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Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:07

Last call for Polar Plunge

Wade, dash, splash or take the full plunge into Lake Junaluska from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 to help raise money for Haywood Waterways Association. The Polar Plunge will benefit the annual Kids on the Creek program,…
A boat ramp on Bear Creek Lake in the Tuckasegee area of Jackson County has been renovated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. A new floating dock with handicapped-accessible handrails was also installed. Bear Lake is small — but is…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:04

Float, boat or fish the Tuck

This spring, rolling down the Tuckasegee River will be, for the most part, as it has been in years past — but getting onto the river is becoming a whole lot easier. As canoers, kayakers, fishermen, college-aged tubers and other…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 02:02

Climbing event at Chimney Rock

An event called “Climbin’ the Chimney” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 2 is an opportunity to for participants to scale Chimney Rock with regional climbing education organization, Fox Mountain Guides. Chimney Rock is located in Chimney Rock…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 02:02

Duke grants to aid education, environment

Duke Energy is helping to fund new educational and environmental projects as part of its hydropower relicensing agreement in the Nantahala region. Projects include a new high school agri-science program, a youth environmental summer camp, and other educational programs and…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 01:54

Taking the polar plunge

Around 30 daring souls splashed and jumped into Lake Junaluska last Saturday for the first annual “Polar Plunge” to raise money for Haywood Waterways Kids in the Creek program.
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 01:52

Loosiana part deaux

What better place to start part deaux than Breaux Bridge along Bayou Teche? Firmin Breaux originally purchased the area that is now Breaux Bridge in 1771 from New Orleans businessman Jean Francois Ledée, who had acquired the land as an…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 01:51

WCU trail system now open to the public

Western Carolina University’s new trail system is open and ready for bikers, hikers and runners. About 100 people turned out Saturday, Feb. 23, for an outdoor campus celebration to mark the trail’s formal opening.
Shock waves rippled through the mountain hunting community last week as word spread of a sweeping undercover investigation targeting dozens of illegal rogue hunters.
Last week, state and federal wildlife officers began rounding up dozens of suspected poachers in Western North Carolina, bringing to fruition an undercover investigation that spanned several years across several rural mountain counties and penetrated the heart of an illegal…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:35

News from the AT

Teachers invited to bring the AT into their classroom Teachers and educators interested in incorporating the Appalachian Trail into their lessons ad classrooms can apply to the Trail to Every Classroom program, a series of three workshops led by the…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:30

Mountain scramble to Black Rock

The third annual Assault on Black Rock will test the strength and stamina of trail runners as they try to make it to the top of Pinnacle Park outside Sylva on Saturday, March 16, in Sylva.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:28

Hikes of the Smokies series kicks off

A guided hike in the Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be held on Tuesday, March 19, by Friends of the Smokies.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:26

Louisiana lagniappe

I know, I know, we’ve been in Louisiana for two weeks now, but when I look back at some of the photos and think of our trip I see a lot in common between public lands there and public lands…
During the next several weeks, thousands of people will leave from Springer Mountain in Georgia and begin the 2,184-mile trek to Maine along the Appalachian Trail. SEE ALSO: Follow me, into the wild For some, the trip is a lifelong…
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 23:20

Lorca, Neruda and the beautiful game

By Ted Olson • Contributing writer New Native Press, a small independent book publisher based in Tuckasegee in Jackson County, recently issued a book offering new translations of poems composed by the internationally recognized Spanish-language poets Federico Garcia Lorca and Pablo…
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 22:45

Booth display class for the farmers market

Farmers market vendors can get tips on how to set up their booths at a free seminar called “Booth Display for the Farmers Market” from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, at the Haywood Community College Student Center.
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 22:38

And now for something completely different

So what’s in the news nowadays? Any bad news for the environment? Let’s see. Wednesday, February 13, 2013, in the Smoky Mountain News – A story about the retirement of Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis noted “… he faced…
Like New York is known for its basketball legends, and Texas is known for its football stars, Western North Carolina has become one the big names in a slightly less conspicuous sport: competitive fly fishing. Fly fishing was long dominated…
Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is expected to be repaired and open by May 15 in time for the busy summer travel season. The Federal Highways Administration has just awarded a nearly $4…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:14

