Interior Department Announces Initial Steps to bolster Federal Energy Valuation Rules, Expand Assistance with Federal Coal Program

Perfect Spots for Christmas Card Photos

This mom loves a good family photo. It brings me such happiness to see my crew all together with smiles on their faces. I usually have great ideas and great plans for the perfect picture and even have it planned out as to where the picture will hang. However, we all know that as the kids get older, it can sometimes get difficult to get everyone to cooperate. With the holiday season upon us, it is time to make those Christmas cards to send out to family and friends and a good family photo or a good picture of our little divas together is a must. Pictures from our visits to Pigeon Forge are a perfect go to for this project!

Here are some great places for photos in Pigeon Forge:

Holiday Themed Pictures:

With Winterfest in full force, lights and décor adorn the city. There are so many options for great places to take holiday themed photos. The Island, Dollywood, and Old Mill Square are sure bet landmarks in the city that will be decked out for the season and offer some beautiful photo backdrops. You can also find great seasonal themed spots at Patriot Park as well as The Incredible Christmas Place.

Funny Pictures:

If you are looking for a little humor to be captured in your photo, Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show has some humorous country, mountain themed photo ops outside. Wonderworks is another fun place as it is such a unique building. You can always capture the fun as your family enjoys attractions like miniature golf or go-karts.

Nature/Outdoor Pictures:

For me, the natural beauty of the season is the best. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park exudes a different beauty each season of the year. While winter may seem dull or dreary, the gorgeous backdrops that the Smoky Mountains offer will light up any picture. Also, the Little Pigeon River offers a great path through the city with many different photo options. I think capturing a good picture in front of one of the many cabins in Pigeon Forge would be a good choice too.

Don’t let making those Christmas cards be a difficult task this year. Go out and capture a memorable photo in Pigeon Forge!!

BLM Reaches Major Enabling Milestone for First Projects under Western Photo voltaic Plan

Vegas &ndash Included in the Leader&rsquos Climate Plan Of Action and also the Bureau of Land Management&rsquos (BLM&rsquos) Western Photo voltaic Plan, the BLM is delivering three Environment Checks examining impacts for 3 suggested utility-scale solar power projects within the Dry Lake Solar Power Focus Clark County, Nevada. Following public comment, the BLM will proceed with final thought on the projects.
The projects, which propose to develop a combined total of 480 megawatts of electricity on 3,083 acres inside the Dry Lake Solar Power Zone, are the initial to achieve this stage of enabling underneath the Western Photo voltaic Plan. The reviews were carried out under six several weeks, in comparison to reviews underneath the previous project-by-project system that required normally 18 to 24 several weeks to accomplish. These expedited reviews take advantage of the upfront participation and conflict avoidance accomplished through the Western Photo voltaic Plan. The reviews likewise incorporate thought on the very first off-site minimization needs for Solar Power Zone projects.
&ldquoToday&rsquos announcement provides around the commitment of the Western Photo voltaic Plan and also the landscape method of photo voltaic development,&rdquo stated Michael L. Connor, Deputy Secretary from the Department from the Interior. &ldquoThrough advance planning and stakeholder outreach, the BLM has accomplished better environment final results in addition to a faster, more sleek process for industry. It’s a win-win method for responsible photo voltaic development on the public lands.&rdquo
Secretary Jewell&rsquos landscape approach changes the main focus from identifying minimization on the permit-by-permit basis, to some proper and landscape-level perspective, where minimization could be recognized through regional methods and land use planning.&nbspThis strategy places primary concentrate on avoidance of resource conflicts because staying away from sensitive areas enables for any more effective and foreseeable enabling process.
&ldquoThe BLM is proud to achieve this important national milestone the following in Southern Nevada,&rdquo stated Amy Lueders, BLM Nevada Condition Director. &ldquoThe success we view using these projects reflects the commitment from the entire BLM team and our partners to supporting responsible photo voltaic development where it seems sensible.&rdquo
The Dry Lake Solar Power Zone plans were posted for consideration through the three effective bidders to some competitive auction held through the BLM on June 30, 2014. The auction, which produced greater than $5.8 million in high bids, was a part of an aggressive leasing process needed underneath the the Western Photo voltaic Plan. Underneath the Western Photo voltaic Plan, BLM has designated 19 Solar Power Zones covering greater than 298,000 acres of public land. If full-grown, projects within the designated leasing areas could produce around 27 gigawatts of solar power &ndash enough to energy 8 million houses.
Underneath the Leader&rsquos Climate Plan Of Action, the Administration takes several actions using existing government bodies to lessen carbon pollution, increase energy-efficiency, expand renewable along with other low-carbon powers and strengthen resilience to extreme weather along with other climate impacts. Included in the plan, introduced in June 2013, the Leader directed the inside Department to approve a minimum of 20,000 megawatts of alternative energy capacity around the public lands by 2020.
Since 2009, Interior has approved 52 photo voltaic, wind and geothermal power utility-scale alternative energy projects on public lands, including connected electric transmission facilities and infrastructure to hook up with established energy grids.&nbspWhen built, these projects would total nearly 14,000 megawatts of capacity &ndash that&rsquos enough energy to energy every home in Nevada four occasions over.
These projects give a major boost to local financial systems.&nbspThe BLM has approved enough projects to aid over 21,000 construction and procedures jobs, and also to attract private capital opportunities of $36.6 billion.
The Environment Checks is going to be open for public comment through The month of january 8, 2015. The BLM Vegas Area Office will host a wide open house on December 10 from six to eight p.m. at 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Vegas.&nbspDocuments readily available for public review are Dry Lake SEZ Parcel 1 (, Dry Lake SEZ Parcels 2,3 and 4 ( and Dry Lake SEZ Parcels 5 and 6 (
For additional info on the general public review process, please contact Greg Helseth, Alternative Energy Project Manager, at 702-515-5173, or

