"Seasons In The Smokies" To Premier In Mid-July

Seasons in the Smokies, the second in the Smoky Mountain Explorer Series from Great Smoky Mountains Association, will make its first appearance on the big screen during a premiere showing of the film Thursday, July 17.

Gary Wilson, GSMA's award-winning filmmaker, will discuss what it took to make this project during an hour-long exclusive premiere event at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on July 17.

Wilson spent countless hours hiking in Great Smoky Mountain National Park's backcountry, filming, editing and writing to produce a film that takes viewers effortlessly through the calendar from a frigid winter high atop Mt. Le Conte to a balmy summer day in Cades Cove to the stunning fall landscape seen everywhere in the Smokies each October.

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Great Smoky Mountains Association cinematographer Gary Wilson hikes to Mt. Le Conte during a winter storm to capture footage of the area rarely seen by others/GSMA.

“Gary’s willingness to carry his substantial equipment six or seven miles up a steep mountain trail and climb out of his sleeping bag at 3:30 a.m. to shoot time lapses of sunrise sets his images apart,” said Steve Kemp, GSMA’s interpretive products and services director.

Wilson has visited some 33 different national parks and spent thousands of hours filming and photographing the backcountry. His first full-length film project for GSMA’s Explorer Series, An Island in the Sky, took first-place honors at the most recent Association of Partners for Public Lands media competition. Since its release last summer, the DVD/BluRay has raised thousands of dollars to support park projects.

“Having visited national parks in the west like Yosemite, Mount Rainier and Glacier, I know firsthand that they are renowned for open fields of wildflowers with iconic mountain views,” said Wilson. “Yet, the Great Smoky Mountains have their own iconic views with flowering plants on heath balds that hug some of the park’s most rugged terrain. That’s just a small part of what I wanted to show with this film.”

The Thursday, July 17, viewing of Seasons of the Smokies is open to the public free of charge. Following his talk, Wilson will be available to autograph copies of both his Smoky Mountain Explorer films.

Since its inception in 1953, Great Smoky Mountains Association has supported the preservation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and by promoting greater public understanding and appreciation through education, interpretation and research. A non-profit organization, GSMA has provided more than $32 million to the park during its 60-year history. Funds generated through sales of Seasons of the Smokies support the national park.


I really hope that you appreciate what Kurt is doing for you here, Gary Wilson. Perhaps it may make you consider contributing to this site.

Gary Wilson, thank you for your efforts and Traveler for posting this article.

Maybe we should appreciate what Gary is doing for all of us and others who may not have the chance to see the Smokies in person.

Gary, you obviously make a positive impact on the national park system. Unfortunately, your personal attacks on those people that disagree with you takes away from the positives. You might be better suited to stay neutral in the future when trying to sell a product to those that love the GSMNP as much as you do.

Thanks guys. There was a lot of work put into both films. It's part of a series that will be either 6 to 8 films, and document many aspects about the park.

Smoky0325, first, please use your real name instead of hiding behind a pseudonym. I'm actually a pretty easy going guy, and i'm not afraid of an opinion, or what people think about me. While there is a group of 4 to 5 people that might not like me, i've had my share of supporters over the years and have had quite a lot of great conversations about the park. And staying neutral, and kowtowing to certain small groups that drum up a lot of misinformation, and mindless attacks on forums that I like to read isn't exactly going to inspire me to just tow the line to appease them. I was raised to defend myself, and it's part of who I am. Many other artists, and ecologically minded conservationists have had opinions through the years too on issues relating to National Parks.

He is so used to attacking those with opposing views, he doesn't even realize he is doing it. Fine example of the extreme left...

Beach, it's evident, you could care less about ecology in our National Parks. Some of us do WANT to see piping plovers and sea turtles, and flora exist in a wild state on National Park lands. Maybe what needs to happen on Hatteras, is that some group needs to document via video to show the effects and actions of ATVs on beach habitat. I bet you wouldn't like the results even when the evidence is documented and in front of you.

misinformation being drummed up....are you finally speaking about the GSMNP administration that has either retired or now moved on to other parks...after they pushed this backpacking fee through?

Pot, kettle, black, beachdumb. Fine example of the extreme anything, which does include you.

Beach, when you say, "He is so used to attacking those with opposing views, he doesn't even realize he is doing it." perhaps you need to go back and read some of your own posts.

Perhaps we ALL need to let any posts mellow for an hour or two, then read them again and THINK before pushing the Post Your Comment button.

Let's see, it's 11:22 my time right now. I'll be back at 12:22

Okay, 12:41. Don't think my mommy would find anything wrong so here goes . . . .

Gary, this article begs two questions. First, since you are obviously getting paid to make this film I am assuming you followed the NPS rules on commercial photography in the park so how much did you have to pay in terms of fees for that privilege.

Second, do you still feel as if this magazine is the "National Parks Enquirer" as you so recently ranted on another of your diatribes.