Cubs on the Run 5K kicks off spring

The family-friendly Cubs on the Run 5K will be held on Saturday, March 23, at Meadowbrook Elementary School in Canton, with a fun run starting at 8:30 a.m. and a 5K at 9 a.m. The Meadowbrook Cubs on the Run…
Lake Junaluska will host the Friends of the Lake 5K, Family Walk, and Children’s Fun Run at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 30, as part of its annual Easter weekend activities. Proceeds for this event go towards the annual maintenance and…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:11

Smokies backcountry fee taken to court

A lawsuit has been filed over a new backcountry camping fee imposed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Southern Forest Watch claims the backcountry camping fee was “rejected by public sentiment, improperly vetted and imposed upon citizens without their consent.” 
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:10

A.T. hiking season kicks off in Franklin

Franklin will celebrate its love for Appalachian Trail hikers with the annual April Fools Trail Days festival on Saturday, March 30, timed to coincide with the wave of A.T. hikers passing through the region at the beginning of their long…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:09

Graveyard Fields overlook to get makeover

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will provide $740,000 for projects and programs on the Parkway this year, including children’s education, projects for visitors’ services and preservation of historic, cultural and natural resources along the Parkway.
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:07

I have seen the light

I have seen the light, and I don’t like it. I have seen the light emanating from strip malls; from sports stadiums; from urban skylines; from cul-de-sacs; from factories; from almost any place twilight finds Homo sapiens and I don’t…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:04

Paddling springs eternal

Whitewater fanatics wait in line for their chance to do tricks, flips, spins and somersaults with their play boats on the Tuckasegee River near last Saturday for annual Kayak Demo Day. The day was unseasonably sunny and warm. It featured…
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 14:01

Walk, run, get out, get active

Sarge’s dog walk and run at Lake Junaluska The friends of Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation are putting on a one-mile run and dog walk Saturday, April 13, at Lake Junaluska. The proceeds will benefit Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation.  First place…
Several organizations have won a $214,195 state grant that will allow Macon County landowners improve water quality in the Little Tennessee River watershed. 
The Nantahala Outdoor Center has launched its own elite paddling team and signed whitewater slalom paddler Michal Smolen as its first member. The team was formed as a way to help in the training and sponsorship of paddling athletes. The…
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:56

Green Oscars V

Wild South held its fifth annual Green Gala celebrating the 2012 Roosevelt-Ashe Society’s Conservation Award winners last Friday, March 22. Wild South is a regional nonprofit with offices in Asheville and Moulton, Ala., that works to protect, conserve and enhance…
The painstaking process of outlining a clear mission for the U.S. Forest Service and how it will manage its expansive public lands in Western North Carolina and the varied — and sometimes competing — interests of the people that use…
The Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon and 5K will race through the Western Carolina University campus and greater Cullowhee on Saturday, April 6.
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 19:58

Coming soon to a flyway near you

This recent bumpy weather across the Eastern U.S. has resulted in some flight delays and changed itineraries for a bunch of seasoned fliers.
Paddlers are salivating over the first-ever whitewater releases offered on the west fork of the Tuckasegee from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 13 and 14.
More than a third of the tourists who come knocking at the Jackson County visitor center these days have trout fishing on their mind. A push in recent years to market the county as trout paradise is clearly paying off,…
In the buildup to a large environmental demonstration in Raleigh, a climate change rally will be held at 11 a.m. April 15 in Sylva at the old courthouse fountain downtown. A Climate Convergence event in Raleigh will be on Earth…
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:39

Arboretum to host Mountain Science Expo

When science meets the mountains you get: The Mountain Science Expo. The expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville and feature guided nature walks, live animal programs,…
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:36

News from the A.T.

