Great Smoky Mountains the star of Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge, more than 400 programs on nature, culture and history offered.
The 25th Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week runs Jan. 24 – Jan. 31, 2015 at LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge. The event features a series of exhibits, workshops, lectures, performances and walks celebrating the beauty, wildlife, culture and history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding area. All programs during the event are free and open to the public.
The Southeast Tourism Society has ten times named Wilderness Wildlife Week a Top 20 Event and nearly 28,000 people from 41 states across the nation attended the event last year.
For 2015, Wilderness Wildlife Week has more than 400 programs scheduled over the 8-day event. Participants can find programs appropriate for every age and activity level, including a special Kids’ Track program of workshops. There will also be a vendor/exhibit hall open and a variety of Appalachian music presentations each day. Over 200 nature photographers, biologists, historians, artists and crafters, musicians, authors, raptor rehabilitators, storytellers and locals who grew up in the Smokies volunteer their time to lead the diverse schedule of programs.
This year it offers 66 hikes and excursions in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding region. According to event organizers, 550 hikers logged 2,588 miles last year.
View the Wilderness Wildlife Week 2015 Schedule. Space is limited in some of the programs, so ask about pre-registration to ensure your spot.
Sure to be highlights of the event are re-enactments from conservationist John Muir and President Teddy Roosevelt’s 1903 camping trip in the Yosemite wilderness where they discussed the fate of America’s wild places and shared stories of their adventures. Actors Lee Stetson, portraying Muir, and Alan Sutterfield as Roosevelt will present “The Tramp and the Roughrider: An Evening at Glacier Point” on Jan. 24 and “The Tramp and the Roughrider: The Last Night Camping at Bridalveil Meadow” on Jan. 25.
“Next year marks the centennial of the National Park Service, so this program has special significance,” said Butch Helton, manager of special events for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which presents Wilderness Wildlife Week.
The Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair returns for its second year. Presented by Southern Trout Magazine, the fair will be on Jan. 31, 2015 and have seminars on the topics:
- Fly Fishing 101
- South Holston River Trout
- Traditional Flies of the Smokies
- Kayak Fishing 101
- Fontana Backcountry Trout
- Bamboo Rods
- Southern Appalachian Fly Fishing Museum
- Blue Lining off the Wireless Grid
- Backcountry Cooking
There will be fly tying demonstrations and booths manned by a number of groups include Project Healing Waters, Casting for Recovery and Trout Unlimited.
Don Kirk, publisher of Southern Trout and Southern Kayak, will lead the seminar on Traditional Flies of the Smokies. He is formerly of Morristown, Tenn. and has authored several books, including “The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Guide to the Smoky Mountains.”
LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is located at 2986 Teaster Ln. in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Photo Credit: NPS – Cataloohcee Creek