Gearing Up for Saddle Up

It is that time again, time to cowboy up for the 15th annual Saddle Up event in Pigeon Forge. The events begin Wednesday, February 18 and run through Sunday, February 22.  This year’s lineup is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  The music, the stories, the food, all in true cowboy fashion, will definitely make for a weekend to remember.

If you are in need of western attire for the weekend, make Stages West your first stop. They will suit you up in the latest and greatest cowboy couture so that you are looking your best for all of your weekend fun. With so many great options in clothing, boots, hats, and accessories, you can have a new look for every day. This year, Stages West will be hosting a Cowboy Society Coffee on February 21st with Jay Earnhardt of Stetson hats. You won’t want to miss this, as one lucky attendant will win a free Stetson Anniversary hat. Stages West will also be hosting the Stories & Strings event and Cowboy Church during the Saddle Up weekend.

Saddle Up is a great way to experience and celebrate the ways and lifestyles of the Wild West. There are daily workshops, presentations, and concerts by some of the greatest cowboys and cowgirls in the country. You are sure to leave with a new appreciation for the past and present. On Thursday, grab your honey and take some free dance lessons so that you are ready for some boot scootin’ at the big Cowboy Dance on Saturday night with T. Scot Wilburn and the Shut Up -N- Playboys. Most of the weekend events will take place in the beautiful LeConte Center. It is nestled along the Little Pigeon River and near The Island so there will be plenty to see and do between Saddle Up events.

Food will be plentiful throughout the weekend too. The world famous Kent Rollins of the Red River Ranch Chuck Wagon will be heading up some great chuck wagon cooking. The Chuck Wagon Cook-off will take place at lunch time on Saturday. If you have never experienced a chuck wagon meal then you are missing out!!  You will be amazed at the fine cuisine that will all be prepared over a campfire.  You won’t leave hungry!

Saddle Up is the place to be this weekend in Pigeon Forge. Cowboy up and head on over for a weekend like no other!!

