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Wednesday, 12 June 2013 12:38

From slaughterhouse to garden sanctuary

The Macon County Master Gardener Association is hosting an open house from 1 until 4 p.m. June 15 at the county’s Environmental Resource Center.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 12:37

Like a good neighbor

The folks in the mountains of Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee share more than a common boundary, they share a deep appreciation for the wild, sometimes rugged, but always beautiful landscape they call home. 
The Great Smoky Mountains Association has turned 60 years old, and although it has changed during the years, its mission has remained the same.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 12:29

Bridging the gap between young, old

With each passing day, the first-person accounts of what life was like in the Smokies before Google, iTunes or even black-and-white television slip away. So, Beth Bramhall, a seasonal education ranger with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, decided to recruit…
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

Tis the elk rutting season

The shorter days and cooling temperatures of September and October were an important time of the year for the elk of Cataloochee: the fall rut. The rut is the several-week breeding period when the cows cycle into estrus and the…
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

A sparrowing we will go

For a bunch of “little ole ladies in tennis shoes,” birders are a hardy lot. Gone is the green of spring and summer, and with it go the scarlet of tanagers, the indigo of buntings, the blue of grosbeaks and…
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

Snow time like the present

By Michael Beadle Cataloochee Ski Area, North Carolina’s oldest ski slope, can now boast the longest running ski season in the state as well — open earliest and closed latest.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

Bear carcass baffles law enforcement

A bear carcass marked in white paint with a message seemingly taunting law enforcement officials was dumped onto a road in Buncombe County. The bear was discovered last week with “WHATS BRUIN?” written across the head and “w-h-a-t-s” across the…
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

Group getting the word out on recycling

The Macon County Public Library was recently recognized as a community leader in recycling.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

Fish for free(dom) on Independence Day

Fishing for a fun and inexpensive way to celebrate Independence Day? The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission invites anglers and would-be anglers of all ages to go fishing — for free. 
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

Cyclists commemorate Trail of Tears

There were hundreds of hills, a few minor spills, but mostly thrills for the 2013 Remember the Removal bike riders who completed their 950-mile bicycle ride in Tahlequah, Okla. last week to honor their Cherokee ancestors.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

That’s Suuthern flyin’ squerl, y’all

I’ve written about these small nocturnal hang gliders before, but I posted a pic of a group from my home, on Facebook, the other day, and it produced more than 70 likes in one day (and I know it wasn’t…
You’ve got your chain well-oiled, air in your tires and water in your bottles. You are all set for a bicycle ride in Haywood County but haven’t the slightest idea where to go. To help lost tourists with bicycles mounted…
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $950,000 to 28 states for projects to combat and study white-nose syndrome, the deadly disease that is decimating bats. North Carolina is set to receive $45,000 through the program; Tennessee…
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 02:53

List of Top 10 animal species on the demise

The N.C. Wildlife Federation has released its list of the Top 10 wildlife species struggling to survive. These critters are victim to habitat loss, disease, over-harvest and other challenges that make the outlook for their kind bleak.  Determining the Top…
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 02:50

Project invites public for day at stream

Aquatic enthusiasts have the chance to tag along with the scientists for a lesson on stream sampling. The Highlands Biological Station staff will be exploring streams, conducting aquatic sampling and learning about the state of the area’s streams from 10…
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 02:48

Kick ball kickin’ off

Test your kick-ball skills this summer in the big leagues. Registration is underway for the 2013 Haywood County Recreation and Parks Adult Co-Ed Kickball League. Games will take place at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from July…
Jon boats and canoes are a common sight on the water at Lake Junaluska. But a water ski team stacked three people high?   Yes, and it will be quite the show — two, in fact — when the Carolina…
The summer Zahner Conservation Lecture Series will kick off in Highlands next week with a talk on biodiversity in the Southern Appalachians.
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 02:41

Nowhere to go but down on this guided hike

A nearly all-downhill hike will be held in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Tuesday, July 16, with Friends of the Smokies hike leader and guide book author Danny Bernstein.
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 02:40

Forest service curtails ginseng picking

U.S. Forest Service officials are limiting the harvesting of wild ginseng in the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests, citing concern over reductions in wild ginseng numbers. The changes will take effect starting this year.
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 02:39

Disc golf takes off in Waynesville

The Waynesville Disc Golf Juniors team has received a boost from the Professional Disc Golf Association, helping the team buy new discs and pay their entry fee for an upcoming championship tournament.
And ye elf and sprite lovers and lovers of the Bard whose words have seeped so deeply into the fabric of our language that even those who’ve never seen them toss them out with a knowing nod – get thee…
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 02:35

One-night trips into the Smokies

For day hikers who want to take the next step or for a seasoned backpackers who can’t find the time or resources to make that long trip this year, outdoor author Jim Parham is offering up the solution that is…
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:08

