Archive for the ‘Great Smoky Mountains National Park’ Category

Pigeon Forge, Smokies To Get PBS Exposure

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (February 2012) – Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, three gateway cities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, are featured in an upcoming episode of the new PBS series “Getting Away Together.”

The episode features some of the area’s most popular attractions: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Dollywood theme park, Dollywood Cabins, Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction, the Old Mill, River Romp and the Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store.

The episode follows three generations of the Colgan family from Bedford, Ind. When Peggy and David Colgan were married in 1962, it was Peggy who insisted the couple honeymoon in the Smokies.

The two made a lifelong commitment to return to the area, a commitment the couple has honored each year. Their 50th anniversary is this summer.

The Colgans were selected from more than 250 families who submitted photographs and stories on Facebook last summer. The episode, which features all 12 Colgans, was filmed in August 2011.

“Getting Away Together” highlights the rapidly growing trend of sharing a vacation rental with friends and family.

The series airs on PBS member stations that reach almost 70 percent of the U.S. Episodes also are available at

Sevier County provides entry to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which hosts more than nine million recreational visits each year, the highest visitation of any of the 58 national parks.

Pigeon Forge Ranks #4 on TripAdvisor List

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2012) – TripAdvisor named Pigeon Forge, Tenn., No. 4 on its list of the top 15 U.S. destinations “on the rise for 2012.”

Pigeon Forge is a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and host to more than 10 million visitors every year.

Tennessee music mecca, Nashville, topped the TripAdvisor list, followed by Austin, Texas, and Fort Myers, Fla. Pensacola, Fla., was in the fifth spot behind Pigeon Forge.

“These U.S. destinations have really piqued TripAdvisor travelers’ interest over the last year, making them great options to consider as thoughts turn to vacation planning for 2012,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.

In slots six through 10 were Louisville, Ky., Branson, Mo., Scottsdale, Ariz., Saint Augustine, Fla., and Charleston, S.C.

In slots 11 through 15 were Albuquerque, N.M., Wildwood, N.J., Asheville, N.C., Park City, Utah, and Santa Cruz, Calif.

Among Pigeon Forge’s attractions are Dollywood, a dozen theaters, outlet and specialty shopping, diverse restaurants and family activities such as miniature golf and go-cart tracks.

Other recent praise for Pigeon Forge:
• A feature cited Pigeon Forge as one of its “9 Most Christmassy Towns in America.”
• Positive consumer reviews in 2011 led to a Travelers’ Choice Award for the Inn at Christmas Place from TripAdvisor when the hotel was named one of the Top 25 Hotels in the U.S. It polled sixth on that list.
• Pigeon Forge itself was named to the TripAdvisor list of the Top 10 Best Family Destinations, and the Inn at Christmas Place was named the top-reviewed family-friendly hotel in the city.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is available online at or by calling toll-free to 1-800-251-9100.

‘Wildlife Week’ Draws Guests from 33 States

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2012) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.’s, annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, expanded its reach by attracting visitors from 33 states and the District of Columbia. That’s six more states than in 2011.

In addition, travelers from New Zealand, England and Canada also registered their attendance.

“The international guests were an unexpected treat. More important, however, is that this special event appealed to travelers from so many states. That really validates the reach of tourism during Pigeon Forge Winterfest,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The 22nd annual presentation of Wilderness Wildlife Week offered 288 programs, hikes, excursions and owl prowls from Jan. 7-14.

It began in 1991 to draw attention to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to attract winter visitors.  It is part of the city’s Winterfest celebration that runs November through February.

Cumulative attendance at the week’s programs totaled 24,630, a record. Snowy weather held that figure to 18,450 in 2011.

Forty-eight hikes and excursions of varying lengths ventured into the national park and attracted 630 participants who collectively hiked 3,705 miles. Hiking mileage has been tracked for eight years, and the total now is 21,223 miles.

“Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes help people burn a lot of calories. We have 57 people who have hiked more than 100 miles with us, 10 who have hiked more than 200 miles, one who has hit 300 miles and two who have recorded 400 miles,” Downey said.

More than 150 experts in wildlife, photography, mountain history, wildflowers and other subjects volunteered their time to lead programs. All of the week’s indoor programs were at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center.

Dates for Wilderness Wildlife Week 2013 are January 12-19.

Pigeon Forge’s next special event is Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuckwagon cooking. Dates are Feb. 23-26, and details are available online at or by calling toll-free to 1-800-251-9100.