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Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:22

Paint Rock

As one whom is often standing on the shoulder of the road peering through binoculars, I’m accustomed to people slowing down and asking, “What are you looking at?” Well last Saturday I got to turn the tables. I was zooming…
By Brent Martin • Contributor Mention the name George Ellison to most people living in western North Carolina and what immediately comes to mind are tales of neotropical songbirds, Horace Kephart, James Mooney, Cherokee folklore, a dizzying array of plant…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:27

Explore unique, beautiful gardens

By Shannan Mashburn • SMN Intern Gardeners, wannabe-gardeners and those who simply appreciate a fine garden can catch a behind-the-scenes peak of some of the best gardens in Haywood County during the upcoming Haywood County Garden Tour from 9 a.m.-4…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:26

Bog is good

Mountain bogs are some of the rarest and most imperiled natural habitat in the country. They are generally small and scattered across the landscape often isolated from other wetlands. This isolation can create unique habitats, which in turn create unique…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:25

Blue Ridge Breakaway registration discounts

The first early registration discount for the third annual Blue Ridge Breakaway biking event in Haywood County has passed, but riders can still save money by registering prior to Aug. 3. Registration fees for the Century, Metric Century and 40-mile…
North Carolina State University’s Forest & Environmental Outreach Program is co-sponsoring a series of four workshops for private forest landowners in Western North Carolina called “Woodland Steward Series: Mountains Program” between July 18 and Aug. 17. The program is designed…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:24

Don your best kilt for the Braveheart 5K

The Braveheart 5K footrace and one-mile kids’ fun run will streak into downtown Franklin on Saturday, June 16. The race is a fundraiser for The Scottish Tartans Museum, a nonprofit organization based in Franklin that is dedicated to the history and…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:23

MedWest hosts Triathlon

MedWest is sponsoring a triathlon at 8 a.m. July 7 at the MedWest Health & Fitness Center in Clyde. The triathlon includes a 300-yard swim in the indoor pool with biking and running portions on lightly traveled roads with great…
  The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission now has an online map and the GPS coordinates for nearly 550 fish attractor locations across the state. Angers can access the map and download GPS coordinates from the “Where to Fish” section on…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:21

Cradle of Forestry to host firefly tour

The Cradle of Forestry in America will host its annual Firefly Twilight Tour from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. June 16 at the Pink Beds Picnic Area in the Pisgah National Forest. Naturalists from the Cradle of Forestry conduct the tour…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:20

Catch the summer solstice June 20

The first moment of summer will occur at 7:09 p.m. June 20, say astronomers with the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute near Brevard. At the moment of the solstice, the sun be at its northern most point in the sky. In…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:20

Invasive insect kills ash trees

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials confirmed that the invasive emerald ash borer beetles — which can kill ash trees — are near the Sugarlands Visitor Center and in the Greebrier area on the Tennessee side of the park. The…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:19

Jackson growers to help Community Table

This week the Community Garden will begin its Fresh Produce Initiative by taking weekly donations from vendors and customers at the Jackson County Farmer’s Market to the Community Table. The donation cooler will be located at the Market Information Booth.…
National Park staff and volunteers will pay tribute to rural women of the past from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 16 at the Mountain Farm Museum in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park will pay tribute to…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:15

Blue Ridge Parkway hike of the week

The Blue Ridge Parkway is hosting a hike titled “Down to the Graveyard” at 10 a.m. June 15 on the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail. Rangers will lead the easy two-mile hike to see a waterfall and learn more about the…
Biodiviersity Days in the Smokies June 20-23 will commemorate the diversity of plant and animal life in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Biodiversity Days will include programmed seminars, demonstrations, scientist-led field trips and more. It is estimated that as…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:29

Hit the trail with kids in the Smokies

Two hiking programs aimed at getting families and kids outdoors and on the trail have been launched in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:27