BLM Grants Greater Mooses Tooth Unit Gas and oil Development Project in Alaska

Record of Decision Balances Resource Protection and Development Project will
be First Production in the National Oil Reserve-Alaska
WASHINGTON &ndash&nbspThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released&nbspa&nbspRecord of Decision (Fishing rod)&nbspfor the suggested Greater Mooses Tooth Unit project (GMT1), opening the way in which for that first manufacture of gas and oil from federal lands within the 23-million acre National Oil Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).
&ldquoI am happy with the collaborative efforts which have introduced us for this wind turbine milestone,&rdquo stated BLM Director Neil Kornze.&nbsp &ldquoToday&rsquos decision not just opens the way in which for that first manufacture of gas and oil within the National Oil Reserve, but additionally supplies a new power source for that Trans Alaska Pipeline System.&nbsp The input of several stakeholders, especially Alaska Native towns, was critical in getting this project from concept to reality.
&ldquoThe Department anticipates ongoing to utilize ConocoPhillips because it progresses with safe and responsible energy development around the North Slope,&rdquo stated Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider.&nbsp &ldquoThe proper planning and minimization measures decided to by ConocoPhillips are essential once we still support thoughtful and balanced development in this area and therefore are important to paying for that impacts of the project.&rdquo
The Fishing rod released today chooses Alternative A because the BLM&rsquos selected development alternative, that the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers recognized because the Least Eco Harmful Practicable Alternative. This plan of action will give you for approximately 33 development and injection wells on one well pad.&nbsp The BLM&rsquos decision includes a strong package of minimization needs, including an $8 million contribution from ConocoPhillips, Alaska, Corporation., right into a award for minimization fund.&nbsp A Regional Minimization Strategy is going to be developed, that will involve input from local Native towns, to look for the best purposes of the award for minimization funds.&nbsp The Fishing rod also requires implementation of the suite of best management practices to prevent or minimize project impacts.&nbsp
As suggested by ConocoPhillips, Alaska, Corporation., the work includes construction of the 11.8-acre drilling pad within the east area of the NPR-A.&nbsp It’ll utilize elevated pipelines as well as an electric energy line that, when completed, will give you use of both Federal and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation gas and oil assets. The work will give you significant economic advantages to Alaska Native Companies that possess a significant area of the subsurface mineral estate whilst delivering an important product to aid America&rsquos energy needs.
The Fishing rod includes best management practices and lease conditions and terms needed through the NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan, in addition to project design features to lessen impacts. The Fishing rod also determines a award for minimization fund to invest in growth and development of a lengthy-term landscape level Regional Minimization Strategy and minimization projects recognized with the Strategy.&nbsp The projects is going to be recognized via a transparent process and could include establishment of voluntary conservation easements or rents on Native Corporation land with critical environment, subsistence or cultural significance and potential removal of formerly disturbed sites.&nbsp The Regional Minimization Strategy is going to be developed via a collaborative, multi-stakeholder procedure that includes developing final results that benefit subsistence customers most directly influenced through the GMT1 project, including people from the Native Village of Nuiqsut.&nbsp The minimization attempts are in line with BLM efforts to consider a landscape-level method of enabling projects across the nation.
A few of the additional best management practices and lease conditions and terms needed through the Fishing rod include making certain a strong spill prevention and response regime, needing wildlife protection measures for fleet and aircraft traffic creating contracts to make sure Native towns get access to streets for subsistence reasons and monitoring of wildlife populations, habitat, and ecosystem processes potentially influenced through the development.&nbsp
The BLM&rsquos 2013 Area-Wide Integrated Activity Plan recognized 11 million acres within the NPR-A for defense of natural values, while making near to 12 million acres and 72 percent from the technically and economically recoverable oil readily available for development.&nbsp Presently, 207 approved rents cover greater than 1.73 million acres within the NPR-A. Since 1999, 10 lease sales within the NPR-A have received greater than $261 million. This Year, Leader Obama directed the Secretary from the Interior to conduct annual gas and oil lease sales within the NPR-A. Lease sales had formerly been held every 2 yrs.&nbsp
Nearly how big Indiana, the NPR-A, situated on Alaska&rsquos North Slope, may be the biggest single block of government handled land within the U . s . States. Legally, the BLM supervises the NPR-A for that reasons of gas and oil development together with protection of areas that contains significant subsistence, leisure, seafood and wildlife or historic or scenic value. The Naval Oil Reserves Production Act of 1976 as amended, which moved the NPR-A in the Navy towards the Department from the Interior, mandates protection of those special areas whilst supplying for expeditious growth and development of gas and oil assets.&nbsp

Roberson to become Director of BLM’s National Procedures Center in Colorado

The Bureau of Land Management introduced today that Edwin L. Roberson, presently Assistant Director for Renewable Assets and Planning in Washington, D.C., would be the new Director from the BLM&rsquos National Procedures Center in Colorado.
&ldquoI am very happy to announce that Erectile dysfunction, that has effectively overseen key BLM resource-related programs throughout his tenure, such as the BLM’s sage-grouse conservation effort, will take his managing talents towards the National Procedures Center (NOC),&rdquo stated BLM Director Neil Kornze.&nbsp &ldquoAs an experienced BLM leader, Erectile dysfunction will advice the NOC to supply tech support team to BLM offices and everyone.&quot
Roberson, a 35-year BLM veteran, has offered in the present position since August 2007.&nbsp He’s been the BLM’s point person on sage-grouse habitat conservation included in the BLM&rsquos effort to avert the requirement for listing the species underneath the Endangered Species Act.
Before visiting Washington, D.C., Roberson was manager from the Las Cruces (Boise State Broncos) District Office and Manager from the Roswell (Boise State Broncos) Area Office.&nbsp Throughout his amount of time in Roswell, Roberson was named BLM-Boise State Broncos Manager of the season for 2001.&nbsp The following year, his office received the Leader&rsquos award from the Wildlife Management Institute.
Throughout his tenure as Assistant Director, Roberson has brought several national initiatives such as the move from the BLM to some Landscape Method of Conservation, Restoration and Development, including completing numerous Ecoregional Checks the introduction of a nationwide Socio-Economic Proper Plan the Geospatial Services Proper Plan along with a Wild Equine and Burro Strategy.&nbsp
Roberson includes a Bs running a business, and Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Auburn College.
Roberson continues to be married to his wife Mary for 35 years.&nbsp His daughter, Julie, is married to Major Shawn McNicol, and it has two kids, Rowan and Briar.&nbsp Julie includes a B.S. from Boise State Broncos Condition College as well as an Master of business administration.&nbsp His boy, Cason, a U.S. Navy Dental professional, who’s also an Auburn College graduate, is married to Shelley. They reside in a Camping Lejeune, N.C., and also have two sons, Davis and can.&nbsp Erectile dysfunction likes all kinds of outside activities and it is an athlete.
Roberson starts his new position in the NOC at the begining of May.&nbsp The NOC&rsquos 550 employees and companies lead towards the BLM&rsquos overall multiple-use and sustained yield mission by supplying operational and tech support team in a number of key areas, including human assets, it, geospatial services, finance, and acquisition.

