Dumplin Creek Development

New backing means a new start for the Dumplin Creek Development project off Interstate 40 in Kodak. A group representing Neyland Land Associates recently took ownership of the 200-acre project that has literally sat untouched for a period of time. The City of Sevierville is also involved.

Sevierville’s end of the deal includes application for $4 million in grant money, which would be matched by the city, to be used toward road improvements in the area. Included in those plans are a brand new Sevierville exit along Interstate 40. If everything goes according to plan, work could begin as soon as this fall.

John Turley, the creator behind Turkey Creek in Knoxville, presented the idea 5 years ago to the city. The development was expected to bring shopping, hotels, restaurants, and even a theater to area. Those plans still remain.

Local leaders are adamant that another access point (Exit 408) from the interstate is needed for this area. Not only that, but there have also been talks about widening Bryan Road over to Douglas Dam Road, then widening Douglas Dam Road to State Route 66.

Mark Nagi, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, pointed out that a new interchange would only be considered when improvements to the current Exit 407 were completed.

“An Exit 408 interchange was considered when planning was being done for improvements to the Exit 407 interchange,” Nagi said. “We need to wait until the Exit 407 improvements are completed and evaluate its operation to determine what additional measures may be needed, if any. TDOT will look into an interchange at Exit 408 in the future.”

At the moment, plans for the Dumplin Creek development are in the discussion phase. Sevierville has given no money to fund Dumplin Creek as of yet.

Dolly Parton

Sevier County’s favorite daughter Dolly Parton was born on January 19, 1946 in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, just outside of Sevierville in the Smoky Mountains.

One of 12 children, she moved to Nashville to pursue music following high school and has won numerous Country Music Awards, Grammys and starred in hit films like “9 to 5,” and “Steel Magnolias” in the years since. In 1985, Parton opened her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Born Dolly Rebecca Parton, she grew up in a poor family and made up songs to escape every day struggles. Her talent showed as by the time she turned 11, she was already singing on local radio stations.

Parton launched her solo career in 1967, and though she partnered with Porter Wagoner for his television show from 1967-1975, she remained primarily a solo act. (It was for Wagoner that Parton dedicated the ever-popular “I Will Always Love You.”) She won the Country Music Award for female vocalist in 1975 and 1976.

In 1987, she recorded Trio with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. In 1993, she put out another collaboration with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette titled Honky Tonk Angels. In 1999, she returned to acoustics with The Grass Is Blue, which won a Grammy for best bluegrass album. Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

In addition to music, Parton also became interested in acting, starring in 1980’s 9 to 5, 1982’s Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and 1989’s Steel Magnolias. She also opened the Dollywood theme park in 1985, which continues to be one of the South’s most popular vacation destinations. Parton is married to Carl Dean, who runs an asphalt-paving business. They married in 1966.

Parton launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 1996 to benefit children living in Sevier County. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.

Dolly’s Imagination Library became so popular that in the year 2000 she announced that she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally. Since the initial program launch in the United States, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gone from just a few dozen books to nearly 40,000,000 books mailed to children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Sevierville’s Winterfest Lights Garner Top Honor

Sevierville’s Winterfest Lights were recently named to The Top 10 Lesser-Known (But Just as Bright!) Holiday Lights in the U.S. This according to the the Society of American Travel Writers.

Besides Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg also display their share of Winterfest lights. It’s quite spectacular if you haven’t seen them for yourself. On the list, the town’s Winterfest lights rank 8th among the light displays which also include ones from Kauai, Hawaii; Charlotte, N.C.; Pine Mountain, Ga.; and Louisville, Ky.

Good news though, if you haven’t had a chance to see them yet, they’ll be up through February.

“Designs include snowflakes, rocking horses, waterfalls, trains, bears, a gristmill and toy soldiers, all lining the Parkway leading to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” the society notes.

Town officials aren’t surprised that such organizations are recognizing Sevierville’s aesthetics. The town welcomes thousands of visitors throughout the holiday season who come through to see the lighted displays. It was just a matter of time before word got out in this day of being socially engaged, that Sevierville’s Christmas display was one that should be recognized. Visitors have been flocking to the area for years during the holiday season.

Officially, the Society of American Travel Writers is an organization based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and founded in 1955, of journalists, public relations workers and other professionals that number in the thousands.

An honor like this appeals directly to the public. It comes from an unbiased source whose job is to recognize such areas because of factors such as public sentiment and popularity.

Sevierville has been recognized in years past for such spring and summer offerings as the Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass Festival as well as Springfest, but the recognition of Winterfest is a first when it comes to the winter season. Winterfest, as well as the holiday shopping and tourism season, have been a real drawing point for Sevierville, as well as Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg over the recent years.

Aside from the lighting displays, Winterfest will really get going this month with such events as Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge, the Tennessee Winter Special Olympics held at Ober Gatlinburg and the Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville, held at Walters State Community College.

With all these winter offerings, Sevierville’s Winterfest lighting display won’t be the last nationally recognized winter event in the area. It seems it’s just a matter of time now.

Fishing In Sevierville and the Smoky Mountains

Fishing In Sevierville and the Smoky Mountains

Anglers of all ages can enjoy both lake and stream fishing in Sevierville.

