Blog for Zipline Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


Great Smoky Mountains Institute At Tremont – The Smokies' Hidden Treasure

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on August 25, 2015

Most folks who visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park find some way to interact with its abundant natural settings, whether it's hiking a scenic trail, fishing for trout, exploring historic structures or pitching a tent under the stars at a campground.

However, there's one special destination within the national park that takes that interactive experience to new levels. It's a place where those with a deep and abiding respect for the park's preserved acreage can not only learn more about their surroundings but also find ways to get a more hands-on experience.

The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is a non-profit residential environmental education center that provides in-depth experiences through education programs that celebrate ecological and cultural diversity, foster stewardship and nurture appreciation of the national park.

This year-round facility fulfills its mission of “connecting people and nature” through a variety of school programs, workshops, summer youth programs and camps, citizen science projects and naturalist certification classes. Guiding each of these programs is a set of core values steeped in maintaining a sense of place, an atmosphere of diversity and a goal of stewardship.

Participation in the programs at Tremont usually requires a little advance planning, so it's not necessarily the kind of place where you can just drop in on a whim when visiting the Smokies. But for those whose interest is piqued by the thought of learning more about our own backyard oasis of natural wonders, Tremont offers a lot that's worth planning a return trip back for.

For example, you might consider one of their many workshops, which include several different photography classes, special workshops for educators (including one on climate change) and the Wilderness First Responder Course, which is geared toward folks like scout leaders, camp counselors, youth workers or anyone who has an interest in helping fellow park visitors in distress.

Meanwhile, several hiking adventures are planned throughout each year, including a women's backpacking outing coming up October 16 through 18. Tremont is also hosting one of its famous Smokies Scavenger Hunts on March 12 of next year. Participants are asked to research answers to questions and hike out to specific locations in order to prove their knowledge. It's designed to bring families together while also learning about the park and spending the day sharing a common goal. Tremont even offers weekend and weeklong adventures for families who want a bigger taste of adventurous bonding.

Of course, Tremont's offerings play right into any sort of educational curriculum, whether you're homeschooling your own kids, are an educator in a traditional school setting or even a student with a thirst for learning more about nature.

Home-school parents can have their kids participate in a variety of day programs, which might include such topics as a geology walk to a waterfall, wildlife, stream ecology and wilderness navigation. There are even overnight programs that utilize Tremont's onsite residential facilities. Those programs can last anywhere from just a few days to a week.

Tremont also has long-standing relationships with a long list of colleges and universities that have sent students to the institute to fulfill customized academic requirements. These schools usually spend a week, on average, at Tremont, living and learning about the national park.

Those who want to really go in-depth with their quest for nature knowledge can participate in the Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification Program, which offers core and advanced classes for both commuters and overnight residents.

In the meantime, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy some quality time in nature, including spending a few hours on our Smoky Mountain zip line course. If nothing else, you'll learn how to have fun in the great outdoors at Smoky Mountain Ziplines!


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