 00:38:17.280 Frances Figart: Now there's a lot of statistics rolling around, but the data hasn't all been crunched yet some people say as many as 70 bears have been killed there in one year.

00:38:17.580 --> 00:38:24.390 Frances Figart: We don't really know those things, yet the research is still being completed, but what we know is that there are way too many.

00:38:24.750 --> 00:38:32.880 Frances Figart: And so I became a part of this group, and at that time it wasn't called anything, it was just several organizations working together.

00:38:33.510 --> 00:38:42.600 Frances Figart: To try to find a solution, and now there are as many as 20 organizations, some of them governmental some of them non governmental some of them tribal.

00:38:43.020 --> 00:38:51.540 Frances Figart: All kinds of agencies working together to try to solve the problem and six of those have created a safe passage fund coalition.

00:38:51.810 --> 00:39:02.700 Frances Figart: And we've branded the project as the safe passage I 40 pigeon river gorge wildlife crossing project now we're working towards getting some wildlife crossings to.

00:39:03.090 --> 00:39:07.890 Frances Figart: Be in that region but that's something that takes years sometimes to accomplish.

00:39:08.400 --> 00:39:16.050 Frances Figart: And so, why a children's book to me i'm thinking of 11 and 12 year olds who are reading this book now.

00:39:16.470 --> 00:39:22.770 Frances Figart: are going to inherit the problems that we have with our roads needing to consider wildlife and how they need to cross.

00:39:23.190 --> 00:39:33.060 Frances Figart: And so, in 12 more years those kids reading it will be the new road ecologist they will be the highway engineers that will help to solve these problems.

00:39:33.750 --> 00:39:47.070 Frances Figart: Because we're networking with people who have been working on these problems for a decade and they still have a broken ground because it takes that long to get it all together so that's why the kids book concept really works.

00:39:48.330 --> 00:39:56.490 Joseph McElroy: I read it a little bit of it, I love the way you've sort of made it into an adventure story for the kids right.

00:39:57.540 --> 00:40:11.880 Joseph McElroy: it's sort of an adventure the animals are you know they they they they all have their own personalities and they meet together, you know they have you have different groups that come together and have to know who they are, and there's also a sort of a almost.

00:40:13.020 --> 00:40:17.370 Joseph McElroy: A mythological element to it yeah it's got a little bit of magic in it.

00:40:17.850 --> 00:40:29.310 Frances Figart: yeah I am I was really inspired by the cherokee writings of the myths where they would talk about animals as just bear or deer or firefly.

00:40:30.060 --> 00:40:36.660 Frances Figart: They would just have the animals name, and so the animals in this book just have that that very simple mythological name.

00:40:37.500 --> 00:40:47.160 Frances Figart: But there's a band of animals that join together in this cause to try to find safe passage and they meet some new friends, and they have some adventures, and some of its kind of scary.

00:40:48.030 --> 00:40:56.730 Frances Figart: But it's not in your face graphic you know, there are some animals in it that have been killed on the human highway but we don't see that happen it's more of a memory.

00:40:56.970 --> 00:41:03.270 Frances Figart: That an animal has of their parent who has been killed, their or their brother or sister or friend who's been killed on the human highway.

00:41:03.750 --> 00:41:13.950 Frances Figart: And they have a law called turtles law that prevents them from crossing anymore, and that illustrates a concept and wrote ecology that's called the barrier effect.

00:41:14.340 --> 00:41:21.510 Frances Figart: And so, when animals decide not to try to cross anymore that's actually even worse than when you're seeing individual animals get hit.

00:41:21.840 --> 00:41:36.600 Frances Figart: Because the species is then in under threat and it's not getting what it needs to thrive and species, you know diversity can't happen animals interbreed and, eventually, they could be come extinct or be extirpated.

00:41:37.200 --> 00:41:45.300 Joseph McElroy: yeah you know I also think that about half the book is about the story, but then I think the other half is you have.

00:41:46.080 --> 00:41:53.250 Joseph McElroy: yeah a lot of information, like almost like a little bit like encyclopedia but you know approachable encyclopedia information about the types of.

00:41:53.550 --> 00:41:56.940 Joseph McElroy: crossings, I mean there's incredible amount there's there's culverts there's.

