Live in the Southeast? Want to celebrate the successful return and growth of elk to their native stomping grounds? The place to be is Maggie Valley.
Nearly 20 years after the successful reintroduction of elk into North Carolina, assisted in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Maggie Valley will host the first annual Smoky Mountain Elk Festival September 13-15, 2019. The event will take place at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds (3374 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC 28751).
“The elk is a big part of tourism here in Haywood County, and it goes hand-in-hand with conservation and preservation and all of those things that are very important for this area,” Lynn Collins, executive director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, told the Mountaineer. “We’re just trying to be good stewards of all of that, and I think really this is about celebrating how far we’ve come with the reintroduction of the elk in the last 20 years.”
The three-day festival will feature vendors, art, conservation education programs, live music and other entertainment and events. Planning and execution of the event is a team effort.
“There’s the town of Maggie Valley and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and you have the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, you have land conservancies, the Maggie Valley Sanitary District, Cherokee is going to be involved — the list just goes on,” added Collins.
RMEF assisted with the successful reintroduction of wild, free-ranging elk into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001.
Learn more about the Smoky MTN Elk Fest here.
(Photo source: Haywood County Tourism Development Authority)