How Charlie’s Bunion Got Its Name

One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Smokies is Charlie’s Bunion. This unique overlook provides breathtaking views and is accessed via the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap. The unique name is said to come from a local resident of the Smokies, Charles W. Conner.

As the story goes, Conner was hiking with renowned Smokies enthusiast Horace Kephart to the rocky overlook then known as Fodderstack. When they stopped to rest Conner took off his boots to reveal a bunion on his foot. When Kephart saw it he thought it resembled the surrounding rocky outcrop and supposedly said, “Charlie, I’m going to get this place put on a government map for you.”

The hike to Charlie’s Bunion is just over 8 miles roundtrip with a peak elevation of 6,000 feet. This strenuous hike is not recommended for novices. If you’re able to make the trip it’s well worth the effort.  Panoramic views of Mount Guyot and Mount Kephard await at the top of the rocky outcrop. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether it resembles a bunion or not.

Secretary Jewell, Governor Hickenlooper, Colorado Congressional Delegation Announce Landmark Settlement for Colorado’s Roan Plateau that Balances Conservation, Oil & Gas Development

Colorado, Colo.&ndash Secretary from the Interior Sally Jewell today became a member of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and U.S. Michael Bennet to announce a&nbsplandmark settlement agreement&nbspthat can help safeguard the Roan Plateau near Rifle, Colorado, whilst encouraging gas development.&nbsp The settlement helps safeguard wildlife and supports possibilities for outside entertainment and development, which play a huge role in Colorado&rsquos economy.

Local county commissioners and reps from the conservation and towns were and in attendance for today&rsquos announcement.

The settlement agreement, arrived at with conservation groups and gas and oil leaseholders, cancels 17 from the 19 rents released around the plateau in 2008 and refunds roughly $47.six million in bonus bids and annual rental obligations towards the Bill Barrett Corporation. The rest of the two rents on the top from the plateau and 12 rents situated at the bottom of the plateau will stay in position.

