PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Dec. 14, 2021)— With more than 100 sessions, four days of virtual sessions, a week full of outdoor excursions and more, Pigeon Forge’s Wilderness Wildlife Week is set to celebrate its 30th year as one of the Southeast’s largest gatherings of wildlife experts and enthusiasts. The event offers five days of free seminars and activities Jan. 25-29. The event is based at The Ramsey Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge with outdoor excursions taking place throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“We’re thrilled to be back together in person this year to celebrate the rich history and nature’s diversity of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian region,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “After the success of last year’s virtual Wilderness Wildlife Week, we’re including some online options in the weeks leading up to the event.”
Over the past 30 years, Wilderness Wildlife Week has introduced thousands of attendees to some of the country’s leading wildlife experts. Attendees have access to a full roster of topics and experts who highlight the nature, terrain, culture and history of the Great Smoky Mountains. The event has won numerous awards for its variety of presenters, overall attendance and ability to offer attendees opportunities to interact with fellow enthusiasts over a broad range of topics.
This year’s event includes sessions on a wide variety of topics including wildlife and history like Fox Tails: Learn About the Red Fox’s Behaviors, Eating Habits and General Facts Up Close and Personal (Jan. 29 at 11 a.m. to noon) and Appalachian History with the Salt Maker (Jan. 25 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and Jan. 29 from 5 to 6 p.m.). Forensics expert Dr. Bill Bass (Jan. 26 from 7 to 8 p.m.) returns to discuss the Body Farm and some of his most famous forensic cases throughout the Smoky Mountains region. Ken Jenkins, Judy Felts and friends host the moving program Heaven & Nature STILL Sing (Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.) with Jenkins providing a second evening session entitled How to Seek Creatively: Looking With Your Heart Instead of Your Head (Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.).
Additionally, music and storytelling are celebrated with sessions like The Fascinating Story of Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring True Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail performed by Anne Van Curen (Jan. 26 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.) and Protecting and Preserving Our Amazing Wilderness Through Creative Storytelling with Troy Krombholz (Jan. 27 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.).
The full program is available at MyPIgeonForge.com/Wilderness.
In addition to the week-long event, Pigeon Forge Special Events will host Virtual Wilderness Wildlife Wednesdays each Wednesday in January beginning Jan. 5. Each week, viewers can tune in to watch a variety of free Wilderness Wildlife Week speakers in online sessions. Complete information is online at MyPIgeonForge.com/Wilderness.
Outdoor excursions of all levels are available throughout the week. Highlights include an almost three-mile hike to Laurel Falls, the most-visited waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Jan. 25 from noon to 3 p.m.), a photo safari on the Smokies Bus Trip takes guests on a tour of Cades Cove (Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), a 10-mile hike to Finley Cane and Turkey Pen Ridge using four interlocking trails (Jan. 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and many more. New this year, three Pink Jeep Tour excursions are available on Jan. 25-27 from noon to 2:30 p.m.
Throughout the event concourse, nearly 30 exhibits and vendors, including the not-for-profit Cades Cove Preservation Association, East Tennessee Historical Society, and Keep Sevier Beautiful, are open daily during the event beginning at 10 a.m.
This winter celebration of the great outdoors is free and open to the public. For more information, a complete schedule and registration details, visit MyPigeonForge.com.
About Pigeon Forge: Pigeon Forge is located in East Tennessee, approximately 35 miles from Knoxville and McGhee-Tyson Airport. Two-thirds of the nation’s population east of the Mississippi River lives within a day’s drive, making it an easily accessible family vacation destination. The city’s neighbor is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the U.S. It also is home to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, Tennessee’s most-visited ticketed attraction. More information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge is available at MyPigeonForge.com or toll-free at 1-800-251-9100.