Picture Yourself in the Park

Picture Yourself in the Smokies


*Schedule of Events

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

Members Weekend Registration and Packet Pickup
Time: 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Meeting Place: Lobby, River Terrace Resort
Description: Please check in with your GSMA representative to pick up your registration materials (name tag, program, purchase raffle, preview silent auction merchandise) and finalize your weekend schedule of events.

Glenn Cardwell: Man of the Mountains (1 of 2)
Program Leader: Butch McDade 
Time: 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Meeting Place: Greenbrier Ranger Station
Description: Join retired park ranger Butch McDade and go back in time to learn more about one of our park's beloved ambassadors. Born in 1930 in what is today’s GSMNP, Roy Glenn Cardwell learned the ways of the woods from his mother and his own study along Injun Creek and Hills Creek while a child and later on in his life in the Greenbrier area of the Smokies. Glenn went on to become a park ranger in the Smokies, a position he held for 34 years. Over three decades, he led thousands of park visitors on nature and history hikes while mentoring many other rangers and staff who went on to become some of today's experts on the Smokies. Your day will include a six-mile round-trip hike along Injun Creek to the junction with Grapeyard Ridge trail. Depending on time, Butch may recommend an additional side hike to observe an old portable steam engine in the bed of the creek. Bring your own lunch.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Moderate, 6.5 miles maximum

Old Sugarlands Trail: A Tour Through Time (1 of 2)
Leaders: Logan Boldon, GSMA Marketing Content Specialist
Time: 9 a.m. – Noon
Meeting Place: Sugarlands Visitor Center Pollinator Garden
Description: Stroll through history on a half-day hike to Old Sugarlands Cemetery. From rock quarries to remnants of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, discover how the foundations were laid for Great Smoky Mountains National park. Then, journey deeper into the past as we examine what tombstones tell about the lives of early settlers.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Moderate, 6 miles maximum

Smoky Mountain Explorer Film Series
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort
Description: Stay for five minutes or five hours, your choice. Second only to spending time on our park's breathtaking mountain trails and in its historic valleys, watching a movie is the most engaging way to learn about Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here today, you can watch all five films!
Participation Limit: Open to All/Registration Not Required
Rating: Easy, indoors

Twin Creek Science and Education Center Tour (1 of 2)
Program Leader: NPS Ranger Becky Nichols, GSMNP Entomologist
Time: 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Meeting Place: Twin Creek Science Center
Description: Enjoy a guided tour of the park's research area – made possible in part by GSMA funding – to view the large collection of vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, lichens, fungi, and other natural history objects that reside in this 15,000-square-foot facility. Some 50,000-60,000 cataloged specimens and a backlog of three to four times that number of uncatalogued material are housed here. The collections are especially rich in insects, with material dating back before the formation of the park to much more recently accessed material from the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory.
Participation Limit: 15
Rating: Easy, indoor tour 

Twin Creek Science and Education Center Tour (2 of 2)
Program Leader: NPS Ranger Becky Nichols, GSMNP Entomologist
Time: 3 – 4:15 p.m.
Meeting Place: Twin Creek Science Center
Description: Enjoy a guided tour of the park's research area – made possible in part by GSMA funding – to view the large collection of vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, lichens, fungi, and other natural history objects that reside in this 15,000-square-foot facility. Some 50,000-60,000 cataloged specimens and a backlog of three to four times that number of uncatalogued material are housed here. The collections are especially rich in insects, with material dating back before the formation of the park to much more recently accessed material from the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory.
Participation Limit: 15
Rating: Easy, indoor tour 

GSMA Board Members and National Park Service Meet and Greet
Time: 4 – 5 p.m.
Meeting Place: Riverwalk Room/Patio
Description: Exclusively available to Lifetime, Dogwood and Hemlock members. Join GSMA board members and high-level National Park Service personnel for hors d’ oeuvres, drinks and discussion.
Participation Limit: 40

GSMA Family Dinner
Time: 6 – 7 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Ballroom
Description: We'll gather our membership community together to enjoy a buffet dinner. (Questions concerning food restrictions will be asked during registration.)
Participation Limit: Open to All