Folkmoot 4.01K Race set for July 14

The Folkmoot 4.01K race through downtown Waynesville will be held at 8 a.m. on July 14. This year, organizers decided to tweak the traditional 5K Folkmoot race by shifting the course from Hazelwood to downtown Waynesville and offering participants a…
By Danny Bernstein • Contributor            Many hikers are amazed by the balds that dot the Southern Appalachian landscape along the Appalachian Trail. Walking out of a tunnel of rhododendrons onto an open meadow where the views go on forever can…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:37

Birds of prey debut in Cashiers

A presentation titled “Winged Hunters – Birds of Prey” will begin at 7 p.m. June 26 at the Village Green in Cashiers. Michael Skinner of Balsam Mountain Trust will bring live raptors and teach participants about their habits. Participants can…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:37

Bird walk being offered into Chinquapin

The Highlands Plateau Audubon Society will host its weekly bird walk on June 23 at Chinquapin in Cashiers. The group will meet at the Highlands Town Hall near the public restrooms at 7:30 a.m. and carpool to Cashiers. Cashiers residents…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:36

Videos spotlight N.C. destinations in GSMNP

A new series of short internet videos feature North Carolina sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The videos were produced by the Great Smoky Mountains Association and were paid for with a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:35

Wolf program comes to libraries in Jackson

Rob Gudger brings his Wolf Tales educational program to two local libraries in the coming days. Known as “Trapper Rob,” the Haywood County-based wildlife biologist will conduct events at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva on Tuesday, June 26,…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:32

Fern workshop part of activity series

Local writer and naturalist George Ellison will conduct a “Fern Identification 101” workshop from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. July 5 at the Highlands Biological Station. Of the 70 species of ferns in western North Carolina, participants in the workshop…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:31

MedWest Rehab offers free running seminar

MedWest Rehabilitation Services is offering a free running seminar from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 25 at the MedWest Outpatient Care Center at 581 Leroy George Dr. on the MedWest-Haywood campus in Clyde. The seminar will be led by…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:31

In search of the rare and beautiful

The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT) will host a hike on June 22 led by Jack Johnston to see the rare Mountain Camellia (Stewartia ovata) in bloom.  Join members of LTLT on the annual quest to find the…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:25

Check your vital signs

The Mountain Resources Commission, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center at the University of North Carolina at Asheville have created a Western North Carolina Vitality Index. The purpose…
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:06

Firecracker 5K lights a fuse with runners

  If you are looking to run a personal best, consider the Bryson City Firecracker 5k on July 4th. The course, which begins downtown and heads toward the Deep Creek community and back, is one of the flattest 5K courses…
This year’s U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Championships were held in Cherokee last weekend, with venues including the catch-and-release waters in Cherokee, the Upper Nantahala and the Lower Nantahala.
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:05

Horse exhibition to benefit Panthertown

  The Bald Rock Horse Exhibition will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 30 in Sapphire to benefit the Friends of Panthertown, a non-profit that works to preserve, protect and promote the unique national forest recreational area…
  From spider behavior to salamander pheromones, researchers with the Highlands Biological Station are seemingly undaunted by the finer, even obscure points of mountain ecology. They will present a sampling of their research projects at 7 p.m. July 5 at…
 Building the original elevator to the mountain’s summit in 1949 took workers 18 months to blast through solid granite, creating a 258-foot shaft reached through a 198-foot-long tunnel. It was completely revamped.
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:02

Watch that stream

  The Town of Waynesville has partnered with Haywood Waterways Association to strategically place stream-crossing signs around town and help the public become more aware of the water resources around them. There are eight streams that flow through or near…
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:01

Join rangers for a hike to Black Balsam

Rangers with the Blue Ridge Parkway will lead a hike to the summit of Black Balsam Knob in the Shining Rock Wilderness of Haywood County at 10 a.m. Friday, June 29. The hike is an easy to moderate 2-mile roundtrip…
 “Spectacular Southern Appalachians” is the theme of a Nature Photography Exhibit by the mountain chapter of the Carolinas Nature Photographers Association that will be on display until July 31 at the Cradle of Forestry.
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:58

