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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Amphitheaters

Metadata Updated: June 5, 2024

THESE POINTS of open air assembly and seating in parks range from the minor, represented by the campfire circle, sometimes termed a lecture circle or council ring, to the large and elaborate in the form of outdoor theater or amphitheater. The elementary expressions are to be found in many parks, while the more extensive developments are apt to occur in large parks appealing to more than local interest, or in metropolitan parks where local or civic interest is well defined. The locating of the intimate circle or ring is largely a matter of proximity to use-demand, as represented by a cabin or camp group, or other such point of concentration within the park. A small plot preferably generally level, but failing that, not too rugged or precipitous, is the only topographic requirement. The larger amphitheater, in its several varying manifestations, should on the other hand be located in a natural bowl wherever possible. Unless existing contours truly invite such development, a remoulding of them to create a natural effect is apt to require an amount of work disproportionate to the gain. If anything short of accomplishment of complete naturalness results from a remoulding of topography in creation of an amphitheater, the park area is burdened with a disfiguring scar that should be rigidly avoided.The minor campfire circle or ring is merely the provision of seating around the community campfire, where the evening hours may be passed with song and story in the warmth of good comradeship and the friendly fire. The campfire is the sole physical essential of this foregathering place in the open. It is often given a fixity of location by the building of seats around it, particularly if conditions of climate or insect life make sitting on the ground unadvisable. Such seating may be merely logs or some more sophisticated adaptation of them, or again may be boulders or masonry construction, where stone is the more abundant native material. But there are no fixed principles, no traditions to be pressed, beyond admonishing an attention to the claims of the immediate natural environment.The principles applicable to the creation of amphitheaters or outdoor theaters are numerous. Probably paramount are the considerations of sight lines and acoustics, here quite as important as for the enclosed auditorium. Many will at first thought regard acoustics as not of the problem, but these should not fail to appreciate that hills and mountains, water surfaces, woods and forests, deflect and echo sound in accordance with their own laws, no less than do man-made surroundings, and call for just as much study and advance consideration.It is important that the stage be to the east or north, so that the audience will not face the afternoon sun. A distant view as background for the stage platform is greatly to be desired, or better still a picturesque cliff as at Pine Mountain, in Kentucky. If these do not exist, a background of trees should be sought. The amphitheater should be encircled by trees, to screen it from view and provide all possible shade for the audience, and to act as barrier against the disturbing noises of other park activities.The outdoor stage is often merely a platform, the distant view or a near-by stand of trees serving as a backdrop. If these are lacking, or some required use of the stage demands it, an artificial background of rustic construction, or of planting, or a combination of the two is created. When the showing of motion pictures is an activity, the extent of the structural background will be dictated by the size of the picture screen. The screen should be removable in winter, should be recessed for some measure of protection, and supplemented with dark canvas curtains to be drawn over it when pictures are not being shown. Where dramatic entertainment is to be offered, some provision of dressing room space is necessary. The stage of the amphitheater, being the focal point, must be outstandingly representative of park character. No

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date May 31, 2023
Metadata Updated Date June 5, 2024

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI EDI

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date May 31, 2023
Metadata Updated Date June 5, 2024
Publisher National Park Service
Identifier NPS_DataStore_2224857
Data First Published 2015-11-01T12:00:00Z
Data Last Modified 2015-11-01
Category geospatial
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 010:24
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Data Quality True
Harvest Object Id d096455c-c2dd-449b-bd1e-6ddfc012ee1d
Harvest Source Id 52bfcc16-6e15-478f-809a-b1bc76f1aeda
Harvest Source Title DOI EDI
Homepage URL
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial -84.0139,35.42586,-83.0425,35.84241
Program Code 010:118, 010:119
Publisher Hierarchy White House > U.S. Department of the Interior > National Park Service
Related Documents,,,,,
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 2ad412b66897bea135972f3b9f283d0e3c2bf093cd2c0c3e13efcb1ec472658e
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial {"type": "Polygon", "coordinates": -84.0139, 35.42586, -84.0139, 35.84241, -83.0425, 35.84241, -83.0425, 35.42586, -84.0139, 35.42586}
Temporal 2018-11-15T12:00:00Z/2018-11-15T12:00:00Z

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