The first-ever Smoky MTN Elk Fest, a family-friendly celebration of elk and conservation is scheduled to take place Sept. 13-15, 2019, in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
“To see my first elk, I drove 2,200 miles,” Joyce Cooper, co-chair of the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, told the Smoky Mountain News. “Now I can drive 5 miles and see an elk. I’ve had elk on my property. They’ve been grazing on my hayfield, which I never dreamed would happen in my lifetime.”
RMEF assisted with the successful restoration of wild, free-ranging elk back onto their native range in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001.
Cooper along with other RMEF volunteers and staffers are on the festival’s steering committee.
According to the Mountaineer, the event will be centered on the reintroduction of elk to the Great Smoky Mountains and will include displays, activities, wildlife artists, crafts, food, music and other educational and entertainment happenings.
The end goal is to raise awareness for the animals and funding to benefit elk and elk habitat.
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)