00:41:57.270 --> 00:42:09.030 Joseph McElroy: You know the square openings there's bridges there's you know there's grass things over the top, I thought that was really sort of you know, actually fascinating that you put all that additional information in there.

00:42:09.510 --> 00:42:16.140 Joseph McElroy: yeah it's a thorough education and fun book for children so i'm gonna get it for my children at the appropriate age.

00:42:16.740 --> 00:42:20.970 Frances Figart: I appreciate that, and you know I worked with a lot of scientists who know.

00:42:21.450 --> 00:42:33.720 Frances Figart: How to build these structures and and it's just kind of distilling the information that they have down to the most basic level so that someone like a fifth grader can understand it, but that's also the level that a lot of us need we don't.

00:42:33.960 --> 00:42:44.100 Frances Figart: We don't know how to build these box culverts and bridge extensions and things either, so I think it's very accessible for adults that are just becoming acquainted with the road ecology concepts to.

00:42:44.400 --> 00:42:54.990 Joseph McElroy: yeah I think it's an easy read for an adult to just sort of get the story, but then there's the information that actually makes it yeah you get adult information in a in a digestible form.

00:42:55.530 --> 00:43:03.390 Joseph McElroy: For the second half of that book, I was, I was pleasantly you know excited so it's very beautifully illustrated, who did your illustrations.

00:43:03.780 --> 00:43:17.040 Frances Figart: So the illustrator is named Emma do for and she's on my staff at great smoky mountains association she's a publication specialist who came to the smokies a lot as a child and then was determined to move to the smokies and work there.

00:43:17.790 --> 00:43:29.400 Frances Figart: her story is a brilliant one, but this was her first book to design and illustrate and she's done a remarkable job and Did it really rapidly, we did all of this during coven you know the book.

00:43:30.030 --> 00:43:38.070 Frances Figart: I wrote the book from March to May last year and then mo worked on the illustration, and we basically got it published within about a nine month window.

00:43:38.700 --> 00:43:49.020 Joseph McElroy: Okay fabulous well when we come back we'll talk a little bit more about you know aspects of your job, and you know, and then you know other things that people can find out about you.

00:43:50.880 --> 00:43:52.650 Frances Figart: Okay, thank you know.

00:46:08.430 --> 00:46:29.190 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin mcilroy back with the gateway to the smokies podcast and my guest Francis fight guy so Francis you mentioned coven giving you the time to actually write this new book, but how is coven impact your world and the park itself.

00:46:30.390 --> 00:46:43.350 Frances Figart: very good question you know the park went through some really scary times when coven first started and we found that not only did the park need to close, but we gma needed to close our visitor centers.

00:46:43.770 --> 00:46:54.120 Frances Figart: To be able to keep our staff, safe and then we actually even had to close our warehouse where the online orders are filled and we do large online business.

00:46:54.690 --> 00:46:58.770 Frances Figart: But it wasn't safe, and so we we lost some ground, it was a little scary.

00:46:59.430 --> 00:47:08.940 Frances Figart: But we went into the year in a really good place financially, and so one of the things that happened that was very interesting was we had this challenge and figuring out How can people.

00:47:09.420 --> 00:47:18.900 Frances Figart: Stay connected to the park virtually since they can't come there that's really what our members and the people that follow Jesus, and they wanted was to be able to feel connected.

00:47:19.320 --> 00:47:25.050 Frances Figart: And so my staff had all these wonderful creative ideas, because they're such innovators, you know they're like we can do.

00:47:25.380 --> 00:47:32.130 Frances Figart: All these different things, and so I decided to channel all of their ideas through a blog called smokies live.

00:47:32.520 --> 00:47:43.110 Frances Figart: And smokies live can be found at smokies as soon as you go to our website at pops up and it's basically a blog that we started during coven.

00:47:43.590 --> 00:47:55.860 Frances Figart: And we've been able to maintain it and we post almost daily, if not four or five times a week we have stories coming up on smokies live that make it like a sister publication, to the magazine smokies life.

00:47:56.400 --> 00:48:00.600 Frances Figart: And we have many people that write for it, much of it is contributed.

00:48:01.200 --> 00:48:08.670 Frances Figart: If there are people out there listening he loved to write about the smokies they could even contact me and write for smokies live and it's a communal effort.

