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Wilderness Wildlife Week opens in Pigeon Forge

Registration is still available for some programs on Saturday.
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 2:08 PM EST
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PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - For more than 30 years, Wilderness Wildlife Week has celebrated the Smoky Mountains and Appalachian heritage and continues over the weekend.

The event, hosted by the City of Pigeon Forge, is at Ramsey hotel and Convention Center through Saturday.

“This is my favorite. It’s a totally free event. And it offers a wide variety of programming, free programming, all about the outdoors and about these beautiful Smoky Mountains that we have here,” said Butch Helton with the City of Pigeon Forge. “Our Appalachian heritage is a part of this; it’s instructional, it’s educational, there’s really a wide, wide variety of things to do.”

Vendors are set up at The Ramsey Convention Center for the Wilderness Wildlife Week.
Vendors are set up at The Ramsey Convention Center for the Wilderness Wildlife Week.(Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

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 is Events Manager Butch Helton’s final WWW. He’s headed off to retirement, but before the city surprised him with the honor of “Butch Helton Day” earlier this week.

“It was. It’s a tremendous honor. It caught me totally by surprise. I think my staff and Leon Downey, my supervisor - you got that all together and everything, and my wife knew, but she didn’t tell me. You know, growing up here in Pigeon Forge, it was just a tremendous honor. I love this community and it’s where I grew up, and it’s a part of who I am. It’s made me the person that I am, and it was a tremendous, tremendous honor,” said Helton on his retirement and special day, Butch Helton Day.

More information can be found on Pigeon Forge’s website.

Mountain Tails Wildlife Rehab rescues and rehabilitates orphaned or injured mammals
Mountain Tails Wildlife Rehab rescues and rehabilitates orphaned or injured mammals(Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

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