Pigeon Forge Packs 304 Events Into Wilderness Wildlife Week 2013

Saturday, December 29, 2012 - by Tom Adkinson

When Pigeon Forge launched Wilderness Wildlife Week 22 years ago, there were only four programs on a single Saturday afternoon.

The upcoming 23rd annual winter event will last eight days and will feature 304 workshops, lectures, panel discussions, mini-concerts, hikes and excursions to draw attention to the neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a variety of other outdoor destinations and topics.

The dates are Jan. 12-19. Programs, all of which are free, are at the Music Road Hotel Convention Center.

While the vast majority of Wilderness Wildlife Week programs are indoors, there are 44 hikes and excursions on the calendar. They range from a photo trek in Cades Cove to a four-mile walk through the Elkmont historic district to a strenuous 11-mile hike to Mt. Cammerer. Round trip transportation to the hikes’ trailheads is provided.

Sam Venable, author and columnist for The Knoxville News Sentinel, is the keynote speaker on Jan. 12. His topic is “How To Tawlk and Rite Good: An Introduction to the Native Tongue of Southern Appalachia.”

Of the 260 programs, 142 are new for 2013, and the lineup is different every day.

Among them are “Wonderful Waterfalls of Tennessee,” “Being Bear Smart,” “Searching for Panthers in the Smokies,” “Wild Hog Management in Great Smoky Mountains National Park” and “Advanced Possomology” (songs and stories about possums presented by folklorist Doug Elliott).

There are 32 special programs about the heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains. Among them are programs about the Civilian Conservation Corps and its impact on the national park.

Nineteen programs are designed especially for children. Their topics include the basics of outdoor photography, learning to hike, what’s special about owls and knowing how to behave if you encounter a bear.

There is a series of nature photography workshops – both about taking pictures and editing images – led by some of the region’s most accomplished photographers.

More than 200 experts – nature photographers, biologists, raptor rehabilitators, social historians, musicians and just plain folks who grew up in the Smokies – donate their time to lead Wilderness Wildlife Week programs.

“The week is extremely flexible. You can come just for one program, for one day or for the whole week,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which organizes the event. “We have 304 ways to connect you to our beautiful part of the country.”

Wilderness Wildlife Week in 2012 drew people for 33 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, England and New Zealand.

Wilderness Wildlife Week, named 10 times as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, is a part of Pigeon Forge Winterfest, which starts in November and goes through February.

Pigeon Forge completes Winterfest with Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuck wagon cooking, Feb. 21-24.

Wilderness Wildlife Week details, including the program schedule and hike information, are at www.MyPigeonForge.com/wildlife. Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is at www.MyPigeonForge.com or by calling 800 251-9100.



Airbnb Announces Home Sharing Tax Agreement With Tennessee

Airbnb, a community driven hospitality company, announced a statewide tax agreement with the Tennessee Department of Revenue that will allow the company to collect and remit state and local sales taxes on behalf of its 7,700 Tennessee hosts.   With the tax agreement in place, the state will be able to fully capitalize on people visiting Tennessee and staying longer ... (click for more)

A Party In The Sky Celebrates Natural Aviators With IMAX Film, Crafts, Games And Animal Encounters

From Atlas Beetles’ ponderous lift off to Starlings’ gracefully synchronized aerial maneuvering, Conquest of the Skies 3D  covers the full gamut of natural flight. On  Jan. 27 , the newest film to fill the IMAX 3D Theater’s six-story screen gets even more incredible thanks to A Party in the Sky. This one-time event will feature pre- and post-screening activities that ... (click for more)

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, Shot Early Sunday Morning On Lillian Lane

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, were shot early Sunday morning.   Chattanooga Police were notified at 4:39 a.m. of two people arriving at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. Upon arrival, police spoke with the two victims who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The victims arrived at the hospital via personal vehicle.   ... (click for more)

From Green Window Shutters To Forks And Spoons, Mount Vernon Restaurant Up For Auction

From the green wooden window shutters to the forks, knives and spoons, the landmark Mount Vernon Restaurant is up for auction. Marc Gravitt, of Gravitt Auction, said there will be an online auction starting Thursday morning and running through Saturday at noon. It will be handled as a "staggered close," he said. The first item will go first, then the second 30 seconds later, ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s The ‘Super’ Done?

The headline on Jan. 10 in the Times Free Press read, “Report shows Hamilton County students still lagging behind Tennessee peers.” In smaller type underneath, the sub-head added, “Less than 33 percent of county elementary, middle school students read at grade level.” Then, just seven days later, this on Friday, the same newspaper bannered, “Hamilton County Schools superintendent ... (click for more)