>Ann Kelch has helped to open the campground each spring and close it every winter for more than 40 years.

“My in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Kelch, would come to the Smoky Mountains on vacation, and they decided that they wanted to come to Tennessee,” Ann says. “So in ’65, they bought this piece of property and started the KOA campgrounds. In august they bought their franchise, and in June they had they had their first camper.”

Back then, the campground consisted of a building in the middle of a field.

“The campers were very small, pop-ups and a few travel trailers, and over the years it’s changed to huge big motor homes and big 5th wheels,” says Ann.
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