Posts Tagged ‘Wilderness Wildlife Week’

Pigeon Forge’s Wilderness Wildlife Sets Attendance Record in New Home

Program visitation at LeConte Event Center totals 27,800

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (February 2014) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and numerous outdoor recreation topics, relocated to the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge the last week of January and set a program attendance record of 27,800.

This was the 24th year for Wilderness Wildlife Week and its first year in the new, city-owned $45 million LeConte Event Center.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

“We booked more than 320 programs over eight days, plus a series of hikes and excursions. Total attendance for the programs, hikes and excursions totaled 27,800, an increase of 3,200 from our previous best year,” said Butch Helton, manager of special events for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

That was despite a day of inclement weather that cut into local visitation and reduced the number of hikes available.

“The LeConte Event Center was busy every day, and we had 546 hikers who enjoyed winter outings in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Helton said.

Hike organizers reported that the hikers covered 2,588 miles during the week. This was the 10th year hiking records were kept, and the cumulative total of miles hiked is 26,406.

The week’s programs included photography workshops, wildlife lectures, mountain music mini-concerts, crafts classes and special sessions for children.

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

A special series of trout programs was added this year.

A special series of trout programs was added this year.

New for 2014 was a daylong series of programs about mountain trout, fly-fishing and fly-tying. Southern Trout, an online magazine, lined up the experts for those presentations.

Visitors came from throughout the U.S., plus the U.K. and Canada.

“It’s easier to list the states from which we didn’t have visitors,” Helton said. “We have visitors from 41 states – all except Delaware, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma and Oregon.”

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. Dates for 2015 are Jan. 24-31.

Pigeon Forge completes Winterfest with Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuck wagon cooking, Feb. 19-23.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is at www.MyPigeonForge.com or by calling 800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

 

Pigeon Forge Expands Wilderness Wildlife Week to 320 Programs, 55 Hikes

24th annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park scheduled Jan. 25-Feb. 1

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2014) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, January’s highlight event for Pigeon Forge Winterfest, is growing to 320 indoor programs and 55 hikes, excursions and tours into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It also is moving into a new home, the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, a $45 million special events facility in the heart of town.

The 24th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week is Jan. 25-Feb. 1. It is organized and presented by the City of Pigeon Forge, and admission is free to all activities.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

When Pigeon Forge launched Wilderness Wildlife Week, there were only four programs on a single Saturday afternoon. It now fills eight days.

“Wilderness Wildlife Week is one of our signature events. It is a time for people to learn about many aspects of the outdoor world, about the culture of the Southern Appalachians and about the people who make this area special,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The week’s indoor events include photography workshops, lectures, mountain music mini-concerts and demonstrations.

New for 2014 is a daylong series of programs about mountain trout, fly-fishing and fly-tying on Feb. 1. Southern Trout, an online magazine, lined up the experts for those presentations.

The week’s outdoor activities include owl prowls, a photo trek in Cades Cove, a four-mile walk through the Elkmont historic district and a strenuous 11-mile hike to Mt. Cammerer. Round trip transportation to the hikes’ trailheads is provided.

The lineup of programs is different every day.

Among them are “Southern Bears,” “Taking Great Cell Phone Photos,” “Wildflower Folklore,” “Learn To Use Map and Compass,” “Hosting Hummingbirds” and “Songs of the Carter Family.”

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

There are special programs for children, ones about the heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains and several devoted to improving your photography skills. Some of the region’s top nature photographers lead the photo programs.

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,” Downey said. “We have so many ways to connect you to our beautiful part of the country.”

Wilderness Wildlife Week in 2013 drew people from 26 states, Washington, D.C., Australia, China 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. 19-23.

Wilderness Wildlife Week details, 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.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

 

Pigeon Forge Winterfest Kickoff Set for Nov. 12 at Patriot Park

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (July 24, 2013) – Pigeon Forge, Tenn., will launch its 24th annual Winterfest celebration Nov. 12 with festivities in Patriot Park that conclude with the illumination of five million Winterfest lights throughout the city and a fireworks display.

The lead-up to the evening’s activities will be the city’s third annual Salute to Veterans Parade on the Parkway.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest is a mixture of holiday celebrations, themed special events and millions of decorative lights. That combination created a new visitor season for Pigeon Forge when Winterfest started in 1990.

After the Winterfest Kickoff, businesses throughout the city offer special activities, theaters add a Christmas flair to their shows for two months and the city itself presents two major special events in January and February – Wilderness Wildlife Week and Saddle Up.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest continues through Feb. 28, 2014, offering winter activity throughout this gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Among the events on the calendar:

  • Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 9-Dec. 30), with a variety of Christmas shows, holiday foods, crafts and a park-wide display of another four million holiday lights to complement those in the city;
  • Watch for snow to fall over the Titanic Museum Attraction through November and December.
  • Trolley Tour of Lights (Monday-Friday nights from Nov. 12-Dec. 31), narrated rides through Pigeon Forge on the Fun Time Trolley system to see all of the major Winterfest light displays
  • Wilderness Wildlife Week (Jan. 25-Feb. 1, 2014), a city-sponsored week of special programs about Great Smoky Mountains National Park and numerous other outdoor topics at the new LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge;
  • Saddle Up! (Feb. 19-23), a city-sponsored celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and the American West at the new LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

Complete visitor information about Pigeon Forge is available online at www.MyPigeonForge.com or by calling 1-800-251-9100.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR
tadkinson@bohanideas.com
615-341-8796

 

2012 Was Very, Very Good for Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park rose to 9,685,828 in 2012. That’s a 7.5 percent jump, making 2012 the biggest year since the 10.1 million visitors in 2000, which remains the record.

Park management credited mild weather last winter and spring as a big factor. Every month in 2012 had more visitors than the same month in 2011.

Clear, cool, tumbling water is a hallmark of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Clear, cool, tumbling water is a hallmark of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

December’s count was 480,527, up from 471,603. That was despite the closure of the Newfound Gap Road between the Sugarlands Visitors Center and Cherokee, N.C., for all or part of six days because of ice and snow. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays brought large numbers of visitors to the park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with 800 square miles of natural beauty, is the most visited national park in the United States.

The national park is the primary focus of Wilderness Wildlife Week, a project of the City of Pigeon Forge. It offers eight days of free programming and activities about the park and numerous other outdoor topics.

Wilderness Wildlife Week takes place at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center.

‘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 www.MyPigeonForge.com/saddleup or by calling toll-free to 1-800-251-9100.