The Great Smoky Mountains Association and the Friends of Hunter Library present “Kephart: A Librarian’s Effort to Create a National Park” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26.

The co-authors of “Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography,” George Ellison and Janet McCue, will speak on the main floor of Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library, along with George Frizzell, former archivist of Hunter Library’s Special Collections.

Following the hour-long discussion moderated by WCU professor Mae Claxton, guests are invited to an open house in Special Collections to view items in the Kephart Collection.

An icon of the Southern Appalachian region known for the books “Camping and Woodcraft” (1906) and “Our Southern Highlanders” (1913), Kephart was instrumental in efforts to establish the Appalachian Trail along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. But Kephart is perhaps best known for his decade-long crusade to help protect the Smokies as a national park. For Kephart, this campaign represented a personal commitment.

“I owe my life to these mountains and I want them preserved so that others may profit from them,” he wrote.

For more information about “Back of Beyond,” other GSMA publications, membership and volunteer opportunities, visit