Area Articles

Posts Tagged ‘ Sevierville ’

Park Plans Controlled Burn in Cades Cove

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Great Smoky Mountains National Park fire management officials plan to conduct a controlled burn of an 80-acre field east of Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove. Weather permitting, burn operations will occur on Wednesday, March 25.

The selected field will be burned as part of a cost-effective strategy to prevent the open fields from being reclaimed by forest. These seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native herbaceous species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife including deer, turkeys, and ground nesting birds.

“By conducting controlled burns, we are able to maintain the openness of the cove to preserve and maintain its historic character while also reducing non-native species,” said Fire Management Specialist Dave Loveland.

The Park contracts to mow about 1,000 acres of fields that are clearly visible from the Cades Cove Loop Road annually. Other fields that are less visible from the loop road, totaling around 1,500 acres, are kept open by burning or mowing on a three-year rotation.

The loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitor use, but brief delays and temporary closures of side roads may occur to ensure public safety during burn operations.  Park staff will be present to answer questions during operations at overlooks and parking areas.

Visitors should expect to see fire activity and smoke during controlled burn operations. Fire managers ask that motorists reduce speed in work zones, but refrain from stopping in the roadways. If smoke is present, roll your windows up and turn on your headlights.

For more information on the use of prescribed burns in Great Smoky Mountains NP, visit our website

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It is Time to Welcome Home Sevier County N­­ative, Dolly Parton!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

This year, the Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade will celebrate thirty years of welcoming home Sevier County’s famous Dolly Parton! The parade is full of incredible floats, wonderful marching bands, exciting entertainers and the Grand Marshall, Dolly Parton.

Over 50,000 people line the edges of the parkway to take in the creativity of local businesses, groups and schools from the community and celebrate Dolly! The event is completely free! Be sure to arrive early and find a spot!

The parade begins at 6 pm EST on May 1, 2015. The route begins on the Parkway at traffic light #6 and ends at traffic light #3. The route will head north. Be advised that traffic will be heavy during this time.

Come out and celebrate with all of Sevier County as we welcome home Dolly!

Dolly Parton Fun Facts:

  • In 1995, Dolly launched the Imagination Library which provides a monthly book to every child born in Sevier County. The books are age appropriate and children receive these books up to age five. The program is now available across the US, Canada and Australia. Over 800,000 children receive free books each month thanks to this incredible program!
  • Dolly Parton is the godmother of Miley Cyrus, whose cousin Bobby Cyrus owns Cyrus Family Theater in Pigeon Forge.
  • Dolly has written roughly 5,000 songs since the tender age of seven.

Buddy Bear LOVES Dolly Parton! He is very excited about the parade!

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Lumberjack Feud Brings National Dog Competition to Pigeon Forge

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Lumberjack Feud partners with DockDogs® sports league to host wildcard qualifier.

Lumberjack Feud Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee will be hosting the first Lumberjack Feud DockDogs® Wild Card Challenge May 8-10, 2015. The weekend will be an open qualifier offering competitors a wildcard position in the DockDog® World Championships. Lumberjack Feud athletes will also be exhibiting lumberjack sporting events during the competition. This is the first event of its kind in Pigeon Forge, attracting hundreds of new visitors to the area.

The qualifier will showcase over a hundred canine competitors and will be free for the public to attend. Events include Outdoor Big Air™, Extreme Vertical™, Speed Retrieve®, and Iron Dog™. The competition will begin at 8:30 AM EST and conclude by 4:00 PM each day to give attendees time to see all that Pigeon Forge has to offer. The event is sponsored by Lumberjack Feud, DockDogs® and Zukes®.

The Lumberjack Feud is a unique dinner show experience in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee offering its guests real athletes, real competition, and real family fun. The ESPN athlete Lumberjacks, chainsaw-wielding Lumberjills, and World Champion Timber Dogs compete in 18 thrilling lumberjack sporting events including speed climbing and log rolling.