Gotta love that A.T. A program on the importance of the Appalachian Trail and ways to promote and conserve it will be held at noon on Thursday, April 11, at Tartan Hall in Franklin. Local trail activists from the Nantahala…
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:33

Springtime cleanup opportunities

In an effort to clean up Scotts Creek in Jackson County, a coordinated workday will be launched by volunteers from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 20.
The Carolina Mountain Club has been awarded $2,200 through the North Carolina Appalachian Trail License Plate Grant Program to help buy safety equipment, rebar and tools for the club’s trail maintenance work along the Appalachian Trail. 
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:29

Big-time lumberjacks saw off in Haywood

Professional and collegiate lumberjacks from around the East will soon converge on Haywood County to compete in a top-notch woodsman competition.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:27

Love was in the air

Love may be a little anthropogenic for toads, but the eons old “urge to merge” was quite prevalent last Sunday (4/7) when we were at Oconee State Park. Oconee State Park in Mountain Rest, S.C., is along U.S. Hwy 11…
Do you consider yourself an environmentalist or an environmental activist? Do you feel frustrated with the way issues dear to you are being handled by local and state decision makers? Instead of sitting on the sidelines and attempting to influence…
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to impart wildlife viewing etiquette in high-traffic tourist areas at the N.C. entrance to the park outside Cherokee, as well as interact with the public and provide general park information.
The Highlands Nature Center is offering a lineup of summer Nature Day Camps for children. Five different camps on ecology and outdoor exploration will be offered for varying age groups. Most of the camp programs are offered more than once…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:45

Stomach bug takes to the A.T.

A pesky stomach virus has turned up among hikers along the Appalachian Trail near Hot Springs, especially on a stretch of trail running north out of town toward the Tennessee border. A number of hikers fell sick to the 24-hour…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:44

Hikes explores pocket of old-growth forest

A guided hike involving some off-trail bushwhacking to a little-known stand of old growth forest in Graham County will be held on April 20 by the WNC Alliance. The remnant of old-growth forest that rivals Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:44

Share your favorite swimming holes

Don’t be greedy and keep your favorite swimming hole for yourself. A regional environmental organization is developing a new guide for swim holes to direct locals, hikers and tourist to the closest and cleanest swim holes in the region.
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:42

Arbor Day plantings planned for Island Park

An Arbor Day flower planting will be from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 20, at Island Park in downtown Bryson City. Harold Adams of Naturally Green Landscaping will aid volunteers in planting almost 500 native species of wildflowers…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:41

Tour de Cashiers bike ride off and pedaling

Riders are gearing up for this year’s Tour de Cashiers coming on Saturday, May 4. The route will feature stunning spring scenery and challenging ascents. The rides will consist of three distances: 100-mile, 50-mile, 25-mile routes. Although varying in difficulty,…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:40

Poacher gets jail time for killing bear cub

A Robbinsville man was sentenced to five months in prison last week for killing an black bear cub in Nantahala National Forest in October 2011. Tyler Colvin, 20, of Robbinsville used a .50 caliber muzzleloader to kill a black bear…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:37

Earth Day rant

Earth Day 2013 is Monday, April 22. The first official “Earth Day” occurred in 1970 and environmentalists celebrated. Environmental lawyer Chuck Dayton, who splits his time between Waynesville and the “Land of a Thousand Lakes,” pretty much summed up where…
Dana Dowdy raised a razor-sharp axe above her head, let it hover a moment and then slammed into her competition with the first of many swift, deft blows.  The throngs of cheering people on the sidelines became background noise. The…
A national convergence of Appalachian Trail fans and hiking enthusiasts will descend on Western Carolina University this summer for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Biennial conference. This year, the large gathering will be held July 19 through July 26 in Cullowhee.…
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 02:00

Bugle Corp recognized for their volunteerism

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Friends of the Smokies is recognizing the work of the Elk Bugle Corps. The team of volunteers rove Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and help educate the hordes of visitors…
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:56