Growers needed for new Stecoah market

  A new farmer’s market has opened at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center in Graham County every Wednesday morning from 8-11 a.m. The Tailgate Market will feature fresh garden produce, flowers, herbs, plants and value-added food products.  This will…
The Canary Coalition’s annual membership gathering will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. June 29 at the Jackson County Public Library Community Room in Sylva. There will be a potluck dinner, live music and a performance by Chad Halliburton,…
Artist Rick Hills, a studio owner in Waynesville, is donating 20 percent of the sale of his artwork on display at the Village Green Café in Waynesville to benefiting Haywood Waterways Association. The work will be on display until July…
  Gov. Perdue has to be weary. This weariness was apparent months ago when she declared she would not seek re-election. Her vetoes are little more than symbolic with the current make up of the General Assembly and here she…
A sweeping review of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests will get under way in a matter of months, a behemoth, multi-year process that will layout a new blueprint for how the forests are managed for the first time in…
 A million acres of national forests sounds like a lot, and indeed it is. But consider the 8.6 million people who visit the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests every year and those vast green swaths that checker any map of…
If you fall from a ledge rock-climbing, break a leg backpacking in the wilderness or twist your shoulder paddling a remote river, hope like hell that Robin Pope will happen by.
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Kudos, Gov. Perdue

News outlets began reporting Sunday night (July 1) that North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed Senate Bill 820, which would have allowed energy companies to use a process known as hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking, to drill for natural gas in…
A hummingbird program by Cathyrn and John Sill will be held July 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kern Youth Center at Lake Junaluska by the Great Smoky Mountains Audubon Society. Cathryn Sill is the author of the “About” series…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Fly fishing guide to share secret spots

The Plateau Fly Fishing Club will hold a casting clinic at 6:15 p.m. and a meeting at 7 p.m. July 10 at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers library.   The speaker will be Alex Bell, owner of AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Mapping ancient Cherokee mounds

Cherokee mounds will be the focus of a 7 p.m., July 12, presentation at the Highlands Biological Station. Ben Steere, from the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research Program at the University of Georgia, will give a talk titled “The Western…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Stargazing comes to a telescope near you

An evening of stargazing using optical or radio telescopes will be held at 7 p.m. July 13 at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute. The event is part of the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute’s monthly evening at PARI series. It will…
Nantahala Outdoor Center has opened a new Nantahala Zip Line Adventure Park that features a traditional zip line and aerial obstacle course.
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Hay Day rolls into Haywood July 12

The Mountain Research Station will hold its annual Hay Day on July 12, featuring demonstrations of the latest hay equipment and educational sessions for growers. Two hours of pesticide credits are available as well as three hours of continuing education…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

LTLT to share vision and work

Learn the latest about the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, including an update on land conservation initiatives, at noon on Thursday, July 12, at Tartan Hall in Franklin. The League of Women Voters of Macon County is sponsoring the…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Guided hike explores Purchase Knob

Meet with a park ranger and enjoy mountain views while lunching on top of Hemphill Bald July 19. Hiking enthusiast and author Danny Bernstein will lead the hike from Purchase Knob to Hemphill Bald as part if Friends or the…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Land Trust hosts Yellow Creek Falls hike

The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee will host a nature study and leisurely hike to Yellow Creek Falls and nearby stretches of the creek in Robbinsville July 13. Philip Moore, the Land Trust’s program director for Clay, Cherokee and…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Hike the Smokies with a naturalist

A guided hike on the three-and-a-half mile round-trip Thomas Divide Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be held July 7. Great Smoky Mountains Association is sponsoring the hike, which will be led by naturalist Liz Domingue. Thomas…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Audubon Society to host birding tours, talk

The Highlands Plateau Audubon Society is offering birders a chance to stroll around the grounds of a private home on Mirror Lake in Highlands on July 7. Also on tap will be a talk by Douglass Pratt, a curator with…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Winged creatures of the night unveiled

The Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah Forest just outside of Brevard will host a night for nature enthusiasts of all ages to learn more about night-flying animals during the Winged Creatures of the Night Program from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.…
The Bascom’s 2012 Mountains in Bloom Garden Festival, which includes a garden tour and flower show, will take place July 13-14.
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Farm tour and garden walk in Jackson