Photo by Jim Zelasko Credit to DockDogs®

To register your dog to compete please visit For more information on the event please call Lumberjack Feud at 865-428-8688 or visit

For more information on the greater Pigeon Forge area, click here!

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18th Annual Sevier County Job Fair is Wednesday, March 18th!

Friday, March 6th, 2015

The 18th Annual Sevier County Job Fair is Wednesday March 18, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Pigeon Forge.

There are two sessions for the job fair:
Session one
8 am – 11 am: Non-Tourism Opportunities
This session will have information on Manufacturing, Banking/Finance, Healthcare, Police/Firemen, etc.

Session two
1 pm – 5 pm: Tourism-related Opportunities
This session will have Summer and part-time positions, hotels/Motels, restaurants, attractions, etc.

Career coaches will be present at 10 am to assist with resume development!

For more information, please contact Sevier County Economic Development at 865-428-2212 or email

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All Streams in the Smokies Now Open to Fishing

Friday, March 6th, 2015
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the reopening of Lynn Camp Prong to fishing effective March 6, 2015 following a seven-year native, brook trout restoration project. The reopening of the 8.5 mile-stream sections marks the first time, since the park’s establishment in 1934, that all streams in the park are open to fishing.

By preserving a healthy, reproducing population of brook trout, the park not only ensures the long-term protection of a unique species, but also the opportunity for future generations to experience and preserve the Southern Appalachian tradition, heritage, and culture associated with brook trout fishing. Southern Appalachian brook trout are the only trout species native to the southern Appalachian Mountains and are genetically unique from brook trout found north of New River, VA. In the southeast, less than 5% of all areas formerly occupied by brook trout prior to European settlement remain. Select park streams provide a unique opportunity to restore, protect, and preserve native brook trout habitat for the entire region.

“The opening of all streams in the park to recreational fishing marks an incredible milestone for the park and speaks to the commitment and dedication of our biologists and partners in restoring fish populations in the Smokies,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash.

The park has 2,900 miles of streams, of which an estimated 20% are large enough to support trout populations. Rainbow trout occupy 15.2% of these streams followed by brook trout which are found in 8.6% of the streams and brown trout which are found in 4.6% of the streams. Brook trout lost 75% of their former range in the park after prolific logging in the early 1900s left streams silted and degraded. Throughout the early part of the 20th century, non-native rainbow and brown trout were introduced to park streams to provide fishing opportunities. These trout quickly outcompeted and displaced native brook trout throughout many park streams. In the last 30 years, acid rain has further reduced trout populations at elevations above 3,000 feet due to low stream pH. Since 1986, park biologists have restored brook trout to 27.1 miles of 11 different streams in the park greatly expanding their range. These restoration efforts were made possible with support from hundreds of local volunteers and including volunteer groups such as Trout Unlimited, Federation of Fly Fishers, Friends of the Smokies, and local universities.

Using data from long-term monitoring and a recent study, fisheries biologists have determined that recreational fishing under current park regulations has no population level effect on brook trout populations ( In addition to fish restoration projects, park biologists are also working hard to improve water quality across park streams. Continued efforts to improve water quality and restore native fish populations will expand habitat for all fish species and these fish-bearing streams will provide a unique mountain fishing experience for visitors of all ages well into the future. For more information about the fisheries program in the park, please visit the park website at .

Current park fishing regulations include a 7-inch size limit, 5 fish possession limit and the use of single hook, artificial lures only. For more information about fishing regulations, please visit the park website at (

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Lumberjack Feud Unveils New Logger’s Mountain Meal

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Lumberjack Feud remodels kitchen, unveils new menu ahead of Spring season.

Lumberjack Feud unveils new logger’s mountain meal.

Lumberjack Feud Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee will have a new menu beginning Wednesday, March 11, 2015. As Lumberjack Feud has continued to grow, the show conducted extensive surveying of attendees to produce a menu that will provide guests an improved experience. Lumberjack Feud is looking forward to a great year of action-packed excitement and a delicious Logger’s Mountain Meal.