Keynote Presentation
George Masa and Photographers of the Smokies

Time: 7 – 8 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Ballroom
Keynote Speakers: Jim Casada
Description: In addition to highlighting George Masa's contribution to the national park movement, author Jim Casada will speak to our gathering about the work of other early park advocates, including "Doc" Kelly Bennett, Jim Thompson and Dutch Roth. 
Participation Limit: Open to All

Enjoy evening activities in downtown Gatlinburg on your own

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

Breakfast and lunch are on your own (These meals are not included in your registration fee)

ALL-DAY ACTIVITIES

Ramsey Cascades Hike
Leaders: Lloyd and Charlene Shiver, GSMA Member/Volunteers
Time: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Meeting Place: Ramsey Cascades Trailhead
Description: Though more challenging, the climb to this waterfall is well worth it – with a stunning 105-foot elevation drop, Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park. Bring your own lunch.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Strenuous, 8 miles

Smoky Mountain Explorer Film Series
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort
Description: Stay for five minutes or five hours, your choice. Second only to spending time on our park's breathtaking mountain trails and in its historic valleys, watching a movie is the most engaging way to learn about Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here today, you can watch all five films!
Participation Limit: Open to All/Registration Not Required
Rating: Easy, indoors

MORNING ACTIVITIES

Glenn Cardwell: Man of the Mountains (2 of 2)
Program Leader: Butch McDade 
Time: 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Meeting Place: Greenbrier Ranger Station
Description: Join retired park ranger Butch McDade and go back in time to learn more about one of our park's beloved ambassadors. Born in 1930 in what is today’s GSMNP, Roy Glenn Cardwell learned the ways of the woods from his mother and his own study along Injun Creek and Hills Creek while a child and later on in his life in the Greenbrier area of the Smokies. Glenn went on to become a park ranger in the Smokies, a position he held for 34 years. Over three decades, he led thousands of park visitors on nature and history hikes while mentoring many other rangers and staff who went on to become some of today's experts on the Smokies. Your day will include a six-mile round-trip hike along Injun Creek to the junction with Grapeyard Ridge trail. Depending on time, Butch may recommend an additional side hike to observe an old portable steam engine in the bed of the creek. Bring your own lunch.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Moderate, 6.5 miles maximum

Old Sugarlands Trail: A Tour Through Time (2 of 2)
Leaders: Logan Boldon, GSMA Marketing Content Specialist
Time: 9 a.m. – Noon
Meeting Place: Sugarlands Visitor Center Pollinator Garden
Description: Stroll through history on a half-day hike to Old Sugarlands Cemetery. From rock quarries to remnants of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, discover how the foundations were laid for Great Smoky Mountains National park. Then, journey deeper into the past as we examine what tombstones tell about the lives of early settlers.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Moderate, 6 miles maximum

Historic Elkmont District Walking Tour 
Leader: NPS Ranger Christine Hoyer, GSMNP Backcountry Specialist
Time
: 9 a.m. – Noon
Meeting Place: Appalachian Clubhouse
Description: Take a peaceful, yet information-packed hike along the Little River surrounded by a unique soundtrack and old cabins that once served as vacation homes prior to the park's establishment. As backcountry specialist for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Christine's knowledge of GSMA-funded projects that benefit the park's 800+ miles of trails is information all our members will want to know.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Easy/Active intended for anyone good physical condition, 5 miles maximum

Creative Observations and Journaling
Leaders: Elise Anderson, this year's Steve Kemp Writer in Residence
Time: 9 a.m. – Noon
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort
Description: Learn creative ways to record and re-purpose the details of your life! Through a series of examples, videos, in-class writing activities, and lecture portions inspired by everything from recent neuroscience research to Monet's creative practice, you'll learn tactics to refresh your awareness of the world around you. This 3-hour, workshop-style class explores unique methods for creative journaling, a practice that helps you stay present in your daily life and allows you to gather detailed, raw data to make your written and verbal expression more compelling. We'll cover the basic concepts of creative observation and explore concrete journaling methods used by writers and artists to refresh their focus, maintain their attention to detail, and see the world in fresh ways.
Participation Limit: 30
Rating: Easy, inside

