Smoky Mountain elk fest
2020 Dates TBA!
The inaugural Smoky Mountain Elk Fest was a huge success at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds this year! We look forward to making it even better in 2020, after all, reintroducing the elk to the area was a lot of hard work and worth celebrating every year. Elk used to be abundant throughout the Western North Carolina mountains, but by the mid-1800s, the population was wiped out due to overhunting and habitat loss.
After extensive research by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Service and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, wild elk were reintroduced into the Cataloochee Valley in 2001. The original herd consisted of 52 elk, and over the years their numbers have grown to more than 150.
As the elk population continues to grow, though, there are some interaction issues when the elk end up in places they aren’t supposed to be—for instance, in our local farmer’s fields. Proceeds from the Elk Fest help us raise funds for habitat maintenance and create other ways to keep our elk protected and happy.