Douglas Lake is an ideal spot for fishing, camping and recreation. This 30,400 acre lake has 555 miles of shoreline and is nestled in the foothills of the Great Anglers in The Great Smoky Mountains Smoky Mountains. Over 2,000,000 visitors per year visit to enjoy Douglas Lake’s activities including: boating, picnicking, fishing, camping, swimming, bird watching and more. Douglas Lake has excellent bass and crappie fishing, in fact, the 2001 B.A.S.S. Masters MegaBucks Tournament was held there. The lake also maintains a population of a variety of bass, sauger, crappie, walleye, blue cat, flat head catfish, channel catfish and bluegill.

One of many tranquil creeks throughout Sevierville and the Smoky Mountains.

For more information on Douglas Lake, visit

Fishing License Requirements- Tennessee residents and non-residents over the age of 13 must have a valid Tennessee fishing license. A fishing license can be obtained online at https://www.tn.wildlifelicense.com/index.php or at local stores such as Wal-Mart. You cannot purchase a fishing license in the national park.

Besides Douglas Lake, there are numerous streams and creeks to dip your line in throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. Most lie just outside towns like Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Townsend. Here is a list of a few of the closer creeks and streams:

  • Abrams Creek located at the western end of the National Park along the Abrams Falls trail in Cades Cove. Here is a good spot for trout and small-mouth bass fishing
  • Big Creek near I-40 at the northeastern end of the National Park. Also a great place for trout and small-mouth bass.
  • Douglas Lake bordering Sevierville, is great for fishing and boating, bass and crappie fishing.
  • Hazel Creek, located at the southern end of the National Park, is good for trout and small-mouth bass fishing.
  • Little River near I-40 at the northeastern end of the National Park – trout and small-mouth bass fishing.

If it’s flyfishing in the Great Smoky Mountains that’s more of your flavor, here is a link for anglers coming to the area. Gatlinburg also sponsors a trout tournament in the Smokies every year in the Spring featuring over $10,000 in cash and prizes. Townsend, just west of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, holds its annual Troutfest at the Townsend Visitors Center each spring featuring everything from flyfishing seminars to fly tying workshops.

If your looking for a place to stay in Sevierville, check out this list of Smoky Mountain cabins located just outside town and in close proximity to numerous streams and tributaries.

Sevierville Fall Foliage (photos)

While most of us can enjoy the tail end of the fall color season this week, if you missed out here’s a collection of images shot around the Smoky Mountains the past couple of weeks showing the area’s fall splendor.

While most of us can enjoy the tail end of the fall color season this week, if you missed out here’s a collection of images shot around the Smoky Mountains the past couple of weeks showing Sevierville’s fall splendor. There’s still about a week left of peak season, so get down to Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains while you can to catch the beautiful colors of the Smokies.

A Brief History of Sevierville

According to early history records, by the 18th century, the Cherokee Indian tribe were the only native people living permanently in Tennessee. The Cherokee had claimed all the eastern, as well as central portions of the state as their hunting grounds in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were also said to refer to themselves the “Principal People.” Many still believe that they were a detached Iroquoian tribe. Included in this tribe were some of the Native Americans John Sevier fought in order to protect European settlers in and around Sevierville.

A well known Tennessean, Sequoyah (Sequoia) was born in 1776 to a Cherokee mother and a father who was a Virginia fur trader.  Sequoyah went on to develop the Cherokee alphabet in 1821 and by the early 19th century the Cherokee had become the first and only literate Native American tribe in existence. Today, the Cherokee language is the second most widely used Native American language.

Sevierville (Severe ville) is named after John Sevier, one of the most famous figures in the history of Tennessee. Sevier was a frontiersman, soldier, war hero and politician who served under George Washington in the American Revolution and became renowned for his role in the battle of King’s Mountain.

In 1785, he became the first governor of the State of Franklin – a new state that had been carved out of the land around Watauga. Later, Franklin became part of North Carolina and John Sevier was accused of treason for resisting the annexation.

When the State of Tennessee was formed in 1796, Sevier became its first governor, serving from 1796 until 1801 and again from 1803 until 1809. Later, he served as a state senator from 1809 until 1811 and was a member of the US House of Representatives in 1811.
Nicknamed “Nolichucky Jack” for his exploits along the Nolichucky River, Sevier died in Georgia during a boundary negotiation with Creek Indians in 1815.

Sevierville is located in an area that known by many as the true birthplace of country music. But now, many authorities consider the songs of the southern mountaineers to be the only true folk music ever produced by the European immigrants to America and they hearken back to the British ballads of the 18th century pioneers.

English Musicologist, Cecil Sharp, said in Smoky Mountain Country by North Callahan that he was tremendously taken with the [Southern Mountaineers] themselves, their strong character, their individuality, the isolation and its affects upon them and their music. The mountain people were sheltered by rugged mountains from the rest of the world and by this very condition, he concluded, they had retained in all its purity the most lyrical folk music in the world.

Even today, music inspired by the Smoky Mountains is recognized the world over. The most prolific and well known musician to come from Sevierville is country music legend and philanthropist Dolly Parton. One of 12 children born in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, Dolly has remained faithful to her mountain roots, even as her international fame continued to grow. After opening her Dollywood theme park, which helps preserve mountain music and crafts while creating jobs for area residents, she also began the Dollywood Foundation, which funds many charities in the region including the Books from Birth program.