Foothills Parkway West Bus Tour (1 of 2)
Program Leader: A Walk in the Woods
Time: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort Main Lobby
Description: Enjoy a leisurely drive from Gatlinburg, through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to the newly opened section of Foothills Parkway West from Wears Valley to Walland. From your passenger seat, take in the beautiful views this section of road provides while your guide explains the area's history and the 50-year effort that was required to open this new stretch of road to the visiting public. Bring your own lunch. 
Participation Limit: 17 seats are available on the bus
Rating: Easy, seated bus tour 

Baskins Creek Trail and Falls Interpretive Hike
Program Leader: Stephen Lyn Bales
Time: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Meeting Place: Rainbow Falls Main Parking Lot
Description: Join Gatlinburg native, local naturalist and author Stephen Lyn Bales for a hike from Cherokee Orchard along Baskins Creek Trail. We'll start with a gentle climb up and over Piney Ridge, an area devastated by the 2016 wildfire. We’ll see how the forest is returning with young table mountain pine growing along the way. Then, we'll descend into the Baskins Creek watershed and move through rhododendron thickets and alongside rolling cascades to reach our destination: Baskins Creek Falls. Bales is the great-grandson of P.C. Ogle, who once owned this 124-acre parcel. He will share ancestral photos of his grandmother Pearl Ogle Bales, who grew up showering in the falls. Bring a sack lunch to enjoy along the way.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Strenuous, 5 miles maximum

AFTERNOON ACTIVITIES

Introduction to Nature Photography
Leaders
Tim Barnwell
Time:
 
1:30 – 4 p.m.
Meeting Place
Great Smoky Mountains Association Headquarters
Description:
Join professional photographer and author Tim Barnwell for an informative presentation on Photographing Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Topics covered include what subjects are available, where to locate them, and when to photograph each type of subject. Theses include scenic views, close-ups of wildflowers, native plants including rhododendron and laurel, creeks and waterfall scenes, historic structures, wildlife, fall foliage, and sunrises and sunsets. This is geared to those with a basic to intermediate knowledge of photography. Technical topics include composition, depth of field and action control, use of filters, the benefits of a tripod, fill flash for outdoor close-ups, best settings for your digital camera, and the basics of exposure and understanding histograms. Classroom presentations will be followed by a short walk to nearby points of interest to practice photographing in the field (weather permitting).
Rating: Easy

Introduction to Nature Writing
Leaders:
Elise Anderson, this year's Steve Kemp Writer in Residence
Time:
1:30 – 4:15 p.m.
Meeting Place:
River Terrace Resort
Description:
What makes certain pieces of nature writing so compelling? How can we use writing as a ways of exploring the sensory wonders of the world around us? What connects a person to a place? Who are some of the top nature writers today, and what makes their work stand out from the rest? In this introductory nature writing class, we'll examine some top examples of recent and classic writing on the natural world.
Participation Limit:
30
Rating:
Easy, inside

Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Smokies
Time: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Leader: A Walk in the Woods tour guide
Meeting Place: Spence Cabin, Elkmont (allow for 20-30 minutes drive from downtown Gatlinburg)
Description: Remember when you had a cold or a sore throat and grandma would make you a nice soothing cup of tea from wild herbs? Ever wonder what she used to make you feel better? Learn to identify wild edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms that you may find in your own yard, nearby meadows or neighborhood woods. Our day begins in an outdoor classroom setting learning how to identify plants and common mushrooms. Then, we'll go for a walk to explore various types of outdoor settings and what is found there. We'll discuss the nutritional values of wild plants, what the Native Americans and settlers used them for and what modern science has to say. A Walk in the Woods puts the fun back into learning about nature!
Participation Limit: 30
Rating: Easy, 2 miles maximum

Misunderstood Wildlife Communities 
Program Leader: Steve O'Neil, founder of Earthshine Nature Programs
Time: 1:30 – 3 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort
Description:  Learn about our park's native wildlife communities in a unique, hands-on program where you will meet a few 'misunderstood' animals in a face-to-face encounter that you will never forget.
Participation Limit: 30
Rating: Easy, indoors