00:48:08.910 --> 00:48:20.130 Frances Figart: So that's been a really great way that we've survived the pandemic, because we really help people to connect with the park seeing videos and learning about the natural, cultural history through smokies live.

00:48:20.790 --> 00:48:35.310 Frances Figart: has really been an amazing part of it, and then also we've developed a lot of tools that have helped us with staying in close touch, as you have to do remotely so zoom meetings are one tool we use a program called slack that is.

00:48:35.730 --> 00:48:48.450 Frances Figart: A way to have conversations about all the different projects and in a very much real time, so my team of six we've really stayed very, very close and even become more efficient and effective during the pandemic.

00:48:49.080 --> 00:48:51.420 Joseph McElroy: You mentioned the tools of mine in life right now.

00:48:54.210 --> 00:49:02.520 Joseph McElroy: So, you know as an aside, I have you know, I have a bunch of travel writers, because of my business, so I will get some of them to send you some stuff.

00:49:03.000 --> 00:49:11.610 Joseph McElroy: And if you need the promotion of your blog we can I have some pretty good blogs and good good you know you probably know, this word by now seo position.

00:49:12.630 --> 00:49:18.600 Joseph McElroy: And we could give you a little authority to some of the articles, if you want to reach out and particularly promote one or two of them.

00:49:19.050 --> 00:49:21.570 Frances Figart: So this is a fortuitous partnership.

00:49:21.570 --> 00:49:23.220 Joseph McElroy: yeah definitely.

00:49:25.590 --> 00:49:33.600 Joseph McElroy: So, other than the writing part which i'm assuming you love, what are the other favorite aspects of the job helping preserve and protect the smoke.

00:49:34.440 --> 00:49:46.200 Frances Figart: Well, you know I just think about the things I get to do every day are things that I would do whether I had this job or not like I spent today listening to the audio version of a search for safe passage.

00:49:46.500 --> 00:49:59.580 Frances Figart: Which is being read by a wonderful author and audio expert named rose help and she's out in scottsdale and she recorded my book, and so my job today was really largely.

00:50:00.060 --> 00:50:16.260 Frances Figart: surrounding listening to my book read by her and just making a few little tweaks of where I wanted her to read like the firefly voice a little differently or you know, whatever was you know I wanted elke says, I am L and I wanted that to be really low, and you know.

00:50:17.070 --> 00:50:18.360 Frances Figart: Things like that, where I would like.

00:50:18.450 --> 00:50:27.090 Frances Figart: adjust the way she said something and but it's a beautiful reading of my book, she is not native American but her voice sounds native.

00:50:27.540 --> 00:50:36.480 Frances Figart: And I love that aspect of it so i'm so excited so I get to do things in my job that just feel like creative projects, they don't feel like work to me.

00:50:36.930 --> 00:50:47.520 Frances Figart: And I love writing and editing and i've often felt like I would, if I if someone said, you could only write or you could only edit I would pick editing because i'm love it and i'm really good at it.

00:50:47.970 --> 00:50:59.070 Frances Figart: But i've become more of a writer throughout the last few years and I don't think I could stand to have that go away, so I think I have to keep both writing and editing as part of what I do.

00:50:59.400 --> 00:51:10.620 Joseph McElroy: that's fabulous you know they I was persuaded to get into podcasting my some of my marketing people said I had the perfect voice for day with the smokies now i've got another podcast and I love the creative aspect.

00:51:11.280 --> 00:51:11.520 Frances Figart: Well, I.

00:51:11.820 --> 00:51:14.820 Frances Figart: wish everyone could see your shirt because it's so bright.

00:51:14.820 --> 00:51:19.020 Frances Figart: And cool, so this is great that you have some people that are able to view this.

00:51:19.650 --> 00:51:21.330 Joseph McElroy: So you got any books in the plans.

00:51:22.170 --> 00:51:27.900 Frances Figart: Well, actually it's funny that you should ask that, because one of the things I really want to get working on here soon.

00:51:28.230 --> 00:51:41.040 Frances Figart: After I added about seven more smokies life stories for fall, is that I have a sequel plan to a search for safe passage and the working title is zoe's gift to the gorge.

