I think that anyone who has ever visited the Gatlinburg region, takes of piece of the area back with them in their heart.
Gatlinburg has been the source of so many incredible memories for myself personally with family and friends. It was also a place of healing for my family after my mom’s funeral. We decided that a trip out of town to Gatlinburg to see the lights would maybe help healing with the beginning stages of our heartbreak as we began a new normal. That trip was just what we needed in that moment.
I know that so many of us felt overwhelmed as we watched the coverage on the news. Devastating damage from the wildfires affecting so many residents, businesses, and property owners.
Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner, who lost his home and business, expressed the heart and resilience of this community during the daily press conference, stating, “If you want to help Gatlinburg, come back and visit us. We’re gonna be back…we’re gonna be better than ever.”
So how can your visit to that region in the nearby future make a difference?
When you travel to area, you are helping create and maintain jobs.
Pumping gas, the places that you eat, the attractions that you visit, and where you sleep, directly and indirectly help the economy of a community.
We don’t always think about the people who are affected by our visit. Every face that you see, and even some that you don’t see, like the cleaning staff, depend greatly on tourism.
That region needs our tourism dollars more than ever right now so that businesses don’t have to lay off employees or even worse, go out of business. The community needs us to invest in them during this critical time with our tourism dollars.
Here is what you need to know about the area right now
Pigeon Forge, TN is open for business and welcoming visitors to attractions, theaters, restaurants and lodging. Pigeon Forge businesses were not damaged during this week’s fires and are operating as usual. The city’s Winterfest festival continues, including several Christmas shows at various theaters. Dollywood theme park reopens on Friday, Dec. 2. Restaurants and lodging properties are operating on normal schedules.
Businesses in Sevierville, Dolly Parton’s hometown, are open and operating as usual, including Wilderness at the Smokies and Tanger Outlets.
Cades Cove, the popular Smoky Mountain scenic drive, is open via Townsend, TN entrance.Townsend tourism sites and attractions are welcoming visitors.
Dollywood Theme Park will open at 2 p.m. ET today (Friday, Dec. 2).
Gatlinburg anticipates opening popular downtown Parkway and River Road to public on Wednesday, Dec. 7
The Red Cross has asked for cash donations only for the time being. Text 90999 to make a $10 donation or click here to select a different amount.
You can also donate to the Dollywood Foundation “My People Fund” that provides $1000 each month for up to six months to Sevier County families who lost their homes in the wildfires. Anyone can donate to the My People Fund online or by mail. 100% of your donation will go directly to the families affected by the wildfires.
You can find more up-to-date information regarding Sevier County at Tennessee Vacation update.