The Jackson County Farmers Market is sponsoring the sixth annual Farm Tour and Garden Walk from 1 to 5 p.m. July 14 and 15.
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:28

Take a working vacation on the AT

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is searching for volunteers to help maintain sections along the fabled footpath. No previous trail experience is necessary — just a desire to work hard, live in the backcountry and have a great time among new…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:27

Learn how to manage your forest land

Four workshops for private forest landowners in Western North Carolina will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays between mid-July and mid-August. The workshops, titled “Woodland Steward Series: Mountains Program,” are held at various locations including the N.C. Arboretum, Cradle of…
Foxes sighted in daylight, or in urban and suburban settings are not necessarily rabid or dangerous, according to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Residents should still take action to avoid conflict with these common animals. Simply seeing a fox is…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:25

Reward offered in elk poaching case

The N.C. Wildlife Federation is offering $5,000 for information about the recent elk killings that directly leads to an arrest or other official action. The three elk were killed around May 18 in the Mount Sterling area of Haywood County…
Hikers who want to travel smarter on trails in the Southern mountains now have access to a mobile app called “Great Hikes of the Southern Appalachians.” The app allows adventurers to carry all the maps, directions and other hiking information…
Friends of the Smokies and The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation are among a select group of organizations featured as part of the National Parks Traveler’s special edition magazine — Essential Friends, Celebrating Friends Groups In The National Parks. Essential Friends…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:22

Pigeon River Fund awards grants

Seven projects received $116,300 in grants from the Pigeon River Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Grant recipients include: • The Haywood County Schools Foundation, where a curriculum-based program provides classroom and field activities for students in…
Students can join a park ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer in a hands-on work project. The Summer Student Volunteer Days is for high school and college students. Here’s what’s available in North Carolina: • From…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:21

Kids camp to explore heritage farming

Kids will explore local agriculture in the 4-H Farm to Fork Day Camp in Haywood County held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 31 to Aug. 2. The Farm Bureau is sponsoring the camp for children ages six to…
Western Carolina University has gotten more kudos for lowering energy use and costs and promoting utility savings.
The ninth-annual Mountain Wildlife Days will be held Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, at Sapphire Valley Resort near Cashiers, featuring a smorgasbord of wildlife-related events and programs.
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:17

Famous NYC offspring

New York City is big, bustling and in July – hot, but there are always entertaining and even educational ways to escape the heat. The planets aligned just right giving both Denise and me the entire July Fourth week off.…
International birder and Highlands-Cashiers resident Romney Bathurst will present “Around the World in 80 Birds” at 7:30 p.m. July 23 at the Highlands Civic Center. Bathurst will present photos to accompany her talk, which will be about birding trips to…
In 25 years of teaching kindergarten, Cathryn Sills of Franklin read a lot of books to her young students. In the process, she learned a lot about what children like to read and what they don’t like to read.
The National Forest Service is trying to hash out a new policy for building wind towers on public lands. The move is prompted by “increasing industry interest in development of wind energy facilities on National Forest Service lands,” according to…
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Unexpected guest

There are almost as many reasons for watching birds as there are birders. Whether you are a backyard birder content to fill the feeders and occasionally glance out the window to see who’s flitting about or a hardcore lister, traveling…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Campaign for Needmore campground goes public

Mountain Neighbors for Needmore Preservation hope to raise about $250,000 to make a family campground on the Needmore tract a reality.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Camping to return at Needmore

When some 4,400 acres along the Little Tennessee River known as the Needmore Tract was taken over by the N.C. Wildlife Commission four years ago, a touch of the Wild West in WNC — complete with wholesome cattle ranchers and…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

The seach goes on

For the past four years — five years total, if you count the magical, muddy, mystery tour in Louisiana back in 2002 — the devout, the convinced, the skeptical and the curious have slogged and paddled across the swamps of…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Grand plans in store for Cherokee trout hatchery

The Cherokee Tribal Trout Hatchery is embarking on $500,000 renovation project that will more than double its already impressive capacity for raising trout.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

State forest users protests proposed bear hunt

A handful of lucky hunting parties were about to embark on a special bear hunt in DuPont State Forest last fall when wildlife managers realized they had gotten themselves in a bit of snare.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Birdapalooza results