I realize some will try to shame me into thinking that just because I film within the Smokies, that I should feel guilty about doing such work.

But, i'm not ashamed if the revenue that these films are generating are used to protect ash or hemlock trees from invasive species, or goes to provide education for kids in Jr Ranger programs so that they grow up inspired about salamanders, owls and bears that are protected in the parks confines. I'm not being guilted into it by the SFWer crowd, because that's their modus operandi.

Question begs, what have you actually done for the Smokies, John?

You are evading the question, Gary. Its a simple one. Did you pay the commercial photography fee to the National Park Service? You are getting paid and that is a law.

As for me, I am and have been a VIP (volunteer in the Park) for several years now. My volunteer hours are all, entirely, unpaid. I have never made one dime off the Smokies or any unit of the NPS.

As I stated above, i'm not being guilted into what I do for the Smokies by the SFWer crowd. Good luck in life John.

It is a simple matter of simple public record if indeed you did pay the commercial photography fee to the NPS. I'm pretty good at finding out those sorts of things. I will take your lack of response to indicate that you do no volunteer work for the park outside of that for which you are compensated and break your arm patting yourself on the back.

I suppose I could start by calling my friend on the board of GSMA as a courtesy before filing a FOIA.

Good luck on your movie(s) Gary. I'm sure you are a talented photographer. My advice would be to let your art speak for itself.

Here is a clip from the video:

John, just for the record, I do follow park rules and regulations in regards to filming. Every time i'm in the backcountry, I have my backcountry permit that i've purchased, and also meet the requirements as a single filmmaker in regards to carrying 2 tripods, minimal sound equipment, and DSLR's. Also, not once in 3 years have I been sited, or scorned by a ranger for any of my countless hours spent in the field, and i've encountered quite a few of them. I also follow ethical guidelines to a T when I film wildlife.. You claim that you walk around trails, picking up trash? Well, so do I. I've done quite a bit of that over the years. I've hauled out a lot of trash and debris over the years at shelters and campsites, and on trail.

I've also talked to and pointed many of visitors to having a great adventure in the park, by giving them information on what's in bloom, best places to go to see wildlife, or what trails are good at what time of year.

So your continual attempts at bullying me, and everyone that either is part of a cooperating association, or within any part of a National Park is a bit of a joke. Unlike you i'm part of an organization that helps fund the park.

Ok, everyone, let's simmer things down. This isn't a site to bash others. This post in particular is to help promote a video on the beauty and wonders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Wish I lived closer to the park to attend the premier....

Thanks Kurt. I appreciate you posting this. I won't say anything more...

Gary, your obviously a talented film maker. I can't help but wonder where all of your anger comes from. Respecting Kurt's wishes I will refrain from further comments. However, somehow would like to talk to you offline. Lastly, as a SFWer I have always followed the rules (always have my permit), support the park, hauled out my share of trash, and as you put it have never been scorned by a ranger.

What I find interesting in this conversation is the idea of picking up other peoples trash being held up as an example of good stewardship. I'm not saying that it isn't but on a taxonomy of good stewardship practices it is not that high on my list. People that study and define ecosystems and dedicated managers that work to protect the integrity of parks, individuals and organizations that help finance research and protection of parks for intact ecosystems or return ecosystems to a natural balance, legislators that create laws and mangers that form management goals to protect or promote ecosystems and finally people like Gary that promote whole ecosystems through their art are all of a much higher value to me. <p>It is a pet peeve when specific organisations use organized trash cleanups as a public example of their stewardship and then advocate for reduced resource protection laws or for an increase for their own personal recreational access.<p> For me it goes without saying that all (either individual or as a group) should lead by example by removing whatever they can whenever they can that doesn't belong (trash wise), period. <p> Sorry if I stepped on anybody's toes here.

Buxton is referring to a specific group fighting for reasonable access to CHNSRA that holds several beach clean ups per year. Something the NPS does not do, and the result is the VFAs have more trash then the ORV areas. The OBX Group NPS has had to be shamed into doing any cleaning up. A recent example is where they put a prenesting closure, which was feet away from a highway, and cleaned up the trash inside the closure but left all the other trash strewn all along the highway in the same area. I am sure they were too busy erecting all those closure signs...


Not sure how the Park not cleaning up trash in the state highway easement is necessarily the NPS responsibility. We have a very different definition of reasonable access and no I wasn't thinking just about ORVs in Hatteras. I was also thinking of articles about snowmobiles, rafting, mountain biking, base jumping etc. I am sure others have examples. I think it is great your ORV organizations clean up their beaches just saying i dont need a vehicle or feel the need to validate my trash efforts. The question I was exploring is what is good stewardship? And I think Gary's work is an excellent example.

Can we discuss that?

Not my organiziation and not a member, but I have donated to them and others in the past via collection coin jars and BBQ fund raisers. I agree that stewardship can not be judged solely on who picks up the most trash.