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Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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Nantahala Gorge revs up for Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend will be abuzz with activity on water and land in the Nantahala Gorge west of Bryson City. Whether obstacle courses, whitewater or family time on the flatwater is your thing, the weekend will offer a chance to partake. 

• Dash through an array of obstacles toward the finish in the Merrell Adventure Dash along the Nantahala River Saturday, May 28, at Nantahala Outdoor Center.  The race, which includes a 5K with categories based on age and gender, as well as a single-category 1K fun run, will kick off at 4:30 p.m., with an awards ceremony and live music to follow lasting through 8 p.m. 

$20, or free for kids 12 and under with a participating adult. Register online at www.ultrasignup.com through May 25 or day-of starting at 1 p.m. 828.785.5082.

• Families and youth will gather in the Nantahala Gorge May 28-29 for a weekend of flat and whitewater activities, games and camaraderie, with encouragement to develop new skills and try their hand at all three competitive whitewater disciplines: slalom, freestyle and downriver. Participants should be confident with a wet exit, and whitewater roll skills are a plus but not required. 

$30, with $10 fee for races. Lodging and food not included. Equipment loans available. Organized by the Nantahala Racing Club. Register online at www.nantahalaracingclub.com. 

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Fish away Memorial Day in Cherokee

Tagged trout worth $10,000 in prize money will swim Cherokee waters during the Cherokee Memorial Day Trout Tournament May 27 to 29, sponsored by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. 

All ages and legal fishing methods are welcome to participate in the event, which requires an $11 entry fee and a Cherokee fishing permit for all anglers 12 and older. 

The Qualla Boundary is home to 30 miles of privately stocked, freestone streams overseen by Cherokee Fisheries and Wildlife Management. Fishing is allowed daily from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Creek limit is 10 trout per day per permit holder. Each year, nearly 250,000 rainbow, brook and brown trout of various sizes are added to the existing fish population.

Contact 828.554.6110 or www.fishcherokee.com


Kickball league forming in Waynesville 

Kickball will kick off in Waynesville with an organizational meeting for a new summer adult co-ed kickball league, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at the Waynesville Recreation Center. 

Players 18 and older as of July 1 are welcome to participate, with games to be played Tuesdays and Thursdays in June, July and August. Entry fee will depend on the number of teams showing interest at the organizational meeting. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.456.2030. 


Summer day camp looking for adventurers 

A day camp for Jackson County middle schoolers with a hankering to try outdoor activities ranging from hiking to snorkeling is looking for participants July 11-14. 

Camp WILD — Wilderness, Investigating, Learning, Discovery — is open to students entering seventh or eighth grade and is organized by Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District. It’s designed to connect kids to nature while instilling a lifelong love of the outdoors. The emphasis will be on environmental learning as well as hands-on fun, with an overnight camping trip included in the itinerary. 

$25, with spaces limited. Registration open through June 3. Jane Fitzgerald, 828.586.5465 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 


Waterfalls and wildflowers come to Lake Logan 

A lively discussion highlighting the region’s most stunning waterfall hikes will deliver some valuable tips to outdoors lovers in a presentation at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, with author, botanist and professor Timothy Spira at Lake Logan Episcopal Center in Haywood County. 

Attendees will learn about the seasonal plant species they’ll encounter on each hike to waterfall destinations. Spira’s books include Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes and Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia. 

$25 registration includes lunch. Part of the Lake Logan Lecture Series, which brings regional storytellers, naturalists, historians and thought leaders to Lake Logan Episcopal Center. Register at www.lakelogan.org. 



Bogs, Bugs and Beavers — oh my!

Guided walks will showcase the natural history of beavers, their wetland-creating activities and the changing habitats they make during the Bogs, Bugs and Beavers program Saturday, May 28, at the Cradle of Forestry in America. 

Two walks of 1.75 miles will be offered along the Pink Beds Trail, one at 10:30 a.m. and one at 2 p.m., with each program lasting 90 minutes. Each excursion will begin at the Forest Discovery Center for a talk about beavers before heading out. 

$5 for ages 16 and up; free for youth, with full access to exhibits and trails included along with event admission. Located along U.S. 276 about 25 miles south of Waynesville.



Strawberry festival coming to Bryson

A day celebrating strawberries and springtime on a family farm will be offered Saturday, May 21, at Darnell Farms in Bryson City. 

The Strawberry Jam festival will give participants a chance to pick their own strawberries, watch teamster horses plow a field, hear bluegrass music and learn how to clog — with hayrides, storytelling and fishing also part of the day. Musicians and vendors are invited to participate as well. 

Organized in partnership with Swain County Cooperative Extension. Darnell Farms is located at 2300 Governors Island Road. 828.488.3848 for extension or 828.736.8047 to participate as a vendor or musician. 


Help clean up Jonathan Creek

Litter pick-up will get an entertaining twist at the Jonathan Creek Clean-up, beginning 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Maggie Valley Town Hall. 

Volunteer trash collectors will go out in teams, with prizes going to the team that finds the strangest piece of trash as well as to the team that collects the most rubbish. Close-toed shoes required. 828.926.0866.


Adult soccer is back in Haywood

A co-ed adult soccer league is returning to Haywood County for the summer, with a maximum of 10 teams of up to 13 players. 

Games will be played Monday and Wednesday evenings June 6 to July 31 at Allens Creek Park in Waynesville, with 7-on-7 play in two 25-minute halves. 

Registration deadline is 5 p.m. May 19. $390 per team with a minimum age of 18. Players must be out of high school. Organized by Haywood County Recreation and Parks. 828.452.6789 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 


Identify trees like a pro

A full-day workshop to turn tree novices into tree identification experts will be held Saturday, May 21, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The class “Introduction to Tree Identification” will keep technical terms to a minimum, using photographs to help students learn to identify trees based on their bark, twigs and leaves. Ecological requirements for dominant tree species in the area will also be reviewed to help students gauge the likelihood of encountering a particular species in a given location. 

$79. Taught by Mac Post as part of the Smoky Mountain Field School.



Barrel up rain for better gardening and conservation 

Rain barrels are on sale this spring at the Haywood Cooperative Extension office in Waynesville, part of an effort to raise awareness about water conservation. 

Haywood Waterways Association sells the rain barrels every spring, hoping to conserve water while also helping homeowners with gardening and landscaping. Barrels can be purchased anytime during normal business hours. 

$90. Go to the Extension office at 589 Raccoon Road or contact Haywood Waterways at 828.476.4667 or or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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