The Logger’s Mountain Meal will consist of McGraw’s Seasoned Chicken, Roasted Red Potato, Cookie’s Corn on the Cob, Lumberjill Biscuit, Lumberjack Camp Soup, and Dawson’s Delicious Dessert.

Lumberjack Feud will be closed March 9-10, 2015 in preparation of the premiere of the new menu. They will open with two shows at 5:00PM and 8:15PM on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

The Lumberjack Feud is a unique dinner show experience in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee offering its guests real athletes, real competition, and real family fun. The ESPN athlete Lumberjacks, chainsaw-wielding Lumberjills, and World Champion Timber Dogs compete in 18 thrilling lumberjack sporting events including speed climbing and log rolling.

For more information or to make reservations, please call Lumberjack Feud at 865-428-8688 or visit

Click here to sign up for our quarterly Visitor E-Newsletter!

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Indoor Activities for Snow Days!

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! The Smoky Mountains are gorgeous with white capped peaks and glistening snow. Usually, the lower elevations get little accumulation, however, when ice and heavy snow sets in, it can cause a bit of cabin fever! Looking for something to keep your family entertained indoors while on vacation? Check out some of these fun family indoor activities that require little to no elements!

Build a fort – Fort building is tons of fun! Anything can be incorporated into the construction of the structure! Use the comforter and the chairs. Have a ton of those plastic party cups? Use those for a fortress wall! Creativity can lead to awesome forts!

Blow bubbles – Give the kids a cup with water, a straw and soap. Have a race to see who can get their bubble mountain to the top first! Try using other containers you have access to and see which one works the best.

Letter or number doodles – Draw a letter or number whatever size you want on a piece of paper. See what kind of creations can come from those. Can the letter P become a penguin? Bonus points if the creation starts with the letter or has the same number as the number drawn. At the end, have an art show! Why not try to do the whole alphabet?

This letter artist is turning the letter D into a jellyfish.

The finished work of art!

Paper plane contest – Paper airplanes aren’t just for passing notes. See who can create a plane that will fly the furthest. Decorate the planes to make them exciting. Have a plane showcase!

Indoor picnic – Instead of having everyone gather at the table for lunch or go their separate ways in the cabin, why not have an indoor picnic? Throw down a comforter or towel, put together some family style plates and have a picnic!

Dance party – Have something that will play music like a smartphone, laptop, radio or TV? Then you have all the requirements for a super fun family dance party! Let the kids take turns in the middle showing off their skills!

Sing off – Same thing applies! Any song can become a karaoke sing off! Look up karaoke songs on YouTube or sing along to your favorites. Bonus points for getting into full character and dressing up.

Learn something new – If you have internet access while stuck inside, learn a new skill! There are hundreds of thousands of tutorials online. Why not have the family learn the alphabet in sign language?

What does your family do to pass the time when you’re snowed in? Tell us below!


Record Visitation Continues in 2015 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Record setting visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues in 2015, with 351,670 visitors enjoying the park in January.  The National Park Service has maintained monthly visitation records since 1979. Since that time, visitation has never exceeded 351,000 in the month of January.

Visitation was up at all major park entrances as well as the park’s outlying areas. This increase was noticeable at the park’s visitor centers, especially at Oconaluftee in North Carolina.  The staff at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center welcomed 12,658 visitors in January, a 51% increase over 2014. Sugarlands Visitor Center staff saw a 13% increase in visitation compared to 2014.

The record month comes on the heels of the park’s busiest year in 14 years.  In 2014, 10,099,275 visitors enjoyed the national park, an 8% increase over 2013. The numbers were spurred by strong July and August visitation as well as the highest October visitation in 27 years.

“I am honored to join the Smokies staff in welcoming visitors to enjoy this special place,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “In my short time here, I’ve been able to see firsthand just how much people care about the park and I look forward to continuing to work with our communities and partners to serve our visitors and protect these mountains for the next generation to enjoy as we have.”

The national park not only welcomed a record number of visitors in January 2015, it also officially crossed a milestone in visitation. Since 1931, when the park’s first Superintendent, Major J. Ross Eakin arrived in the Smokies, over 500 million visitors have enjoyed Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Only the Blue Ridge Parkway and Golden Gate National Recreation Area have hosted more visitors during their existence.

