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Mayor Werner Helps Anakeesta Break Ground in Gatlinburg

Mayor Werner Helps Anakeesta Break Ground in Gatlinburg

Anakeesta held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday to mark the beginning of construction on its Chondola base station and retail area on the Gatlinburg Parkway across from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Anakeesta is building a 72-acre attraction in Gatlinburg that will offer tree top activities for guests of all ages. Currently under construction is an aerial lift called a Chondola that will transport guests on a 12-minute scenic ride from the Parkway to Anakeesta Mountain.

Located adjacent to the Chondola will be Georgia based retailer Savannah Bee Company. Savannah Bee is home to the world’s finest honey and naturally luxurious health & beauty products. Savannah Bee Company has 4 locations in Georgia, 1 in Florida and 2 in South Carolina.


Mayor Werner Helps Anakeesta Break Ground in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner addresses the crowd gathered for the Anakeesta groundbreaking.

Karen Bentz at the Anakeesta Groundbreaking

Karen Bentz, partner, thanks team members at Anakeesta groundbreaking ceremony.

Anakeesta Chondola Base Station in Gatlinburg

Drawing of the Anakeesta Chondola Base Station to be built on the Parkway in Gatlinburg.

The Chondola, built by Leitner-Poma of America, is the first of its kind in North America. Anakeesta guests can choose either an open-air ride in a quad chairlift or an enclosed ride in a six-person gondola cabin. Both offer incredible scenic views on the way to Anakeesta Mountain.

Upon arriving at the summit guests will enjoy shopping or dining at the tree house themed Firefly Village, walking the 20 bridge spans of the tree top canopy walk, exploring the birds of prey exhibit, riding a single rail mountain coaster or dual racing zip line and families will enjoy the playground designed for treehouse adventure.

Anakeesta is slated to open this summer.  For more information and construction updates visit


Feature Photo:

Left to Right Front:

Mark Adams, President & CEO Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau

Cindy Ogle, Gatlinburg City Manager

Karen Bentz, Partner Anakeesta

Mike Werner, Gatlinburg Mayor

Nick Thompson, CLIMBWorks Owner and Anakeesta Partner

Bob Bentz, Managing Partner, Anakeesta

Michele Canney, Partner and Marketing Director Anakeesta

Left to Right Rear:

Dan Booth, Gatlinburg CVB/Chamber Chair

Mark McCown, Asst. Vice Mayor Gatlinburg

David Verble, President CNB

Dave Jones, East Tennessee Regional Manager TN State Tourism Department

Mike Smelcer, SRA Architects Owner

Alex Davis, President D&S Builders

Bryce Bentz, Project Manager Anakeesta

Bruce Cantrell, Site Engineer Anakeesta

Bill May, Executive Director Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

Jay DeFoe, Project Architect, Trotter and Associates

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