Since 1969, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont has shared the wonders of nature with hundreds of thousands of youth and adults in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A private non-profit 501(c)(3), Tremont operates through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to provide immersive overnight programs that connect people to nature and to each other.

Tremont has over 50 years of expertise in helping people discover the natural world around them. We embrace the idea of nature as not that which is untouched by humanity but where all life thrives. As such, we work each day toward a thriving planet for all.

Our mission is to deliver experiential learning for youth, educators, and adults through programs that promote self-discovery, critical thinking, and effective teaching and leadership.

We achieve our mission through:


We have a vision where people of all ages, through a connection to the world around them, come to imagine new possibilities for themselves and for the planet.

In 2019, Tremont purchased 194 acres in Townsend, Tennessee, bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park, increasing our capacity for existing programs and opening pathways for new programs, participants, and partnerships.

On this land, we are building an education center that doesn’t just do less bad for the environment but positively impacts the environment and our community.

We aim for our second campus to be Tennessee’s first Living Building Challenge certified project, and one of only a few dozen nationwide. To achieve this certification, we will meet key imperatives to promote the responsible use of water, materials and resources. We will feature innovative, clean energy technologies, generating more electricity than we use. We will treat water on site, putting clean water back into the watershed. We will restore and preserve critical habitat on our land to benefit all those that live in the shadow of the Smokies.

Our success will be a campus that integrates built and learning environments to support a thriving community living in balance with the natural world.

Reaching our bold vision will take time, and we are making progress. Starting with Phase One, we have designed indoor and outdoor education spaces to serve daily visitors, overnight school groups, and adult retreats in groups of various sizes. The flexibility allows us to meet the individual needs of each group, providing unique learning opportunities for all.

Benefits of the Second Campus

  • More students will participate in experiential environmental education.
  • New day programs will provide additional pathways for learners of all ages to experience the outdoors.
  • Adult groups will benefit from inspiring workspaces and facilitated exploration of nearby outdoor areas.
  • More individuals and schools needing financial aid will receive tuition assistance.
Program Growth Potential

Support our work through the Keystone Campaign.

We invite you to be a part of our journey. When you choose to support the Keystone Campaign, you are investing in critical education for our future.