Saturday, April 24, 2010

CASE STUDY: In the Middle of Nature - Finally Going Green in Gatlinburg TN

Surrounded by the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, the residents of Gatlinburg are aware of the precious environment that they live in and just how necessary it is to preserve it.

Many move or choose to vacation here to get away from their noisy, polluted cities and towns, breathe the fresh mountain air and "go back to the basics." As our country becomes more modernized and is susceptible to higher pollution rates, garbage disposal problems and other environmental crises, preserving the areas that are still considered natural and completely green has become an important issue. There are many ways that you can choose to be green while staying in Gatlinburg, a choice that is now being heavily endorsed by the area's various vendors.

It can start as small as making sure not to leave any garbage behind on one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's many trails; follow the hiker's motto "take only memories and leave only footprints." This keeps the mountains clean and beautiful while also helping to reduce the incidence of bears along these walkways, they certainly aren't the type of fellow hiker you want to see walking up ahead of you!

To honor those businesses that make regular efforts to stay green the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce recognizes and announces the members of a voluntary educational program Gatlinburg Goes Green! By committing to reduce their carbon footprint on a daily basis the stores and restaurants of the town have really come together to help make Gatlinburg a better place to live and visit all year long. The CC also holds events to help raise public awareness about their new program that include a swap shop, Earth Day Festival and other educational events.

As a visitor to the area what can you do to help Gatlinburg stay green? Review this checklist to see how environmentally-conscious you have been during your stay:

* Shorter showers = less water used
* Turning off appliances and A/C when not in use saves a ton of energy per day, even per hour!
* Reuse sheets and towels rather than washing them daily
* Take note of your hotel or cabin's recycling program or ask how you can dispose of your recyclable goods if you do not see it listed
* Walk around when possible or take a bike-ride around town
* Bring a canvas tote for shopping rather than accepting plastic bags

Before being green became a fashionable choice Gatlinburg has been organizing events to keep the area clean for over thirty years. Starting with the Sparkle Days program in 1979 where a week was dedicated to spring cleaning and most recently with the Fluorescent Light Bulb Recycling Program of this year residents have always been environmentally-conscious.

The only way to live in nature peacefully is to live in accordance with it; although this is more difficult to do as of late, it is still possible for everyone, residents and visitors alike, to do their part. Help us keep Gatlinburg beautiful so that people just like you will continue to visit for generations to come.

Joe Glad is an avid traveler and resident of the Great Smoky Mountains, growing up and spending most of his life there when not traveling. Joe's blogs can be found at and include many topics about the Gatlinburg area and the Great Smoky Mountains.

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