PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – Featuring more than 220 free sessions spanning five days, Pigeon Forge’s award-winning Wilderness Wildlife Week is set for May 9-13 at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge. The event is free and open to the public.
In its 27th year, Wilderness Wildlife Week offers a variety of workshops, lectures, seminars, concerts, hikes and other activities designed to introduce or reacquaint participants of all ages with the great outdoors.
The event’s headline sessions include Ken Jenkins, Judy Felts and Friends in a program entitled “Beauty from the Ashes” 7:45 p.m. May 9 which features photography and inspirational music. Forensics experts Dr. Bill Bass and Art Bohanan share their findings from applying forensic science to identifying human remains, some of which were discovered in graves dating back 2,000 years 7:45 p.m. May 10. Former park ranger Dwight McCarter shares stories of search and rescue efforts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park 7:15 p.m. May 11.
Outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers or those who simply want to learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park can choose from lectures about topics ranging from the area’s rich heritage to conservation. Outdoor demonstrations include backcountry cooking and blacksmithing while indoor workshops focus on quilting, basket weaving, photography, fishing and wildflowers. Sevier County’s Sevier Solid Waste management facility’s “Where Did It Go?” presentation will address managing debris from the November wildfire.
Hikers of all experience levels can choose from several excursions each day. Highlights include a three-mile behind-the-scenes Cades Cove Tour 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 10, the new 2.5-mile Cades Cove Loop Night Hike 7:15-11 p.m. May 11, a 13.8-mile Appalachian Trail/Goshen Prong hike 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 12, the one-mile LeConte Center Riverwalk Birding Safari 7:30-9:30 a.m. May 13.
A special kids’ track is offered for younger outdoor enthusiasts where participants can learn more about such topics as whittling, crafting mystery stories, making art from recycled materials and more. Children seven to 12 years-old can register for the free Kids’ Trout Tournament 8 a.m. May 13 in Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park pavilion.
Patriot Park also is the location of the second annual Appalachian Homecoming event 5 p.m. Friday, May 12 with storytelling, music, children’s games, and an antique tractor show. A limited 200 tickets ($15 in advance and $20 onsite) will be offered for a country-style picnic dinner on the grounds with proceeds benefitting Keep Sevier Beautiful.
More than 50 exhibits and vendors include the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation, Appalachian Bear Rescue, Cades Cove Preservation Association and Onsite Heritage Museum, Keep Sevier Beautiful and more.
For more information, a complete schedule and registration details, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com.
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