check out VRBO.com... i never have a problem finding a nice cabin here for 120/night or less. the cabins with big mountain views can be more expensive but i bet you could find something.
Be careful with cabins with views. They are being built in unsustainable numbers and are destroying the landscape of the Smokies region. Look at extensive pictures of any property you are considering staying at to ensure that there's adequate forest coverage around the cabin and not excessive cutting in front of it to ensure views--so that you don't end up by coming to see the gorgeous scenery here, destroying it.
Blue-I never thought of it like that. I mean, I knew some cutting was done to build cabins obviously, but I guess I just (selfishly) assumed that they were built with the views already there. Thanks for the new perspective!
I agree it can be hard to get a perspective on the area. If you start out in the cabins the views seem like the most natural thing in the world. My grandpa's house is built on a ridge and I go there all the time. It wasn't til I spent a lot of time tramping around in the woods around the ridge I realized how destructive his neighborhood is. Same goes (in a smaller scale) for my own neighborhood, built on a tall hill. Of course, me visiting my grandpa doesn't really change anything up there, but if people stop staying in cabins that cut away too much of the land, those cabins won't be built anymore.
I have to agree with Blue. There are SOME developments I've seen (mainly in recent years) that looks like the developer tried to pack as many cabins on one mountaintop as humanly possible, with no regard to the trees that were there originally. I mean, a logical person would think we are exaggerating when we say this, but I saw one "cabin development" on top of a mountain that didn't look to have enough room to park a car between each cabin. The irony here is, the park was started in PART to help save the cutting down of the trees that was taking part for lumber. When I've seen those kinds of developments, I tend to think the only reason a developer would do something like that is to make a quick buck and move on to the next place. I wouldn't be surprised if those kinds of things are being done in large part by folks from some other place than the Smokies. Having said all that, I've found it difficult to find out exactly where a cabin is located prior to actually renting in the past. I mean, you'll have an idea of general location, but I don't recall any company volunteering info like how many trees were knocked down, but then again I don't think I've asked. Blue's point is well taken.
Of course, if you can nab pictures of the surroundings of the cabin the nature of the development should usually be clear. If it's all trees, even some in front, then its permissible. If its a bunch of cabins, probably not.
Chances are if you rent a place on the TN side the footprint of the cabin is small as the lots are often small less than an acre. Not cabins all are like that. The There are virtually no developments that clear cut the land for a view on the NC side of the Smokies, meaning places where cabin after cabin is stacked upon one another. Maggie Valley has had some landslide issues with a few places over there recently, but other than that, many places here are on lots of 1 acre or greater. My cabins sit on land sizes anywhere between 1.75 to 5 acres.
i will remind Blu of one tiny fact. nearly 100 years ago the Smokies were completely logged over, clear cut..nothing left standing. Now the region is one of the most biological diverse places in North America. The land is a bit more resiliant than many environmental groups give it credit for being. Honestly, cutting a small swath of trees for a view does not make a big difference. It opens area for grasses, butterflies, foraging areas for song birds and so forth, just look at the wildlife on the edges of the balds, fields of cades of cove or Cataloochee. There are some ecological benefits in creating grassy areas amongst the forests.
Good words. Cabins make great use if the land if built in the right way in the right proportions. It's mainly the complexes on the Tennessee side with whole rows of cabins on ridges that I think concern people who have an attachment to the beauty of this region, not the more solitary ones. This doesn't mean to avoid cabins, of course. The day I look for a cabin for family or what not, I'll just make sure that it is one on a decent amount of land, well secluded, that doesn't scar the landscape.
And your point about the reversibility of poor land use is very well stated. The places where land is used improperly aren't permanent scars on the region. They're just scars as long as we want them to be.
I must say, I like the way this conversation has progressed. You gentlemen seem to agree that while development can be a environmental disaster, it can also be done with respect to the surrounding area.
While we like to rent a cabin in preference over hotels and multi-family lodging, we once rented in a resort to accommodate the needs of the grand kids. Being in the home building business, I couldn't help but notice the watershed issues. Steep paved roads intensify the speed at which rain water travels down these slopes. While water is routed around structures, it also gains in intensity and destructive force.
If you take time to observe, many places are in a state of constant maintenance. Shoring up for erosion, cracking corners on asphalt and concrete, re-planting of foliage to hold grounds and retain moisture. All being done because far too much ground has been disturbed, far too many trees were cut down or had their root systems damaged by the running over of heavy equipment.
The best example of this destruction that comes to mind is the horrifying results of the wildfires in California. The fires clear the mountainous land, then the rains comes and sweep away every structure in the path of the resulting mud flow. Excessive rain in the Smokies has been known to dislodge TONS of rock that has been there for millions of years. I sometimes fear the worst case scenario when I see these large resorts clustered together.
In my opinion, it's not a matter of if,..but when something comes tumbling down in a heap. I hate to make the comparison, but we're dealing with the oil down in the gulf right now as a tropical depression moves in. While I realize the need for drilling and exploration, we MUST temper our zealous enthusiasm for much needed energy and wealth with an increased regard for environmental impact.
Okay, off my soapbox :-)
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