&ldquoThis is excellent news for that Condition of Colorado but for the neighborhood that has labored difficult to strike an account balance between safeguarding open space and development,&rdquo stated&nbspSecretary Jewell. &ldquoThe Roan Plateau is definitely an remarkable place, which money is one for which can be achieved whenever we all arrived at the table and try to find solutions.&rdquo

&ldquoWe are thrilled to determine resolution with this decade-lengthy debate more than one of Colorado&rsquos most special places,&quot stated&nbspGov. John Hickenlooper. &ldquoThis settlement will safeguard the precious seafood and wildlife assets atop the Roan Plateau, while clearing the way in which for orderly development to occur elsewhere within the planning area.&nbsp We applaud the parties for putting aside their variations and planning an effective path forward.&nbsp It truly is the Colorado way.&rdquo

&ldquoColoradans understand we have a unique responsibility to safeguard places such as the Roan Plateau for present day recreationists, outdoorsmen and predators and future decades. I’m proud the U.S. Department from the Interior listened to my call &mdash which of the growing bipartisan coalition &mdash to aid an finish towards the longtime dispute over the way forward for the Roan Plateau,&rdquo stated&nbspU.S. Senator Mark Udall. &ldquoThis collaborative money is a Colorado-based solution. I’ve fought against for any balanced means to fix the Roan Plateau since time within the U.S. House of Reps, which agreement underscores how Coloradans really are rugged collaborators.&rdquo

&ldquoOur local towns and also the leaseholders have exercised this compromise. They have decided to it since it balances a number of needs and interests by permitting for many development whilst creating crucial environment and wildlife safeguards,&rdquo statedU.S. Senator Michael Bennet. &ldquoSecretary Jewell has recognized the value of this in your area-brought agreement, and we are grateful she’s signed off around the settlement.&rdquo

&ldquoThis agreement is the effect of a diverse number of stakeholders joining together to locate a means to fix the lengthy-running dispute which has avoided responsible wind turbine motionless forward around the Roan Plateau,&rdquo stated Congressman Scott Tipton. &ldquoWe labored to make sure that protections have established yourself to carry local towns harmless for just about any royalties that might need to be compensated back. Consequently, influenced towns including Garfield and Mesa Areas voiced their support and assisted push the agreement over the finish line.&rdquo

The Roan Plateau is one among Colorado&rsquos most ecologically diverse landscapes. It’s a popular place to go for hunting, fishing, and back country entertainment. The dramatic topography from the plateau hosts a range of game and sensitive species.&nbsp The landscape is renowned for its spectacular coves, waterfalls, and box canyons.

&ldquoAfter years of discord and disagreement, this settlement signifies a way forward for anyone of Colorado, for that gas and oil industry, as well as for individuals that aim to safeguard critical wildlife habitat,&rdquo stated&nbspBLM Director Neil Kornze. &ldquoA broad coalition of local, condition, industry and conservation leaders joined together to make this a reality.&quot

In August 2008, BLM Colorado located a lease purchase that incorporated parcels situated around the Roan Plateau with different Record of Decision which was later challenged in U.S. District Court. In The month of january 2013, the BLM introduced it might make a Supplemental Environment Impact Statement (SEIS) for that Roan Plateau to deal with deficient environment analysis within the 2008 decision.&nbsp Included in this settlement agreement, the BLM has decided to think about a &ldquoSettlement Alternative&rdquo towards the ongoing SEIS that will result in the lands taught in canceled rents closed to new leasing and keep open for exploration and development the lands taught in maintained rents.

&ldquoWe are grateful for that efforts from the BLM and also the support in our chosen authorities and our host community to determine this agreement recognized,&rdquo stated&nbspScot Woodall, Boss of Bill Barrett Corporation. &nbsp&ldquoThe settlement finishes a lengthy duration of uncertainty which has limited our ability to purchase development and also to bring the Roan&rsquos gas to promote.&nbsp We anticipate dealing with BLM because they complete case study essential to start drilling.&rdquo

&ldquoConservationists, predators, fishermen and wildlife advocates welcome this settlement and also the chance it offers to save a place wealthy in wildlife and unequalled scenic vistas,&quot stated&nbspPete Maysmith, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado. &ldquoThe Roan Plateau’s lush valleys and pristine rivers are essential to herds of mule deer, elk and genetically pure Colorado River vicious trout, considerably improving the regions outside leisure economy. This settlement allows us to make it happen of protecting important natural areas such as the Roan Plateau in Colorado while gas and oil development continues in Colorado and over the West.&rdquo

