Gatlinburg's Green Efforts

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are beautiful communities both perfectly situated in the Great Smoky Mountains. When you book a stay through Cabins for YOU, you are guaranteed an unforgettable vacation with awe-inspiring surroundings. Though the Smoky Mountains are naturally scenic, they don’t stay that way on their own. Residents and visitors work hard to maintain the area year after year.

If you’re coming to the Smokies for vacation, you can be a part of those efforts, even without volunteering any of your vacation time. Here are just a few of the ways you can help Gatlinburg stay green, ensuring you have a beautiful place to come back to for many decades.

1. Staying Green in the Cabin
“Going Green” can be done by simply implementing a few small changes in your daily routine. For example, while you’re in your cabin, taking shorter showers and turning off the water while you’re brushing your teeth can save a lot of water. Other simple fixes include turning off the heat or air conditioning, the lights, and the TV before heading downtown to explore the cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for the day!

2. Getting Around
While walking is great during the warm months of spring and summer and the cooler afternoons of fall, it’s not always feasible to walk everywhere on vacation. Walk when you can, and when you can’t, take some simple steps to reduce your cabin footprint.

If you’re renting a car, choose the smallest vehicle that can accommodate your group – or rent a hybrid car! If you planned to fly, consider turning your trip into a roadtrip. The Gatlinburg Goes Green website explains just how much of an impact air travel makes on the environment, relaying that 1 flight from New York to Denver creates as much carbon dioxide per passenger as 1 SUV creates in an entire month!

The Gatlinburg Trolley System is another great option for getting around the city, offering a fun, convenient, and stress-free way to get to restaurants, shops, and attractions. And with all-day fares for just $2 and fares starting at $0.50, it’s an incredibly budget-friendly way to go!

3. To Do's
The Great Smoky Mountains is a beautiful, expansive, natural outdoor playground, as one of the largest protected land areas east of the Rockies (500,000+ acres). As you’d imagine, it’s home to an enormous variety of wildlife, trees, and more, making it the premier place to enjoy popular outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, biking, hiking, and beyond.
DO: Get outside and explore!

The downtown areas provide a lot of unique shopping opportunities, boasting chain stores and local shops that carry everything from toys, clothing, handbags, and electronics to knives, specialty beef jerky, local jams and jellies, and artwork.
DO: Go green by putting all your shopping finds in a reusable shopping tote!

There are many members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community who have agreed to Go Green; to support the movement, buy from those “going green” merchants!
DO: Visit Gabriel’s Horn, Jim Gray Gallery, Highland Craft Gallery, and Fox Hill Gallery.

In addition to the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, exciting local attractions have also pledged to go green. Show them your support by stopping in during your Smoky Mountain vacation!
DO: Ride the trolley to the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, Ober Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum!

4. Community Effforts
Gatlinburg is considered the Gateway to the Smokies, so it is essential that everyone takes part in preserving the natural beauty that the land and community offer! Community efforts have been made with the intention of Gatlinburg Going Green, and the community continues to work hard so everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of this magnificent place.

While “going green” may seem like a fairly new fad, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville have been working hard to preserve the environment for many years; in fact, some of their most aggressive efforts started in 1979!

1979- The Sparkle Days program begins, and one week every spring is now dedicated to spring cleaning and trash collection.

1991- Sevier County, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville combine forces to build and operate a composting plant, cutting waste down by 65%! | A tree and flower beautification project kicks off in Gatlinburg.

1993 – The City of Gatlinburg starts using collected waste oil and fluids to heat the Service Center building.

1998 – The City of Gatlinburg begins the Undergrounding and Streetscape Project, building 2 city parking garages with Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

1999 – The City of Gatlinburg, Chamber of Commerce, Gatlinburg Gateway Foundation, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park form the Gatlinburg Partnership Council.

2000 - Gatlinburg becomes a Green Power Switch partner. | Gatlinburg tests hybrid vehicles and trolleys.

2003 – Gatlinburg buys 3 CNG (compressed natural gas) police cruisers.

2006 – Gatlinburg begins switching their Winter Magic lighting displays to LED.

2008 - Gatlinburg kicks off the All-Day Trolley Pass program, offering $2 all-day passes on local trolleys. | Bulbs in 2 major parking garages are replaced with T8 bulbs. | Gatlinburg puts recycle containers in all city employee lunchrooms. | The Gatlinburg Convention Center starts energy management training.

2009 – Sevier County, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg open a new composting facility that cuts waste by 75%.

2010 – Gatlinburg starts a fluorescent bulb recycling program. | The Gatlinburg Convention

2011 – Gatlinburg joins TVA’s Energy Right Solutions program. | Gatlinburg converts all traffic lights to LED.

2012- Gatlinburg teams up with Goodwill to start a recycling collection center at 1855 E Parkway.

2013 – The Gatlinburg Convention Center receives the “Green Meeting” certification by Convention South.

2014 – The Gatlinburg Convention Center is named a “Go Green Achiever” by The Greater Knoxville Business Journal.

2015 – The Gatlinburg Convention Center receives the “Gatlinburg Goes Green Newcomer Award” from the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce.

2016 – Gatlinburg receives the “Excellence in Green Leadership” award by the Tennessee Municipal League.

Since 1979, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Sevier County have been working hard to create a better environment for today and future generations. Along with the work that’s already been done, there are many plans for future green efforts. With a city putting so much work into keeping the area beautiful, it’s no wonder so many people make Gatlinburg their go-to getaway!

When you head to the Great Smoky Mountains for vacation, be sure to do your part in keeping Gatlinburg Green! And when you hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, always remember the “Leave No Trace” rule: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.