Love is in the Air!

2015 has entered in full force and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!!! You should show your loved ones how special they are every day but Valentine’s Day is a day to go over the top and spoil them. Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to do just that. Love is in the air and there are so many great options of things to do that you are sure to make those loved ones smile!!

One of the greatest places to hit Pigeon Forge has been the Island. It is always a happening spot and it is continually growing with new stores and activities. A perfect Valentine’s night on the Island would be to splurge for an overnight stay at the Margaritaville Island hotel. During the day, you could do a little shopping at The Boutique for mom, Heads Up Sports for dad, or make those little sweeties happy by checking out The Toy Chest or Build a Bear Workshop. For dinner, dine at Timberwood Grill or Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant and then catch dessert at the Sweet Shoppe of the South. To end your “love” day, you could hang out in the rockers and listen to the sounds of the Island Fountains or take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and give your honey a sweet kiss at the top. Sounds like an awesome day to me!!

Another tried and true hit, would be to grab your sweetie and head out for a night of entertainment.  You could catch an evening show of singing and dancing at Smoky Mountain Opry or laugh and cheer on the lumberjacks at Lumberjack Feud. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is set to unveil a new show with new sights, new sounds, and new adventure beginning Valentine’s weekend. You can’t go wrong with this great dinner attraction!!

If you are into surprises….. you could always surprise your honey or your whole family for that matter with tickets to Saddle Up which will close out Winterfest in Pigeon Forge on February 18-22, 2015.  The lineup for this year’s event includes the sounds of Wylie and the Wild West and T. Scot Wilburn and the Shut Up -N-Playboys, cowboy stories and poetry from Baxter Black and Andy Nelson, and some good ‘ole chuck wagon cooking from Kent Rollins. It would be a perfect post Valentine’s weekend!

If you and your sweetie are just up for a nice, quiet night away, the many area cabins or chalets would be the perfect spot. Grab some groceries or some take out from an area restaurant and then snuggle up for the night next to a warm fire in the fireplace or enjoy some quality time together in the hot tub. Your sweetie is sure to enjoy this getaway!

With so many great options, let the “love” overflow in Pigeon Forge this Valentine’s Day!

Secretary Jewell, Director Kornze “Flip the Switch” on Desert Sunlight Solar Farm