Kayaker found dead near Shining Rock

The body of a kayaker who was reported missing in the Pisgah National Forest late afternoon July 4 was found the following night. Richard Scott Bradfield, 36, of Lexington, Ky., was found near a riverbank in the Shining Rock Wilderness…
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:07

‘Headhunters and Toothbrushes’

Jono Bryant will present a talk called “Headhunters and Toothbrushes” at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Macon County Public Library. Bryant is the director and founder of MedicForce, a medical charity that specializes in expeditions to remote jungle…
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:06

Property along parkway in Jackson protected

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina recently purchased a 31-acre property that adjoins the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 446. The tract contains a portion of Bear Creek in the headwaters of the North Fork Scott Creek…
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:05

Learn to use your wide-angle lens

The Lens Luggers photography club of Western North Carolina is holding a special photography clinic featuring wide angle perspective and control. 
Roll out the green welcome mat for the annual Cullowhee Native Plant Conference coming Wednesday, July 17, through Saturday, July 20, at Western Carolina University.
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:03

Learn about GNSA

The regional environmental group Wild South has a hike planned for July 13 into the heart of, what they hope will soon be, one of the wildest national scenic areas in the country.
Coming to Cullowhee soon: four days of total immersion in everything trail. Camaraderie with fellow trail enthusiasts and taking in the region’s trails is the top draw that will land hundreds of hikers at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Biennial conference…
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 15:14

Tennis stars to face off in Cashiers

Retired tennis stars Andy Roddick and Jim Courier will play a charity exhibition match, the UCB Mountain Challenge, on Saturday, July 27, at Cedar Creek Racquet Club in Cashiers. Roddick is a new homeowner in Cashiers. Proceeds will benefit the…
A $3 million federal grant will help protect 8,000 acres of working forestland in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina from development. The tract contains the East Fork of the French Broad Headwaters and connects to more than 100,000…
A project to help federally-listed aquatic species in Macon County has received $142,500 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The money will be used to acquire 39 acres, of which about 2,600 feet is frontage on the Little Tennessee…
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 15:12

Bridge dedicated to honor whitewater hero

Mystic Lands Property Owners Association has dedicated a bridge to honor Rob Kelly, a whitewater rafting guide who saved a woman who became trapped under a tree while paddling the Nantahala River last September.
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 15:11

Bear cables get a boost

Backpackers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can continue to keep their food and packs out of reach of bears, thanks to specialty license plate funds. 
Tyler Pace is expected to report to the U.S. Marshals Service office in Asheville next week to start serving his 90-day sentence for vandalizing parts of Max Patch, a scenic area in the Pisgah National Forest near the Tennessee-North Carolina…
Ethnobotanist David Cozzo will lead an eco tour on July 30 to the Tessentee Bottomland Preserve to discuss how the Cherokee select river cane, an important artisan resource, and restoration efforts for this once abundant bamboo-like plant.
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 15:06

Carolina birder video bombed

Carolina birder Matt Daw from Raleigh was videoing a least bittern last week as it foraged at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. In an interview, Daw said he was looking through the viewfinder at the bittern…
Chef Jen Pearson of Guadalupe Cafe will be showcasing eggplant in an original recipe during a local foods cooking demo at the Jackson County Farmers Market at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20, near Bridge Park in downtown Sylva.  Cooking demos…
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 15:04

From farm to table

Get to know your local farmers and learn some tricks from green thumb masters during the annual Jackson County Farm Tour and Garden Walk from 1 to 5 p.m. this weekend, July 20 and 21. The tour takes participants from…
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 00:00

No compromise

When I was a full-time staff writer at the Smoky Mountain News, I spent a lot of time covering the North Shore Road controversy.
By Michael Beadle North Carolina’s population is expected to rise by nearly 3 million people in the next two decades. As we use up more and more natural resources like oil and coal, how will we handle the energy needs…
Environmental activists across the country are heralding the Democratic sweep of Congress as a mandate for better stewardship of natural resources and the environment.
“Dance with the one that brung ‘ya” is an old Texas mantra, and Texas oilman George W. Bush has filled the Beltway with dancing partners over the last six years. The Texas two-step continues.
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

Ray or the worm – the worm or Ray?

