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Every August since 2010, the Blue Ridge Breakaway has pulled in tens of thousands of dollars for Haywood County businesses,…
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 19:45

River park would boost visitation, tax revenues

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Kelly Custer has been a lifelong lover of the outdoors, from playing sports as a kid to mountaineering adventures in…
News spread fast last week after the Sylva Police Department removed more than 50 spikes from hiking trails at Pinnacle…
Wednesday, 01 March 2017 16:21

What me chase?

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Regular readers of “The Naturalist’s Corner” may remember that I’ve decided to keep a 2017 year-list of birds. I noted,…
When starting the hike, it’s not immediately obvious why the Chimney Tops Trail should be appointed for long-term closure. The…
According to the National Phenology Network, Punxsutawny Phil had it all wrong when he emerged from his hole this month…
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:07

The Naturalist's Corner: Is spring springing earlier?

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Back in January I surveyed the Tellico Fire with MountainTrue biologist Josh Kelly. We were there to check out the…
If you’d polled Kimberley Brookshire’s friends a couple years ago, they’d likely have said the chances were slim to none…
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 16:24

Twice threatened

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In the land of the noonday sun, there lives a noonday snail. The noonday globe snail, Petera clarkia Nantahala is…
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 16:04

FAQ: The effects of WNC’s 2016 fire season

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Did the fires hurt wildlife?  Prescribed burning is often used as a tool to benefit wildlife by regenerating their habitat,…
It’s a warmer-than-average January day, the contours of the mountains visible from the highway beneath a thin covering of leafless…
Land conservation groups across the region found something to celebrate this month when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an…
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 17:32

The probably not so — Big Year

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The 2011 movie “The Big Year” — a comedy starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson — didn’t ruffle…
It was around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, when the two hikers stepped out of their red Ford Edge and…
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 17:27

Nothing like old-time boardinghouses

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Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in January 2011. Are there boardinghouses still operating here…
Just north of Cullowhee, at the curvy, gravel terminus of Cane Creek Road, sits the building containing the world’s largest…
January is universally recognized as the time to make a fresh start, throw away last year’s used-up calendar and dream…
Judy Seago almost left the United States without packing a stethoscope.  Seago, a pediatrician, was headed to Nepal on a…
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 15:54

Welcome to the first day of winter

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Your Cold Side Time to make tracks In winter’s first snow. Breathe in the first blast Of winter’s cold.
Dowdy Bradley is 68 years old, and for nearly all of those years he’s been involved in some kind of…
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 16:42

Granddaddy of ‘em all

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This year will mark the 117th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC.) The CBC is the longest-lived and largest citizen-science…
Over the course of thousands of years lived in the Southern Appalachian mountains, the Cherokee people had pretty well developed…
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 16:52

To the bluffs: Two-year Alum Cave Trail project culminates

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It’s a miraculously warm, blue-skied November day, the iconic Alum Cave Trail stretching smoothly from the trailhead.  The trail invites,…
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 19:15

Creep on

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It’s been about a month since my family and I enjoyed our assault on Whitetop. OK, so in reality, it’s…
Armed with five-gallon buckets and a groundswell of energy, 14 teens from Balsam-based SOAR Camp descended on Eugene Christopher’s Waynesville…
It’s a sunny day at Haywood Community College, light sparkling from the campus’s landmark mill pond and shining through the…
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 15:21

Welcome home

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The lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, once ranged across North America from the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay drainages down the…
Some things change, and some things stay the same.  Thousands of years ago, humans developed visual and spoken languages to…
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 16:05

Forest fires ignite the Nantahala as drought worsens

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Nantahala District Ranger Mike Wilkins was headed to church Sunday morning, Oct. 23, when he got the call. A forest…
Western North Carolina is rife with trails and maps to facilitate exploration of the mountain landscape, but an effort is…
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 16:52

Failure to communicate?

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Well it seems there was one and I’m sure it could have been my fault. Smoky Mountain News reporter Holly…
The sun had barely risen over the Pisgah Ridge, but the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Devils Courthouse pull-off was teeming — mainly…
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 17:53

You’re going the wrong way – not

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When you’re out chasing fall migrants and you either have a good internal compass or you’re somewhere it’s pretty easy…
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 17:41

Congressman sits down with wilderness supporters

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Congressman Mark Meadows (R-Cashiers) and a room of 30 wilderness supporters spent two hours discussing everything from ecology to U.S.…
A cadre of curious animals gathers at the gate as Joe Moore, owner of Indian Springs Farms in Bethel, approaches…
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 16:22

Big and wild

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Big and wild can’t be big and wild if your mind and heart are small.  A “real” public meeting —…
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 16:18

Parks and Rec master plan seeks input

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Area residents who avail themselves of Waynesville’s recreational facilities and programs have a chance to shape their respective futures —…
Much of America spent Aug. 5-21 with eyes glued to a television, cheering on athletes from all corners of the…
It was nighttime in the White Mountains, and Steve Claxton was pretty sure he wouldn’t make it till morning. Rain…
Wednesday, 14 September 2016 15:53

Must have been an omen

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When I checked my email Friday morning (9/9), I had a message from Chris Kelly, mountain wildlife diversity biologist with…
High in the Plott Balsams, there’s a swath of property riddled with panoramic views, sparking waterfalls and high-elevation solitude that…
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 14:56

Can’t see the forest for the webs

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From what I gather from Facebook and overhear in the checkout line, the view I encounter every morning on my…
It’s not unusual for Waterrock Knob, which boasts some of the best views on the Blue Ridge Parkway, to see…
As manager of Waynesville’s urban forest, it’s safe to say that Jonathan Yates likes trees. So when Diane Kornse of…
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 15:31

Ma Nature doesn’t see things the way we do

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The red-cockaded woodpecker (RCWO) is a small – cardinal-sized – woodpecker native to eastern pine forests. It once ranged from…
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 15:25

Forest Service evaluates potential wilderness areas

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The cadre of groups helping the U.S. Forest Service work toward a new management plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest…
For the past decade, Sylva’s Pinnacle Park has had Sae Smyrl envisioning a lofty future for the hiking area. A…
Wednesday, 03 August 2016 16:17

A real can of DNA worms

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A new whole-genome (the entire genetic makeup) study published in Science Advances on July 27 is giving the already muddied…
The air on the Cataloochee Divide Trail is heavy with humidity and the promise of an afternoon storm, but the…
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