Earth Week in Gatlinburg: Where “Going Green” Is More Than Just a Saying

Many people know that Earth Day 2017 takes place on Saturday, April 22. Did you know that Gatlinburg, Tennessee celebrates the week of Earth Day as Earth Week? From April 17th through the 21st, Gatlinburg hosts a festival of activities for the whole family that focus on keeping the Earth clean and beautiful.

Earth Week in Gatlinburg kicks off Monday the 17th with a compelling presentation on wildfire ecology from Nigel Fields, Chief of Resource Education for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fields has been at the heart of helping to understand the scope of the wildfires and the resiliency of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Spur Clean-Up with Keep Sevier Beautiful 

On Tuesday, April 18th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., participants will get together to pick up and dispose of trash and debris. Volunteers are asked to bring a pair of gloves. This event starts at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center on US-441 South and 1011 Banner Road. Help clean up the Spur, the main stretch of road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Local associations and businesses will assemble teams and compete to see who can collect the most litter. Although pre-registration is not required, it is encouraged. You can register and ask any questions you might have by calling (865) 436-0505.

The Welcome Center has public restrooms, pay phones, and information about the City of Gatlinburg, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains Association gift shop and bookstore. The non-profit association helps fund scientific research in the Smoky Mountains.

E-Waste Recycling Day

On Wednesday, April 19th, the Gatlinburg CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) Events Office at 207 Cherokee Orchard Road will collect electronic items and used ink cartridges for recycling. Participants are encouraged to bring up to seven items to be recycled at no cost to the participant.

Eligible items include calculators, desktop copiers, desktop computers, digital cameras, e-readers, gaming devices, mobile phones, printers, routers, and scanners. TVs and large electronics cannot be accepted, nor potentially dangerous items nor items with non-rechargeable lithium batteries or alkaline batteries.

All acceptable items collected will be recycled by Staples in Sevierville. If you have any questions about E-Waste Recycling Day, please call (865) 277-8216.

Earth Day Festival

Taking place at Mynatt Park (located off of Airport Road) is the Earth Day Festival on Thursday, April 20th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Family-friendly activities will include arts and crafts, music, activities, face painting, and demonstrations of simple green practices. Green businesses and Earth-friendly organizations will take part in the festival, and food will be available to purchase. Bring your appetite and a picnic blanket.

T-shirts featuring artwork by a local student will be for sale at the fair. Revenues earned from these sales will go to the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation to support the Gatlinburg Goes Green program, community educational events, local scholarships, and donations to schools.

The Gatlinburg Goes Green program is the Chamber of Commerce’s free educational program for its member businesses. Member businesses who volunteer to participate in the program agree to lessen their impact on the environment. As a result of this green program, the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce was named as the 2011 Green Plus Chamber of the Year by the Institute for Sustainable Development.

Mynatt Park is a Gatlinburg local treasure. While you’re there, you’ll also see the children’s fishing creek, historical nature trail, plentiful shade trees, clean public restrooms, playgrounds, courts for various sports, and a lovely bridge across the creek. It’s a beloved spot for picnics.

Earth Day 5K

On Friday, April 21, the Earth Day 5K takes place starting at Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) at 1138 Parkway. Registration is $30, with the funds going to benefit the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce’s Gatlinburg Goes Green Program. Both runners and walkers are welcome to participate.

The night run is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. This USATF-sanctioned 5K race is open to participants of all ages. Registration begins at 8 p.m. Early registration is strongly encouraged so participants can get the correctly-sized shirt. Overall and age-group prizes will be awarded by Buie Pottery.

NOC Gatlinburg sells everything you need to go hiking, climbing, and camping in the Great Smoky Mountains. Its Friday hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Buie Pottery is located at the entrance to the Arts & Crafts Community on Highway 321, at Buie’s Landing. Its Monday through Saturday hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

And, of course, Saturday, April 22 is the world-wide celebration of Earth Day 2017. We hope you’ll come visit us for Earth Week in Gatlinburg, where “going green” is more than just a saying!