Once again,science and scientists go head to head with the forces of nature to see who can best predict the coming winter in the North Carolina mountains.
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

Not so backcountry

When Al Smith arrived at the backcountry campsite in the Lake Fontana area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a fall camping trip last month, he didn’t find the remote backcountry experience he’d been looking forward to.
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

Foundation connects youth with national Park

The non-profit Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation recently awarded a $98,000 grant for rangers to conduct educational outreach programs for students in communities along the Parkway.
If you’re not careful, you could miss it.
Cowee Mound, a 71-acre site in Macon County and once a major Cherokee village, will be preserved thanks to a joint conservation effort between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee.
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 00:00

Spotlight on Endangered Species in WNC

Green Salamander — Although listed by the state as endangered and recognized as a species of concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the green salamander appears to be stabilizing its populations though the geographic range of its habitats…
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 00:00

Simple living

By Kathleen Lamont Have you heard? The recent marriage of sustainable food production and big business is on the rocks.
When my wife came home the other evening, she asked if I had heard about the toad-sucking dog on NPR.
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 00:00

Winter means waterfowl at Lake Junaluska

Anyone who follows the Naturalist’s Corner knows that I have devoted much ink to the birds one might encounter at Lake Junaluska and its environs since I began the column back in 1996.
By Michael Beadle There are still dark corners in this world yet to be explored.
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 00:00

Connecting with nature

Editors note: Bill and Sharon Van Horn with the Nantahala Hiking Club in Franklin recently attended a conference in West Virginia that focused on connecting children with nature. Bill Van Horn provides this dispatch on what he learned from the…
By Michael Beadle The marathon can be such a fickle race. As much as you prepare for it, a lot can go wrong in those 26.2 miles. Missing a water station. Getting a blister. Maybe there’s a sudden downpour of…
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 00:00

Tisn’t the season, but...

A couple of Sundays ago Bob Olthoff, Blair Ogburn (senior naturalist at Balsam Mountain Preserve) and I were at Balsam Mountain searching through a mixed flock of migrants, looking for any newcomers when we heard someone kickstart a motorcycle in…
Resource managers and plant specialists with the Blue Ridge Parkway are calling on neighboring landowners to help rein in the destructive growth of exotic plants. They’re inviting the public to comment on a proposed Exotic Plant Management Plan that is…
Wednesday, 11 October 2006 00:00

Ivory-billed hiatus

Ornithologists Geoff Hill of Auburn University and Dan Mennill from University of Windsor presented a program at this year’s American Ornithological Union’s meeting in Veracruz, Mexico on Oct. 4, regarding their claims of the presence of the ivory-billed woodpecker in…
Wednesday, 11 October 2006 00:00

Lawsuit thrown out, paddlers pledge appeal

Hikers, fishermen and environmentalists won a small victory last week in an on-going tug-of-war with paddlers over the upper Chattooga River — a Wild and Scenic River that tumbles off the Cashiers plateau.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:26

Trout derby weekend in Cherokee

Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby is set for Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Oconaluftee River Islands Park in Cherokee. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is hosting the event, which is open to children ages 3 to 11 years old.…
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:25

Triathlon at Tsali

The Tsali Challenge Triathlon will take place Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, at the Tsali Recreation Area outside of Bryson City. The annual triathlon will feature a paddle, run and bike on some of the most famous trails…
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:21

AT video contest solicits submissions

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is accepting submissions for the “I am the Appalachian Trail” video contest, a nationwide search for the best video about the trail.  Contestants will submit video shorts, no longer than three minutes, emphasizing how they are…
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:20

Get your Breakaway jersey and pedal

The Haywood Chamber of Commerce has released the 2013 Blue Ridge Breakaway jersey design. The Aug. 17 ride will feature a custom jersey that combines the adrenaline-pumping nature of the breakaway with the needs of the everyday cyclist. The Hincapie Axis…
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:20

Trail conservancy chooses new leader

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has a new executive director and CEO.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is offering a citizen scientist program for a chance to be part of ongoing research program.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:17

Section of parkway closed to vehicles

A 21-mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is closed — from Ox Creek Road to Mount Mitchell State Park.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:15

REI gives a boost to trail crews

Recreational Equipment Inc. has donated $5,000 to support trail work in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The red wolf is one of the most endangered animals in the world and a native of North Carolina. Wildlife expert Ron Sutherland will lecture about “Restoring the Endangered Red Wolf to the Wilds of the Southern Appalachians” at 7…
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:06

Where martins hang

Purple martin “scouts” are some of the earliest harbingers of spring. I recorded one in February at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana during last year’s Great Backyard Bird Count, and it’s not uncommon for them to show…
The steady decline of the Golden-winged Warbler on the Southern Appalachian landscape is a trend that not only threatens the future of the bird in Western North Carolina but also puts in peril the species as whole. During the past…
Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:00

Simple living

By Kathleen Lamont Buying local produce enables you to: • Eat fresher, better tasting, and healthier foods.
Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:00

Falling for autumn

The furnace has been on a couple of nights already to take the chill off. Driving home from Asheville the other evening in the wind-blown rain, I got a good look at the first real cold front of the year.…
Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:00

Fall in the garden

The onset of fall marks the end of the active gardening season for most. It also marks the beginning of some gardeners’ favorite time of year — several months of unadulterated day-dreaming about next year’s garden.
Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:00

Seeing is bee-living

School students who visited the Haywood County Fair last week learned all about bees at a traveling bee hive exhibit from the local North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service.
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

What threatens the salamander

Illegal poaching of hellbenders, a gigantic prehistoric-looking salamander, has become so problematic scientists like Dr. Michael Freake are omitting data on their whereabouts from research papers.
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

Ivory-billed redux?

