Dolly Parton named Smokies ambassador

October 3, 2008 7:46:20 AM PDT
Dolly Parton, who often refers to her Smoky Mountains upbringing, will serve as the ambassador for the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There will be events throughout 2009 celebrating Congress' approval to form the park on June 15, 1934.

Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said Thursday that Parton emerged as the obvious choice for the ambassador selection.

Parton, who grew up in the foothills of the Smokies in Tennessee's Sevier County, said she's always been an advocate for the park, but she is honored to become "official."

The 62-year-old country singer will lend her endorsement through media announcements and publications and has written an album titled "Sha-Kon-O-Hey" - the phonetic spelling of the Cherokee words for "Land of Blue Smoke."