Great Smoky Mountains National Park geographic information system specialists and scientists in collaboration with scientists from Tennessee, North Carolina, and the United States Geological Survey completed a three-year stream mapping project.
Although the more than half million acre park straddling the North Carolina and Tennessee border is the most visited National Park in the country, recently hosting 10 million visitors last year, it is largely unexplored.
Scientists discovered the park contains about 900 more miles of streams than originally thought through recent exploration.
Park scientists used a combination of aircraft-mounted scanners and a Global Positioning System verification system to re-inventory streams throughout the park.
Using this modern mapping technology, scientists determined the park contains 2,900 miles of streams. Of these, 1,073 miles of streams are large enough to support fish.
Previously, using topographic maps, the scientists estimated there to be approximately 2,000 miles of streams in the park.
Aquatic life in the Smokies comes to about 1500 species which includes insects such as mayflies and stoneflies, snails, worms, crustaceans, amphibians and fish.