Protected watershed offers rare public hike

A guided hike to the usually off-limits Waynesville watershed will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27. During the three- to five-mile hike, naturalist Don Hendershot will talk about the surrounding flora and fauna, and Peter…
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:55

Protestors call for action on global warming

A group of about 30 demonstrators gathered last Monday at the public fountain on Main Street in downtown Sylva to demand state politicians take action to address climate change. The rally was one of a series of public gatherings around…
A section of the Noland Creek Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be closed to hikers and horseback riders through May 2, as crews repair flood damage from the past winter.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:52

Races, paddling, music and more at NOC

Visitors to the Nantahala Gorge this weekend can take in a full lineup of freestyle paddling competitions, outdoor activities, film screenings, live music and family activities.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:51

Be a responsible ramp picker this spring

Spring means ramp season in Western North Carolina, but the ramp population in Southern Appalachians is being hurt by over-harvesting.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:50

Have what it takes to be a junior ranger?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will celebrate the National Junior Ranger Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:49

Homecoming

The blue-headed vireo sang to me of spring sometime around the first week of April. Blue-headeds are generally the last “non-resident” songbird we hear in the fall (sometimes into November) and the first we hear in the spring — probably…
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:45

Honeybee disappearance baffles experts

Beekeepers in Western North Carolina were hit especially hard this winter by a mysterious rash of bee disappearances.  Amateur Haywood County beekeeper Andy Bailey said he lost three of his four colonies during the winter. His final hive lasted until…
Macon Pride, a county-based environmental organization, has recognized Caterpillar Precision Seals in Franklin for what it deems an exemplary recycling program. On a regular basis, Macon Pride highlights a local recycling program. The extensiveness and organization of the one at…
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 02:05

Calling recruits to the bugle corps

Can you make it in the corps? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park needs volunteers to join the Elk Bugle Corps and assist rangers with managing traffic and providing information to visitors in Cataloochee Valley.  Cataloochee is a remote mountain…
For the third consecutive year, Western Carolina University has been listed by The Princeton Review as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in North America.
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 02:03

Land trust earns top honors

The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust has received national accreditation for its work in protecting treasured lands.
Folks interested in hiking a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail and learning a bit more about the storied path have a chance to chat with a MST guru in the Smokies Saturday, May 4.
As spring and backpacking season returns to the mountains, so does bear danger in the woods. A recent bear encounter, in which a bear got a hold of food that was hung from a tree, has prompted the U.S. Forest…
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:59

When it rains – the tough go hiking

We’ve had a good run in the watershed. The Town of Waynesville has sponsored spring and fall guided hikes in its 8,000-plus acre watershed since 2007. The hikes provide a great way for residents and other interested parties to see…
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:56

Get your green on

EcoFest will showcase more than four dozen demonstrators, vendors, information booths and organizations sharing tips and practical advice on how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Below is just a small sample. 
Haywood County is about to experience its newest festival: EcoFest, an ode to sustainability, agriculture and the environment. This year will be the first that EcoFest is taking place and will feature musical performances, kids’ games, demonstrations and vendors showcasing…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Park reopens trails damaged by tornado

Two trails that have been closed since 2011 after receiving extensive damage from a tornado in the western end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have finally been reopened. Park trail crews recently completed rehabilitation work on Beard Cane…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Market vendors get shelter form the storm

The Haywood County Health Department pitched in and gave away tents, tables, coolers and other equipment to vendors at area farmer’s markets last week, including Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market. The equipment was purchased through a Community Transformation Grant Project, which…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

French Broad trail map comes online

For paddlers looking to master the French Broad River, a new map is available online detailing the river’s paddle trail. The French Broad River Paddle Trail map includes river access points, campsites and river hazards in addition to nearby rafting…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Get ready for 12 hours of Tsali

A grueling, 12-hour mountain bike race will be held from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Tsali Recreation Area outside Bryson City. Riders can take the course solo or sign up with a team of four…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Azaleas in full bloom in Stecoah

