Smoky Mountain Mars Probe Launch Successful

Smoky Mountain Mars probe catastrophe?

Smoky Mountain Mars probe catastrophe?

Smoky Mountain Mars Probe Launch Successful. The recent Clingmans Dome Mars probe launch heralded a new era of cooperation between the National Park Service, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), and Space Ex corporation. This daring mission was the first in national park history and was met with mixed reaction from the public. National security concerns prohibited the public from viewing the launch leaving space enthusiasts with many unanswered questions. The probe was the first mission for the Space Ex dragon module. The module will be the latest vehicle to house astronauts on future missions to the Moon and Mars.

Our new Dragon module has proven to be a complete success so far,” said Space Ex founder Eon Musk. “New technology allows the launch vehicle to land autonomously saving the space program billions of dollars while raising interest in America’s National Parks.

The Clingmans Dome observation tower was ideally suited for supporting the rocket prior to launch.  The structure required slight modifications to the circular access ramp to help control the blast radius of the rocket.

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Updated Great Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Lottery Dates

Smoky Mountain Synchronous Fireflies

The Smoky Mountain synchronous firefly lottery, you can’t win it if you            are not in it!

Updated Great Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Lottery Dates. The dates for the 2019 Synchronous Firefly shuttle operations calendar will be announced April 22, 2019. Evening access to the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont campground will be restricted to those possessing parking pass confirmation. Elkmont access will be limited to those utilizing the firefly shuttles and campers.

The parking passes will be awarded via lottery. The lottery opens Friday, April 26, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. and closes on Monday, April 29, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. The parking confirmation passes lottery can be participated in at Firefly lottery. Parking passes are only valid for a specific date. You will be allowed to enter your preferred date and one alternate date on your lottery application.

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Dollywood Festival Of Nations 2019

Dollywood Festival Of Nations

Dollywood Festival Of Nations

Dollywood Festival Of Nations 2019. Feel the beat at Dollywood’s Festival of Nations scheduled March 16, – April 14, 2019.  Entertainers from several countries will perform on stages in the massive theme park located in Dolly’s home Sevier County. In addition talented chefs, including Cuban celebrity Chef Pepin, will prepare international dishes each weekend during Festival of Nations.

Dollywood’s Celebrity Theater

Movin to the groovin has never been easier as Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba and her Havana based company demonstrates the art of Cuban music and dance dating from the 1950s to modern times. And, on stage, big band pounds out the rhythm as 18 dancers, several which have performed together for some 25 years, perform lively fusion-style dances that blend Hispanic and Caribbean cultures. Groove to the Latin beat and maybe even shake your own tail feathers during this vibrant performance.

Drumstruck is a performance that might be just the thing to help channel your inner percussionist.  Billed as the first interactive drum-theatre experience, the beat goes on as Drumstruck pounds out ancient, eerie rhythms that echo the heart of the Dark Continent. Be sure and check out the attached sneak preview video below of these amazing musicians!


Show Street Gazebo

Ecuador-based Atahualpa uses native Incan instruments to celebrate the culture of the Andes. Atahualpa’s combination of traditional, contemporary music along with South American dance music is guaranteed to get the audience on their feet. Through music, Atahualpa hopes to promote peace and brotherhood to the entire world.

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Smoky Mountain Super Moon

Smoky Mountain Super Moon!

Smoky Mountain Super Moon!

Smoky Mountain Super Moon will rise above the Southern Appalachian mountains Wednesday, March 20, 2019. This Smoky Mountain special event is the final Super Moon of the year appearing on the same day as the vernal equinox, the beginning of spring! This super moon is known as the “Full Worm Moon.”  The full moon and the spring equinox arrive within four hours of each other. The last time this occurred was March 2000, but the last time it was on the same date was March 20, 1981.

A “supermoon” means the Moon will be almost at its closest point to the Earth for the month. This is the third and final supermoon of 2019. The moon will seem bigger and brighter than normal.

Traditionally Native American and other historical names for full Moons were used to keep track of the seasons. Each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month during which it appears. The Moon we view in March is known as the Full Worm Moon. During this time of year the ground begins to soften from the cold extremes of winter inviting earthworms to begin to appear and do their thing. Robins and other birds begin to feed on them and this was always considered a verifiable sign of spring. This re-birth of the earth is accompanied by roots pushing their way through the soil with green shoots popping up.

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Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness

Knoxville's Urban Wilderness is a wild ride!

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is a wild ride!

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness Is Wild. The urban wilderness is gaining national recognition for it’s expansive multi-use trail system and learning resources all of which are practically downtown Knoxville. The trail system boasts over 100 miles of trail connecting five primary areas including: Ijams Nature Center, William Hastie Natural Area, Anderson School Trails, South Loop Trails and the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.

“I love the Urban Wilderness area!” said Karen Smothers. “When I get off work downtown I can be here in minutes. I can take a leisurely walk, get a hard core work out on my bike, take a class at Ijams or just immerse myself in nature. Who could ask for more in the middle of a major metropolitan area?”

There are many miles of trails that traverse city, county, state and private lands connecting parks, neighborhoods, schools, natural areas and historic sites. The trails are rated from easy to very difficult so know your abilities to stay out of trouble.

The South Loop area is perfect for all hiking skill levels with a nice 12.5 mile loop that will bring you back to your vehicle. The area is comprised of 1,000 plus acres and more than 70 miles of trail. This area offers a variety of terrain and we recommend checking the difficulty level before starting out. Access can be found at 2915 Island Home Ave., 3518 Island Home Pike, 1302 Margaret Rd., 3140 McClure Lane and 5907 Burnett Creek Road
Knoxville, TN 37920.

William Hastie Natural Area boasts natural surface trails that provide unique challenges to hikers, bikers and trail runners. There are more than four miles of single track mountain bike trails to challenge the adventurous riders  and gentler double wide tracks for the less adventurous. Access to this area can be found at 1302 Margaret Road.

The Anderson School Area trails have an easy grade though a pleasant wooded valley which leads into the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. This portion of the wilderness does traverse private property so please respect property owners rights while enjoying these trails. Access can be found at 4808 Prospect Lane.

The Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area is a mix of ancient game trails, hunting trails and recent trails created by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. The paved Will Skelton Greenway is also included in this area connecting it to Ijams Nature Center and other natural surface trails. The trails provide challenges for multiple skill levels so be sure and check the level of difficulty before starting out. This is an active hunting area so be mindful during hunting season and dress appropriately. This area can be accessed at 3140 McClure Lane 5907 Burnett Creek Road.

Ijams Nature Center is a great place to explore!

Ijams Nature Center is a great place to explore!

Ijams Nature Center may be considered the crown jewel of the wilderness area. A long time Knoxville staple for outdoor education and experiences. Ijams’s boasts many miles of trail and regular programs and activities for its patrons. Keep check on daily events calendar for scheduled activities. Ijams Nature Center is located at 2915 Island Home Avenue.