Introduction to Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Program
Program Leader: NPS Ranger Christine Hoyer, GSMNP Backcountry Specialist
Time: 3 – 4 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort
Description: Join us for an overview of our park's Backcountry Program, which includes a discussion of the three longest trails in the Smokies – Appalachian Trail, Mountains to the Sea Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail – visitor use and Leave No Trace principles. Lots of beautiful photographs are included in this program, making it a real crowd pleaser. As backcountry specialist for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Christine's knowledge of GSMA-funded projects that benefit the park's 800+ miles of trails is information all our members will want to know.
Participation Limit: 30
Rating: Easy, indoors

Our Family Photo
Time: 4:45 p.m.
Meeting Place: Riverwalk Patio (If raining, meet in River Terrace Ballroom)
Description: Bring your winning smiles and contact information to share with your new friends before you begin your journey home. We'll mail your photo (one per family) in the weeks following our meeting. You'll remember your trip to Gatlinburg and the fun you had during 2019 Great Smoky Mountains Membership Weekend.
Participation Limit: Open to All

Great Smoky Mountains Association Annual Meeting
Time: 5 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Ballroom
Description: Join Chief Executive Officer Laurel Rematore for a discussion of Great Smoky Mountains Association’s year-to-date accomplishments and plans for the future. Hear from a National Park Service representative about park happenings and future endeavors. If times allows, these presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
Participation Limit: Open to All

GSMA Family Dinner
Time:
6 – 7 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Ballroom
Description: We'll gather again for a community dinner. (Questions concerning food restrictions will be asked during registration.)
Participation Limit: Open to All

Silent Auction Closes
Time
: 7 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Ballroom
Description: Final bids will be accepted until 6:59 p.m. Final payment for winning items will be accepted before and after the photo contest award ceremony.

Photo Contest Awards Ceremony
Time: 7:15 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Ballroom
Description: Join us as we reveal the winners of this year's Picture Yourself in the Smokies photo contest.
Participation Limit: Open to All

Enjoy evening activities in downtown Gatlinburg on your own

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Breakfast and lunch is on your own (These meals are not included in your registration fee)

Birding a Tennessee Trail
Program Leader: Keith Watson
Time: 8 – 11 a.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort
Description: Hit Old Settlers Trail in Greenbrier for a birding adventure in the Smokies with expert birder Keith Watson. As a group, we'll look, listen, observe and identify avian species that call the Appalachian mountains home. We will also be on the lookout for migratory species passing through to their wintering locations in the south. Bring your binoculars, notebook and writing utensil, favorite birding guide and enough food and water for your comfort.
Participation Limit: 20
Rating: Moderate

Make-and-Take Traditional Basketmaking
Leaders: Roy Henson
Time: 9 a.m. – Noon
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort
Description: Spend the morning learning the skills to make your own flat-bottomed basket with guidance from a traditional artist. There is a $20 extra charge for materials.
Participation Limit: 15
Rating: Easy, inside

Foothills Parkway West Bus Tour (2 of 2)
Program Leader: A Walk in the Woods
Time: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Meeting Place: River Terrace Resort Main Lobby
DescriptionEnjoy a leisurely drive from Gatlinburg, through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to the newly opened section of Foothills Parkway West from Wear Valley to Walland. From your passenger seat, take in the beautiful views this section of road provides while your guide explains the area's history and the 50-year effort that was required to open this new stretch of road to the visiting public. Bring your own lunch.
Participation Limit: 17 seats are available on bus
Rating: Easy, seated bus tour


*The Fine Print

Events, times and locations will be added here until the full program schedule is considered complete. The schedule has been designed to be as accurate as possible and is intended to be used to plan activities; however, all programs are subject to change for multiple reasons, most outside of GSMA's control, including weather. Full program details – including times, leaders, meeting places and distances covered – will be provided at registration. We will do our best to accommodate all registered participants when/if last-minute changes to the schedule occur, thus disrupting your plans.

While You're Here, Check Out Other Activities

Enjoy other areas of the National Park and Gatlinburg’s wide range of available activities before you begin your journey home. We'll see you again in North Carolina in September 2020.