Tennessee

18 September 2015

Accessibility is a concern of proper civilizations. To be more accepting and hospitable, a society ought cater to the needs of its members; not only of varying race, ethnicity, gender, creed, or socioeconomic status, but of physical ability. While laws have been set to ensure this in many domains, accessibility is often neglected in places of natural beauty. Often times, this is due to the geography of the region—be it too steep or rocky or narrow—but more often than not, it is due to a lack of priority. I very openly support the conservation (and dare I say preservation) of natural environments, but I also support the construction of accessible structures where man has already scarred the land with concrete. If you’re going to mar the Earth, at least mar it in a way that is beneficial to all people. Clingman’s Dome abides by this mantra.

 

After departing Georgia’s roof, I drove north to the eastern border of Tennessee. After driving up another mountain and parking in a crowded lot, I hiked a short and paved path to the summit. There, the path sloped into a wide concrete spiral that led gradually to the flying saucer-shaped lookout tower. It was an elegant structure that incited a sense of wonder. While the Internet could tell you why and how it was built, our imaginations are immediately spurred upon seeing it. Like an unidentified object in the sky, the tower makes us consider the future. Both in the excitement of the unknown and a symbol of social progress, the summit is accessible to all.

 

Clingmans Dome. 6643 ft / 2025 m. 24 May 2014.

 

Tennessee