The azalea garden at Stecoah Valley Center is in full bloom, but will only be for the next few weeks. Visitors are encouraged to go to the garden and spend an afternoon among the floral aroma and variety of amazing…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking volunteers to help at its Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education to accommodate a boost in visitation. 
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Haywood soccer season kicks off

Haywood County is now signing up players for its adult summer soccer leagues. 
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is planning to release two new predatory beetles to stop the spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that has devastated hemlock forests throughout the eastern United States. 
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Water cents

What falls freely from the sky, rumbles, swooshes, rolls, trickles across the planet; seeps into the earth beneath our feet yet is more valuable than “Texas T,” that foul smelling icky crude that companies spend billions to produce, only to…
Hidden among the expanse of forestland in Western North Carolina are little-known pockets of trees that are several centuries old. Either overlooked by loggers or too difficult to access, the old growth stands act as windows into the past and…
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:24

Youth soccer camps

The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department is offering British and Brazilian soccer camps for youth this summer. The Brazilian soccer camp, called TetraBrazil, is for advanced players ages 10 to 18 and will run from July 8 to July 12…
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:24

Book turns hikes into scavenger hunts

A book that aims to make hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park fun and educational for kids, Scavenger Hike Adventures by Kat and John Lafevre, is on Smokies visitor center bookshelves now. The book features 13 hikes, seven…
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:23

Win a gem at the Ruby Run

The Ruby Run 5K and 10K will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 1, in Franklin. The annual race that pays homage of the town’s title of gem capital of the world. The winner will take home a 5.5…
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:20

Star gazing event at Purchase Knob

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting a star gazing event at 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center on Purchase Knob in Haywood County.
A guided trip down the Little Tennessee River aims to teach paddlers about the area’s cultural and biological history and follow the route of William Bartram, a naturalist who traveled the river in 1775.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:17

A record-breaking weekend (part one)

What could be more fun than a weekend of fellowship and great birding? Maybe setting a new record for total number of species recorded during the annual Great Smoky Mountains Birding Expedition? 
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:15

Segway tours make debut in Waynesville

The train was the first to arrive in Waynesville back in 1886; then, the rise of the automobile; but, this spring, there’s a new human transporter in town: the Segway. The owners of a bed and breakfast began offering guided…
Volunteers are needed in Panthertown Valley during Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, May 25, to help complete a new section of the Wilderness Falls Trail.  The work will entail re-routing the popular trail to make for safer and easier access…
The Elkmont synchronous firefly viewing will take place June 6-13 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Every year, thousands of visitors gather near the Elkmont Campground to observe a firefly species that flashes synchronously. The occasion became so popular…
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

Environmental forums start up

A forum on community and environmental change will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at the Rickman Store in Macon County. Brian Burke, an environmental anthropologist with the University of Georgia’s Coweeta Listening Project, will…
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

Plant a row for the needy

United Christian Ministries of Jackson County is asking gardeners to plant an extra row in their plots this year to help feed the hungry.  Rather than relying on donations of canned food, the organizations has been reaching out to local…
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

Calling on volunteers for bird monitoring

Volunteers are needed to assist in a breeding bird monitoring and education program throughout the spring and early summer at two sites along the Little Tennessee River. From May to August, Southern Appalachian Raptor Research is conducting eight monitoring samples…
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

Max Patch restored, off-roaders pay

The off-roaders responsible for causing damage to the popular Pisgah National Forest hiking spot Max Patch have reached a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

More recycling bins for WCU

Western Carolina University received 75 new recycling bins through the Alcoa Foundation Recycling Bin Grant Program and have begun placing them around campus.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

Hit Mast General to help conservation

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy will get a boost on Saturday, June 1, when Mast General Store locations in Waynesville and Asheville donate a percentage of the day’s sales to the organization. 
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

A record-breaking weekend of birding

Last week, we set the stage for the 29th annual Great Smoky Mountains Birding Expedition (GSMBE). The group starts at 9 a.m. at George and Elizabeth Ellison’s office/studio in downtown Bryson City. I know, birders out there are rolling their eyes…