The settlement agreement was authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice and could be located on the BLM website at:world wide

BLM Employees Recognized for Outstanding Public Engagement Efforts

BLM Stretches Public Comment Period for Photo voltaic/Wind Competitive Leasing Suggested Rule and Announces Web seminar

WASHINGTON, D.C. &ndash The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has extended the comment period for that suggested rule that will promote using &quotdesignated leasing areas&quot which include the Bureau of Land Management&rsquos Solar Power Zones. The suggested rule would establish competitive processes, terms, and types of conditions (including rental and connecting needs) for photo voltaic and wind energy development right-of-ways both inside and outdoors the designated leasing areas, and provides incentives for rents in designated leasing areas.&nbspThe suggested rule includes some minor provisions regarding electric transmission and pipeline privileges-of-way.
The suggested rule was released on September 30, 2014 (http://world wide having a 60-day comment period closing on&nbspDecember 1, 2014.&nbsp The BLM is stretching the comment period for 15 days past the finish from the initial comment period. Consequently of the extension, the comment period will close on&nbspDecember 16, 2014.
The BLM will host a web seminar for your customers on&nbspWednesday, December 3, from&nbsp1:00 to two:30 p.m.&nbspEST to go over the competitive leasing suggested rule and answer any queries. The dial-in number for that web seminar is: 1-888-324-4391 Passcode&nbsp7595414. The address for that web seminar is:&nbsp more details concerning the web seminar, please contact Jayme Lopez on the phone at&nbsp202-912-7547, or by email at&

Smoky Mountains Fall Recap

Did you visit the Smokies this past October? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is reporting the highest visitation in 27 years for the month of October.

1,261,104 people came to the park during what turned out to be a very eventful month. Fall foliage always draws a huge crowd in October. In fact, it’s typically the second or third busiest month of the year in the Smokies.

Coloration in the leaves was a little later than usual this year, record rainfalls were recorded at the start of the month and a vicious snowstorm hit the mountains on Halloween night. Despite all this, over a million people still came and enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Smokies.

The folks here in Pigeon Forge would like to thank everyone who visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding area during October! We hope you’ll come back soon!

Second Demand Nominations for Wild Equine and Burro Advisory Board

A Family Thanksgiving in Pigeon Forge

Thanksgiving is a family favorite in our household. We love the aromas that come from cooking up the big feast, gathering together with family and friends to celebrate, and then sitting around pondering all that we have to be “thankful” for. Each year brings its own new memories. If you are looking for a getaway for your family this year, Pigeon Forge can help with all the details….the food, family, and memories.

With so many options for lodging from hotels to cabins and chalets, to condos, and even to campgrounds, gathering your family together in one spot is easier than you think. Many of the area cabins/chalets and condos will accommodate several families under one roof and have a kitchen where you could cook up your big feast. Mainstay Suites is a great hotel option for family gatherings. It is a short distance off the Parkway and located on a 25 acre farm. There is lots of space here for families to enjoy.

If you would prefer to not spend hours in the kitchen, many area restaurants will be offering up a feast. Old Mill and The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and Grille will be serving up a traditional family style Thanksgiving Feast. Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que will be hosting their 18th annual All You Can Eat turkey buffet dinner. Calhoun’s is offering a Holiday Pack To Go that you could buy and take anywhere you like to eat. Food options are plentiful!!

The memories that you will make and share will be priceless. So many things to do and places to see in Pigeon Forge and no memory is too small or great to share. You can go for a leisurely walk by the Little Pigeon River to work off the extra calories from your Thanksgiving feast or gather together to see a movie at the Forge Cinemas. There is laughter to be shared at shows like Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud and Comedy Barn. If adventure is more your style, then take a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or ride the hill at the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster.

Food, Family, and Memories…..make this Thanksgiving one to remember in Pigeon Forge!!