Tennessee and North Carolina have something to brag about, according to WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn.

Out of all the national parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the top 2008 money maker. This is according to a National Park Service (NPS) report generated by Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.

With $800 million in revenues for surrounding communities, the park beat out all the other leading national parks, including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Blue Ridge Parkway and Yosemite.

The park also ranks 5th in the amount of payroll available to be spent by its employees ($14,213,000.)

This would be good news to the founders of the park who set out 75 years ago with a dual goal of perserving the wildlife and bringing more money to that part of Appalachia.

In a press release, Smokies Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said, “By choosing not to build hotels, restaurants, gas stations and the like inside the park, we have been able to minimize the impact of those facilities on the park while maximizing the opportunity for local communities to offer whatever goods and service visitors might want or need.”