00:51:41.610 --> 00:51:53.100 Frances Figart: And it's going to be in the end of a search for safe passage the elk tells the animals, what we have to do now is communicate to the humans what it is that we need in terms of wildlife crossings.

00:51:53.460 --> 00:52:00.270 Frances Figart: And so the next book is going to have the central figure Zoe, who is a girl that has some very special gifts.

00:52:00.600 --> 00:52:10.650 Frances Figart: And she's going to get to spend some time up in the gorge with the animals on her own and learn from them what they need, and then she'll be able to communicate that out to the others.

00:52:10.950 --> 00:52:22.710 Joseph McElroy: Oh fabulous so you can find your new book safe search for safe passage of smokies I, we will probably also soon have it on smokies adventure COM.

00:52:24.570 --> 00:52:38.550 Joseph McElroy: You can also become a member of the great smoky mountains association at smokies and it's a great way to support and protect the park park her first book Francis first book is seasons of letting goes available on Amazon.

00:52:40.110 --> 00:52:50.850 Joseph McElroy: And spunky safe is where you can go to learn all about safe passage the I 40 pigeon river gorge wildlife crossing project.

00:52:51.480 --> 00:52:59.370 Joseph McElroy: yeah and then you can go to Francis fig to find out more about Francis and you have some social media to write.

00:52:59.910 --> 00:53:06.120 Frances Figart: i'm on Facebook, mostly i'm on linkedin a little bit, but find me on Facebook i'd love to have some new friends.

00:53:06.630 --> 00:53:14.250 Joseph McElroy: And we'll put all this information up on the gateway to the smoky so fun so you'll be able to find it there.

00:53:15.510 --> 00:53:25.440 Joseph McElroy: And that is the gateway to swell and Francis I want to thank you for being a part of the show i'm gonna do a little close out now my stuff but I appreciate very much talking to you.

00:53:27.210 --> 00:53:40.290 Joseph McElroy: Thank you, so you can you can go to gateways to the smokies fun to find all sorts of information about this podcast when we post things that our guests, have mentioned and and want to promote.

00:53:41.520 --> 00:53:48.420 Joseph McElroy: And, and you can also subscribe to a newsletter that will let you know about upcoming events and podcasts.

00:53:48.900 --> 00:53:56.610 Joseph McElroy: Now I want you to imagine a place evocative motor cortex of the past yeah modern and vibrant with a chic appalachian field.

00:53:57.090 --> 00:54:06.810 Joseph McElroy: a place for adventure and full relaxation imagine a place where you can fish and a mountain heritage trout scream grill the catch on fire.

00:54:07.230 --> 00:54:20.580 Joseph McElroy: and eat accompanied by fine wine or craft beers imagine a place of the old time music and world cultural sounds, there is no other place like the middle Arc motel and Maggie valley North Carolina.

00:54:21.600 --> 00:54:28.170 Joseph McElroy: and part of the great smoky mountains National Park your smoky mountain adventure starts with where you stay.

00:54:29.610 --> 00:54:47.610 Joseph McElroy: I want to mention, we are part of the talk radio nyc network, it is a great network of podcasts focused on the New York area, but it also syndicated out to a lot of other places around.

00:54:48.870 --> 00:54:55.620 Joseph McElroy: I think, right after this podcast live on Tuesday nights is a podcast exploring New York.

00:54:56.760 --> 00:55:03.330 Joseph McElroy: And I think it's a really nice episode, so you go from a rural environment to urban environment.

00:55:04.470 --> 00:55:09.360 Joseph McElroy: So please stick around listen to everything on this network.

00:55:10.770 --> 00:55:26.250 Joseph McElroy: Next week we're going to have MC butch McCain, who is a retired ranger from the park service, and he has a lot of experience in the smoky mountains, I think it'll be a great show, and you can come by and visit same time from.

00:55:26.910 --> 00:55:32.970 Joseph McElroy: from six to seven on Tuesday night next week and we also have Facebook page.

00:55:33.480 --> 00:55:50.340 Joseph McElroy: Also slash gateway to the smokies podcast where we stream the video live, so you can see the video live on Tuesdays as well, so you'll see my shirt and my background and my beautiful guests, so thank you again and i'll see you next time.

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