20 April 2015

65th Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage starts Tuesday, April 21, in the Smokies

Tomorrow, April 21, kicks off the 65th Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, an annual five-day event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park consisting of a variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars. Most programs are outdoors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while indoor offerings are held in various venues throughout Gatlinburg, TN.

Morel Mushrooms by Christine Braaten.
Mark your calendar for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies on April 21-25, 2015!

On-site registration will begin Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 5:00 PM in the Mills Conference Center, Gatlinburg TN. View the on-site registration schedule or register now online . To keep up with the latest updates from the 65th Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, like them on Facebook.

Here's a link to the Schedule.

Here's a link to the necessary Guide and Maps.

Here's a link to the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Website.

03 April 2015

Make a difference in the National Park by volunteering to help maintain a trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to participate in the Adopt-a-Trail (AAT) program, an effort that helps to maintain the park’s 800-mile trail system.  The Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program has integrated volunteerism into many of the park operations, including trail maintenance that covers everything from picking up litter to removing tree-falls and reporting trail problems to the park.  

Volunteers work on trail maintenance. (NPS photo)
AAT volunteers should be prepared to preform basic trail maintenance, and are to hike/patrol the trail(s) at least four times per program year-- March through October.  Specific trail duties include: Collect and remove litter; clean water bars and drainage systems; perform brushing and removal of small windfalls or branches (hand tools only); perform minor trail tread maintenance; remove illegal campsites and fire rings found along trail; inspect trail and trail signs; and promote Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

Trainings will be held throughout the year.   Interested participants can register by contacting Alan Chapman, Trails Volunteer Coordinator by phone at (828) 497-1949 or by email at Alan_Chapman@nps.gov.  Part of the training is held outside and participants should wear appropriate clothing including sturdy footwear.  

Music of the Mountains showcases diverse history of Southern Appalachian music

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will hold its eleventh annual “Music of the Mountains” celebration Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19. The event tells the story of music in the Southern Appalachians through its diverse history by letting visitors experience a variety of music that was played in the region or represents Old-Time music’s roots. With performances held in surrounding communities and in the park, the event tells the story of how mountain music grew out of traditional Celtic and religious roots, to become something that would be played on front porches all over the Smokies.

The three-day event begins with a concert of Celtic music by Four Leaf Peat on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend, Tennessee.  General admission is $5.00.   “Music of the Mountains” continues on Saturday, kicking off National Park Week in style, with a series of free performances of old-time mountain music, dulcimer and early bluegrass during the day at the park’s Sugarlands Visitor Center. Music will be ongoing from 10:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. (see schedule below).

NPS photo
A variety of music will be featured at the
Music of the Mountains celebration April 17-19
in Townsend, Gatlinburg and Cosby. (NPS photo)
Two new acts will be part of the festival this year. Tim Simek is a two-time national champion on dulcimer winning the national championship for hammered dulcimer in 2011 and for mountain dulcimer in 1997. Out of North Carolina, The Freight Hoppers are a four-piece string band who has been playing Old Time music for 20 years that is high energy and fun to dance to.

Also new this year will be a Youth Picking Contest hosted by the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Youth ages 8 – 17 are invited to compete on either fiddle or guitar starting at 4:00 p.m. on the plaza outside of the Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies.  Registration for the contest begins at 2:30 p.m. at the same location and spots will be limited. Spectators are encouraged and the contest is free for the public to watch.

The Sunday program at the Smoky Mountain Visitor Center in Cosby, Tennessee, will feature traditional Appalachian religious music with an old fashioned community sing along from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. This event is free to the public . 

“The music in these mountains tells such a wonderful story,” said park ranger Caitlin Worth.  “This festival provides the opportunity to find the type of traditional music that you love and learn how the stories that the music tells connect it to this place and its people.”
The schedule of events:
April 17 - Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Townsend  
Admission: $ 5.00
7:00 p.m. – Celtic Music by Four Leaf Peat

April 18 - Sugarlands Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Admission is Free
10:00 a.m. Boogertown Gap Band
11:00 a.m. Lost Mill String Band
12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. The Freight Hoppers
2:00 p.m.  Tim Simek on Dulcimer

April 18- Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg
Admission is Free
4:00 p.m. – Youth Pickin’ Contest for ages 8 - 17

April 27th - Smoky Mountain Visitor Center, Cosby   
Admission is Free
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. –“Heritage, Harps and Hymns”– traditional offerings from Cocke County