Celebrate Earth Week in Gatlinburg April 19-25

It’s a full week of family-friendly fun in Gatlinburg this spring! Highlights for this year’s celebration include the Earth Day Festival in Mynatt Park on Thursday, April 23 and the Annual Earth Day 5K Run/Walk on Friday, April 24. Come celebrate Earth Week in Gatlinburg where it’s easy being green!

The Earth Day Festival in beautiful Mynatt Park will be from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. The whole family will enjoy free music, games, crafts stations, great food, and more activities. You can pick up your very own Gatlinburg Earth Week T-shirt specially designed by a local student. All proceeds from the event benefit the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation which provides local scholarships, school donations, sponsors and the Gatlinburg Goes Green Program.

earth-day-5k-gatlinburg-heysmokiesLace up your athletic shoes and take part in the Fourth Annual Earth Day 5K Run/Walk on Friday, April 24 in downtown Gatlinburg. All ages and abilities are encouraged to participate. Registration for this night race begins at 8:00 p.m. at Nantahala Outdoor Center located near traffic light #10 on the Parkway. The race begins at 10:00 p.m. The cost for the race is $20-$30 and is sanctioned by USA Track and Field. To register for the race visit runsignup.com. For more information, call 800-588-1817 or 865-436-0505.

On Saturday, April 25, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrates National Junior Ranger Day. At all three of the National Park’s Visitor Center’s there will be all kinds of fun and free activities to excite young minds about the natural world around them.

For more information on other fun activities throughout Earth Week in Gatlinburg, contact Gatlinburg Convention & Visitor Bureau Special Events Division at 800-588-1817 or 865-436-4178.

Music of the Mountains Festival on April 17-19 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrates National Park Week with the 11th Annual Music of the Mountains Festival Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19, 2015.

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Boogertown Gap performs at Music of the Mountains Festival

Music is a tradition that runs deep in the hills and hearts of Southern Appalachia. It tells the varied stories of the pioneering folk who called these mountains home. What we know today as Bluegrass, Roots, or Old-Time music had its beginnings in the traditional Celtic and religious music of these early mountaineers. And this weekend you can hear some it at Music of the Mountains in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

Performances will be held in the National Park and at venues in the surrounding communities. Here’s the schedule so you can get your toes a tapping!

Friday, April 17
Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Townsend
865-448-0044
Admission: $5
7:00 p.m. – Four Leaf Peat (traditional Celtic music)

Saturday, April 18
Sugarlands Visitor Center
865-436-1200
Admission: Free
10:00 a.m. – Boogertown Gap
11:00 a.m. – Lost Mill String Band
12:00 p.m. – The Freight Hoppers
2:00 p.m. – Time Simek on Dulcimer (Two-time National Champion)

Saturday, April 18
Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
865-430-8808
Admission: Free
4:00 p.m. – Youth Pickin’ Contest* (ages 8-17)
*For registration information, call Gatlinburg CVB at 800-588-1817.

Sunday, April 19
Liberty Church of Cosby, 4304 Liberty Road
423-487-2800
Admission: Free
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Heritage, Harps and Hymns Old-Fashioned Community Sing

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The Freight Hoppers perform Sat, April 18

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Four Leaf Peat performs Fri, April 17

 

 

National Junior Ranger Day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on April 25

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Junior Rangers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrates National Junior Ranger Day on Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Cades Cove Visitor Center, Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Sugarlands Visitor Center.

This free event for kids and families includes special activities like ranger-guided walks, old-fashioned toy making, fun stuff at the blacksmith’s shop, and more! Learn all about the Park’s wildlife with hands-on activities with animal skins, bones and even scat!

Children ages 5-12 can become a Great Smoky Mountains National Park Junior Ranger. Simply pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for $2.50 at any of the Park’s Visitor Centers or Cades Cove and Elkmont campgrounds. Complete all the activities in the booklet, stop by a Visitor Center and talk to a Ranger to receive your very own Junior Ranger badge!

Be sure to take advantage of the fun and informative Ranger-led programs offered by the National Park Service this season. Click here for a complete schedule of programs.

find-your-park-heysmokiesIn related news, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently launched Find Your Park, a public awareness and education campaign to set the stage for the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. Find Your Park encourages the public to get out and really experience  our national parks so that they are not only seen as a destination, but a state of mind, a special feeling to bring about a sense of American pride in our nation’s exquisite natural and cultural gems of the National Park system.

Find Your Park is also the theme for this year’s National Park Week, April 18 – 26.

“National Park Week is a time for visitors, of all ages, to get out and experience their national parks, especially the Great Smoky Mountains,” says Superintendent Cassius Cash, “I hope during National Park Week and over the next year as we celebrate the National Park Service’s second century, everyone will take the opportunity to Find Your Park.”

Appalachian Trail Thru-hikers to enjoy “Trail Magic” Welcome to Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Easter Sunday

Fontana, North Carolina – HeySmokies.com will greet thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail as they enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with some “Trail Magic” to celebrate the Easter holiday on April 5, 2015.

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As part of the Appalachian Trail’s 90th Anniversary this year, the HeySmokies.com team will serve a complimentary Easter picnic to individuals who are currently hiking the entire length of the 2,189 mile-long footpath that runs from Georgia to Maine.

“Trail Magic is something no thru-hiker expects, so when it happens it’s quite a welcome surprise,” says Brad Knight, co-founder of HeySmokies.com, “This is just a great way to pay it forward for the Trail Magic when I hiked.” Knight completed a six-month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 1997.

Northbound hikers enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just after crossing over Fontana Dam in North Carolina. They will traverse 71 miles through the National Park’s high country to exit at Davenport Gap in Tennessee. The highest point on the Appalachian Trail is at Clingmans Dome at 6,643 ft.

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Brad Knight prepares for “Trail Magic” on the Appalachian Trail.

“We expect to feed anywhere between 20 and 50 thru-hikers,” says Knight, “we coordinated with Jeff Hoch, the owner of The Hike Inn, to scout out a great location on the trail just a few miles before they reach Fontana.”

Although millions of people hike sections of the Appalachian Trail each year, only about a hundred hikers actually complete the entire trail. Most thru-hikers begin the trek in early spring at Springer Mountain, Georgia to walk north with the seasons.

Spring Breakers Site Sasquatch in the Smokies

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Recent Siting of Sasquatch in the Smokies

Spring breakers from Panama City, Florida report a Sasquatch siting in the Smokies on April 1, 2015. This recent encounter has the local population on edge as fears escalate. The Sasquatch, a large half-bear / half-man creature, was believed to dwell only in the Pacific Northwestern U.S. until recently.

That belief changed early this spring when park visitors reported a large “creature” walking up-right near populated areas. Officials urge the public to keep a close eye on children and pets until the creature can be positively identified.

“Dude, it was big,” says spring breaker Jeff Spicoli. The mystery has intensified as it has been documented that all wildlife have fled the areas where the encounters occurred.

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Locals make a big moulage out of plaster cast of the big foot prints.

“I thought it was strange all the animals just left the area,” says local ranger I.B. Lyon, “then I noticed the huge footprints. It was a big foot no doubt about it.”

Lyon further explains,” I went back to the Jeep to call it in on the radio and my vehicle was gone. It was like someone just picked it up and carried it off. Those big foot prints were everywhere!”

He was there all alone in the Smokies wilderness and no way out. And somewhere deep in the forest Lyon heard a growling sound…

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