Nation’s largest solar project on public lands generating clean, renewable energy
DESERT CENTER, Calif. – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze today joined California state and industry leaders to “flip the switch” on the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, the nation’s largest solar project on public lands that is now delivering clean, renewable energy to American consumers. 
Now operating at full capacity, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is providing 550 megawatts of electricity to the grid, enough energy to power 160,000 average homes. The facility is estimated to displace 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year – the equivalent to taking 60,000 cars off the road.
“Solar projects like Desert Sunlight are helping create American jobs, develop domestic renewable energy and cut carbon pollution,” said Secretary Jewell. “I applaud the project proponents for their vision and entrepreneurial spirit to build this solar project, and commend Governor Brown for implementing policies that take action on climate change and help move our nation toward a renewable energy future.”
Desert Sunlight is the sixth solar project approved on public lands by the BLM that is now operational. The wind, solar and geothermal projects built on public lands since 2009 are producing over 2,200 megawatts of power, or enough to power almost 700,000 average homes. An additional 2,500 megawatts is currently under construction, including 8 solar projects in California and Nevada.    
Public lands administered by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), especially the solar-rich states in the Southwest, play a key role in the President’s Climate Action Plan to approve 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy on public land by 2020, as well as in meeting California’s renewable energy goals.
“This is an important day for solar energy, for California and for the nation,” said BLM Director Kornze. “The Desert Sunlight project is an example of how industry and government can work together to strengthen local economies, generate good jobs and provide affordable power.”
Nationwide, the BLM has approved 52 utility-scale renewable energy projects since 2009 – including 29 solar projects – with a total capacity of over 14,000 megawatts.  If built as approved, these projects would provide more than 21,000 jobs and power about 4.8 million homes. Before 2009, there were no solar projects approved on public lands.
Desert Sunlight is located on about 4,100 acres managed by the BLM in Riverside County, about 70 miles east of Palm Springs and six miles north of the rural community of Desert Center. The facility uses more than eight million First Solar photovoltaic modules to generate power with no air emissions, no waste production and no water use. The thin film technology has the smallest carbon footprint of any photovoltaic technology. The renewable energy is sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison under long-term contracts.
The BLM issued its right-of-way grant for Desert Sunlight in August 2011. Developed by First Solar and owned by NextEra, the project employed an average of 440 workers during construction. NextEra calculates about 3.6 million man-hours of work were required to complete the facility and more than 40 California businesses contributed to the project, selling materials, equipment, utilities, labor, housing and food services.
As part of the Interior Department’s commitment to responsible development of renewable energy, the Desert Sunlight project underwent extensive environmental review and mitigation. The BLM worked in close coordination with Desert Sunlight, the National Park Service and other stakeholders to significantly reduce the proposed project’s total footprint down from the proposed 19,000 acres. The BLM is requiring that Desert Sunlight provide funding for acquisition and enhancement of more than 7,500 acres of suitable habitat for desert tortoise and other sensitive wildlife species to help mitigate the project’s potential impacts.
The BLM oversees more than 1.5 million acres in Riverside County, including nearly a million acres managed for conservation. Statewide, the BLM manages more than 15 million acres in California, including over 5 million acres managed for conservation.