Here we go again Grail bird’s back in town again
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

Local racers score high in Tsali Triathlon

More than 300 competitors converged on Tsali Recreation Area earlier this month for the 14th annual Tsali Challenge Triathlon, a 3-mile lake paddle, 4.5-mile trail run and a 12-mile mountain bike trail ride.
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

The hunt for hellbenders

As a passel of high school interns tugged and squirmed their way into wetsuits along the edge of the Oconaluftee River last month, Park Ranger Susan Sachs — a seasoned salamander hunter — shared a few tricks of the trade.
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

The life of a hellbender

Most salamanders are born in the water as tadpoles. Later they grow legs and emerge onto land, albeit with a deference for soggy places. Hellbenders on the other hand live completely underwater. In fact, they’re a good candidate for Darwin’s…
The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department will offer an old school, “wooden bat” softball league this summer. The organizational meeting will be held at 7:30 pm. Monday, Aug. 12, at the Waynesville Recreation Center. The meeting is mandatory for all…
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 14:27

Sylva man given state conservation award

A retired Western Carolina University professor and Jackson County environmentalist has been given top honors for his work in education and advocacy. The N.C. Wildlife Federation has honored Dan Pittillo with the Environmental Educator of the Year award. Pittillo spent…
This summer was no waste for teachers and students who enrolled in a Great Smoky Mountains Park program that put them on the front lines of park management.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials have honored a Duke Energy scientist for his work in helping to restore aquatic species near the Dillsboro Dam.
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 14:23

Folkmoot center gardens get TLC

Main Street Waynesville wasn’t the only place to get a spit and polish before visitors and performers from around the world arrived for Folkmoot USA.  The Richland Creek Garden Club, Waynesville’s first garden club, spruced up the Folkmoot Friendship Center…
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 14:22

Take a journey into space and back in time

The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute will host a program about the role of the astronomical site in the Pisgah National Forest during the historic Apollo space missions.
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 14:20

Taking the smart out of growth

North Carolina House Bill 94 (Amend Environmental Laws) has passed the House and Senate and awaits the governor’s signature. HB 94 is a large (43 pages), unwieldy piece of legislation, much of it aimed at dismantling tried, true and effective…
No, it’s not Aquaman’s preferred mode of commuting; nor the latest urban workout trend or new-fangled underwater gym equipment. The aquabike is yet another off-shoot of the classic triathlon now popping up on race calendars —  including its first debut…
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 14:00

Support the Highlands Botanical Garden

Residents of Highlands established the Highlands Botanical Garden in 1962, to display the diverse array of Southern Appalachian plants. But the survival of the garden depends largely on a once-a-year fundraising event.
Haywood County is kicking off its first-ever adult kickball league. The co-ed league games will be played at 2 and 3 p.m. Saturdays, from Sep. 21 until Oct. 19, at the International Paper Sports Complex in Canton. The county’s recreation…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 13:21

Forest-goers get new recreation map

An updated recreation map of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests is now available online. The U.S. Forest Service map identifies recreation sites in the two national forests suitable for activities such as target practice, camping, hiking, horseback riding and…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 13:18

Forest Service warns of deadly high waters

The U.S. Forest Service is urging visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests to avoid swimming in the creeks, rivers and streams until water levels recede. Visitors should also avoid climbing near waterfalls. Water levels are more than a…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 13:17

Catamounts gather for Volunteer Day

Western Carolina University students, as part of a July 20 volunteer day, hauled loads of trash from the banks of Scotts Creek near the railroad tracks in Sylva.
Fall soccer season is approaching and Swain Youth Soccer Association is offering soccer for all skill types.
The potential effects of climate change on the animals — salamanders in particular — of the Appalachian Mountains will be the topic of discussion at a lecture in Highlands
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is asking the public to help document observations of nine-banded armadillos, as the bony-plated mammals expand their range in this state.
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 13:11

No this ain’t Dallas

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Dallas. And I’m sure that if you like big, hot, crowded cities, the big “D” has lots to offer. But when I met my guest — from Dallas — on the…
Sitting at a picnic table alongside the Nantahala River, Charles Conner watches the fast moving water. It’s may be a peaceful sunny morning at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, but it’s the calm before the storm. “Right now, we’re really excited…