My brother and I conducted our annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, La., last Friday, Feb. 15. While we didn’t set any records, we had a good count. We bested last…
The endangered Indiana bat saw a 9 percent population increase between 2005 and 2007, continuing a 12-year rise in bat numbers. However, a mysterious illness in the Northeast poses a threat to this success. The number of Indiana bats rose…
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 00:00

A long time coming

The public is two-and-a-half years late learning that a popular area for swimming, rafting and fishing in Jackson County isn’t safe for extended human contact with the water due to high levels of fecal coliform.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 00:00

My bags are packed

And I’m Loosiana bound — you do know it was named after Louis, not Louise?
Unsafe levels of fecal coliform in the Tuckasegee River and two tributaries around Dillsboro have Jackson County public health officials puzzled over how seriously to take the issue and what to do next.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Final countdown to the Chattooga decision

There are nine scenarios on the table in the debate over whether paddling should be allowed on the Upper Chattooga. They run the gamut, from a paddling free-for-all to none at all. The scenarios in between limit paddling under various…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Garden questions

By Jim Janke • Special to the Smoky Mountain News Editor’s note: This is the first of what will become a regular feature on gardening by the Haywood County master gardeners. Look for it every other week. “I can dig…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Wings of winter

Winter birding is often slow going. There is no chorus of rowdy and randy males singing lustily, and weather conditions can often be harsh. However, winter birding has its on set of rewards.
A long-awaited decision over paddling on the Upper Chattooga is expected within weeks by the National Forest Service.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

The Naturalist's Corner

There she was when I got up around 6:30 this morning, the buttons from her blue jeans shining radiantly just above the southern horizon, Venus was dazzling. Below and to the left of Venus like a poodle on a leash…
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Reward offered in Parkway bear killing

A driver on the Blue Ridge Parkway last November witnessed a group of hunters and their dogs corner a black bear against a rock face and shoot it in stark violation of the no-hunting policy of national parks.
By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer Not too long ago, the number of people who carried on the ancient Cherokee basket-weaving tradition had dwindled to just a handful. Today, the craft is experiencing a resurgence — thanks in part to…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Go west yon hiker

A new hiking club has joined the ranks of an already burgeoning collection of trail trotters in WNC.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Anticipation

It’s nine o’clock and my 6-year-old is snug in her bed and sound asleep even though she’s been told it will likely snow this evening. I, on the other hand, am pacing back and forth in front of the large…
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer The Southern Appalachian brook trout population is surviving through the drought that has been plaguing Western North Carolina this past year, according to Great Smoky Mountain National Park fisheries biologists Matt Kulp.
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Watershed represents diverse ecosystems

Norm Christensen told the Waynesville Watershed Advisory Board (WAB), representatives from the town and a few interested onlookers that despite heavy logging in the past the forest ecosystems in Waynesville’s 8,600-acre watershed were, “remarkably healthy” and “remarkably intact.” Christensen, founding…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Day hikes along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Balsam Gap Segment This portion of the trail runs for approximately 35 miles from Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) Balsam Gap Ranger Station (milepost 442.9) to the intersection of the BRP with NC 215 (BRP milepost 423.2). Abundant wildflowers and shrubs…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Parkway rangers work to save hemlocks

With a massive die-off of hemlock trees all but imminent in the mountains, Ranger Chris Ulrey is putting faith in a handful of high-elevation hemlocks along the Blue Ridge Parkway to be the species’ saving grace.
By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer The Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail hope its first-ever executive director will be able to complete the missing lengths in the footpath that runs the breadth of the Tar Heel state.
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

A tough farming year

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer “Overall, it’s been a really tough year for farming,” said Jackson County farmer William Shelton as he reflected back on 2007. “It’s one for the history books,” agreed Bill Skelton, director of the N.C.…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Hits and misses

The Carolina Field Birders (CFB) conducted their sixth annual Christmas Bird Count this past Saturday (12/29.) The annual CBC count is sponsored by the National Audubon Society and is the longest running ornithological database in the world. Initiated 108 years…