Leader Proposes $1.2 Billion for BLM in Financial Year 2016

Request Underscores Administration&rsquos Dedication to Renewable and standard Energy Programs, Sage Grouse Conservation, National Conservation Lands, and BLM Foundation
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leader Obama today asked for $1.2 billion in appropriations for that Department from the Interior&rsquos Bureau of Land Management for Financial Year 2016.&nbspThe request BLM&rsquos operating accounts signifies a rise of $91.4 million over the 2015 passed level. The proposal includes proper opportunities that underscore the Administration&rsquos ongoing strong support for assisting and enhancing control over elevated wind turbine, conserving sage-grouse habitat in the western world, strengthening BLM&rsquos National Conservation Lands, and creating a BLM Foundation to promote public close ties that support BLM&rsquos missions.
&ldquoThe Bureau of Land Management is proud to experience a main role within our Nation&rsquos economy through energy development, entertainment, grazing, timber, and conservation activities,&rdquo stated BLM Director Neil Kornze. &ldquoWe greatly understand the support from the Leader and Congress in assisting us take important steps forward in responsible and powerful energy development, as well as in correctly controlling a number of America&rsquos craziest places.&rdquo
The BLM provides significant economic benefits for towns nationwide.&nbspEach year, lands underneath the Bureau&rsquos management lead over $100 billion in local business activities and support greater than 440,000 jobs. &nbspIn the final financial year, the BLM produced over $5 billion in receipts from public lands, reaping helpful benefits Condition government authorities and also the U.S. Treasury.
The Leader&rsquos 2016 budget continues the BLM&rsquos tradition of serving the American public by concentrating on the next focal points:
Supporting and Modernizing Control over Elevated Wind Turbine &ndash Previously six years, the BLM has labored to facilitate a clear energy revolution on public lands, approving lots of utility-scale alternative energy generation and transmission projects.&nbspThe agency has additionally supported record oil production from public lands with the approval of 1000’s of recent wells every year.&nbspThe BLM works carefully with partners across the nation to make sure growth and development of renewable and standard energy happens within the right places which projects are handled securely and sensibly.&nbspThe Leader&rsquos budget proposes significant opportunities for enhancing the way the BLM rents, permits, and inspects gas and oil wells, including upgrading rules to mirror current industry practices and putting needed technology at the disposal of BLM employees. &nbsp
The 2016 plan for gas and oil management activities all sources signifies a rise of $29.a million within the 2015 passed level.&nbspThe additional funding can make the BLM faster and wiser about reacting to management issues, public concerns, and the requirements of industry.&nbspThe Leader&rsquos budget reflects a brand new method of provide assets towards the area by suggesting to bolster BLM&rsquos inspection program by charging a charge similar to that billed for offshore development.&nbspThe new fee is believed to total $48 million in 2016, that will give a program increase of $6.9 million of these activities, while enabling the BLM to become more attentive to industry demand and altering assessments workload.
Rebuilding Sage Grouse Habitat through Close ties and Collaboration &ndash To guarantee the lengthy-term stability of sage grouse and also the ongoing vitality of western financial systems, the BLM is leading an unparalleled, collaborative west-wide effort to update and strengthen control over sage grouse habitat.&nbspKey collaborators include western governors, condition wildlife agencies, areas, the U.S. Seafood and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and also the U.S. Forest Service.&nbspThe Leader&rsquos 2016 budget request includes as many as $60 million, a rise of $45. million within the 2015 passed level, for applying the Sage Grouse Conservation Technique to enhance sage steppe conservation and restoration over the landscape.&nbspThese funds allows the company and it is many partners to consider significant steps forward on rebuilding rangelands, reducing the specter of wildfire, controlling invasive plants, and enhancing riparian areas.
Supporting the BLM National Conservation Lands, American&rsquos Latest Conservation System &ndash The Leader&rsquos budget includes an $11.two million program increase for that BLM National Conservation Lands, which celebrate their 15th anniversary in 2016.&nbspThis investment will address high-priority needs in conservation areas, including supplying fundamental support for entertainment and customer services. &nbspWhile National Conservation Lands represent merely a small area of the lands handled through the Bureau, one-third of site visitors to BLM lands visit these special areas. &nbspThis investment will assist you to ensure these untamed places remain a legacy for those future decades.
Creating a BLM Foundation &ndash Regarding the his budget request, the Leader is delivering to Congress several legislative plans, including one which would set up a congressionally chartered non-profit reason for BLM. &nbspA foundation would strengthen the BLM&rsquos reference to the general public by helping link People in america for their public lands with an organization that will raise and spend private funds and promote constructive close ties meant for the BLM&rsquos mission.&nbsp&nbspThe foundation would be employed in a way much like those of the nation’s Park Foundation, the nation’s Seafood and Wildlife Foundation, and also the National Forest Foundation.

Additionally for this year&rsquos budget focal points, Director Kornze congratulated the effort of BLM employees across the nation. &nbsp&ldquoThe BLM includes a unique and broad mission.&nbspOur duty is to locate the best balance between multiple-use and sustained-yield,&rdquo stated Kornze.&nbsp&ldquoI am incredibly happy with the effort made by BLM&rsquos employees over the West and nationwide.&nbspThey make tough choices every single day plus they work relentlessly to make sure that the company is engaging with and hearing our partners and also the towns that people serve.&rdquo