For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at


2nd Annual Recycling Games Event at Wilderness at the Smokies Resort

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Event Offers Opportunity for General Public to buy one-day tickets to waterpark only for $15; Proceeds will benefit Keep Sevier Beautiful and Sevier County Food Ministry

With winter in full swing, the Wilderness at the Smokies’ waterpark resort is offering a fun event on Sunday, March 1 that will offer a chance for non-resort guests to enjoy its indoor waterpark, teach children some important tips about recycling and helping the environment in a fun setting, and assist two local charities with funding.

Beginning at 1 p.m. on March 1, individuals will be able to purchase a $15 ticket to enjoy the Wild WaterDome indoor waterpark at Wilderness at the Smokies; the ticket price is for both adults and children ages three and older, as the money from the day’s ticket sales will benefit two local non-profit organizations:  Keep Sevier Beautiful and the Sevier County Food Bank.  The Wild WaterDome is normally only available to resort guests, but this event will allow others to enjoy a fun summer experience in the middle of winter and help great local charities at the same time.  The waterpark will remain open until 8 p.m. that evening.

From 1-3 p.m., the 2nd annual “Recycling Games” event will feature sponsors Alcoa, Food City, Tanger Outlets in Sevierville, Hard Rock Café in Pigeon Forge, the Mountain Press, Pepsi, the Sevier County Food Ministry Thrift Shop and Keep Sevier Beautiful highlighting fun facts about recycling and how children and families can make a difference by stepping up their environmental efforts in easy ways.  The first 500 children who participate in the recycling portion of the event will receive a goody bag with items from each of the sponsors.

Keep Sevier Beautiful’s Executive Director Laura Howard says that this year’s recycling event at Wilderness at the Smokies coincides with the kickoff of the Great American Cleanup, which is Keep America Beautiful’s flagship event.  “The Great American Cleanup creates a way for organizations like Keep Sevier Beautiful to bring opportunities for environmental education and positive behavior change to a local level  and to engage our residents to take greater responsibility for our beautiful area. One of our goals this year is to provide more educational programs and events for area children and families, and this event being put on by Wilderness will make that possible – we are excited to be able to have some much needed funds to put on programming that educates our area’s families about the importance of a variety of efforts that will build, sustain and create positive change in our community.”

Jim Davis, Executive Director of Sevier County Food Ministries, says the timing for a cash donation from the Wilderness at the Smokies event could not be better.  “After the holidays, the need greatly increases and our supplies significantly shrink to serve our area’s hungry.  As it did last year after the inaugural event, the monies Sevier County Food Ministries receives from this event will help get us through the rest of this winter.”

Park Seeks Tennessee Volunteers Interested in Citizen Science

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are seeking volunteers to help with an important research project. In an effort to do a better job of tracking nature’s calendar, or phenology, park rangers are recruiting volunteers who are willing to adopt a tree monitoring plot in areas throughout the Tennessee side of the park.  A tree phenology monitoring training will be held on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Twin Creeks Science & Education Center in Gatlinburg, TN.  After training, volunteers will be assigned to a phenology plot for which they will collect data multiple times throughout the growing season.  Plots up for “adoption” are located near parking areas in the Cades Cove, Elkmont, Sugarlands, Greenbrier, Twin Creeks, Newfound Gap and Davenport Gap regions of the park.

Information collected by volunteers will go into a national database that helps answer questions such as “was spring early this year?” or “when will the fall colors peak?” Monitoring phenology will help park rangers to understand how earlier springs and cold snaps impact our mountain forests.

If you are interested in signing up for the training on Saturday, February 28, 2015 for this exciting volunteer opportunity, please contact:

Sarah Hitzemann
Citizen Science Assistant
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Americorps Education Intern
(865) 436-1290

For more information about phenology research efforts across the country visit—Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
National Phenology Network:

Volunteers learn how to collect tree phenology data for an on-going study in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


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