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Doris Mager returned from her most recent doctor appointment with some grim marching orders. Her instructions didn’t have anything to…
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 14:06

We need to darken the way

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perseids fallingperseids burning white hotperseids flame out I made sure to keep an eye out for falling stars last week…
Summer’s not quite over, but emergency responders in Haywood County are already practicing their skills in preparation for rescue season,…
It’s been more than 10 years since Alen Baker decided, while recuperating from surgery, to pass the time by writing…
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 14:47

Company for coffee

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Due to the generosity of great friends Bill and Elaine Cave of Asheville, my family has enjoyed a summer respite…
North Carolina has a bear problem, and wildlife officials hope hunters can help. The population of black bears has been…
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 16:43

Summer skies

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My family and I made a quick run up to Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway around dusk last…
“Hey buddy, you about ready to come out?” Michael Skinner asks the juvenile broadwing hawk standing in the back of…
For veterinarian Brian Birthright, what would become a lifelong passion for biking began in the most fitting of ways —…
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 15:35

A voice from the past leads to new adventure

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Well, it wasn’t really a voice — it was an email. I received an email from Bruce Lampright back in…
It’s day four of the Family Nature Summit, and the troops are working hard on a wooded piece of land…
Ben Kniceley’s pretty sure his dad had a good laugh after the Haywood Community College graduate came away with a…
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 16:17

Color on high

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I occasionally see The Smoky Mountain News’ Garret K. Woodward’s Facebook posts about hitting the trails around WNC for a…
Asked what a typical day for the head guy at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park looks like, new Smokies…
There was no doubt about how the Smoky Mountains got their name as day dawned on the Friends of the…
Breathing easy in the Smokies is a better bet than it’s been in decades. Ozone pollution is down 36 percent,…
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 17:39

Albinism in plants

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The other day, while chasing birdies for the Forest Service, I encountered a pretty wildflower along an abandoned logging road.…
In a woodsy neighborhood up a winding mountain road from Franklin, late May is pretty quiet — at least from…
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 16:09

Beige – the new orange

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Neotropical migrants can be flashy things — think scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole, rose-breasted grosbeak or those tiny butterflies of the…
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 15:49

Giving new farmers a boost

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By Katie Reeder • SMN Intern Demand for locally grown food is soaring in Western North Carolina, but recruiting — and…
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 15:11

WCU researchers making their mark

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Scientific work by professors and students at Western Carolina University is earning recognition and winning research money. The Cullowhee campus,…
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 15:31

Avian adventures

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What better way to spring into the season than chasing migrants across Western North Carolina? I was with the Franklin…
When Michael Bradley first picked up a fly rod in 2011, he wasn’t looking for anything more than a relaxing…
The Haywood Historic Farmers Market hopes to open its selection to an even larger portion of the population by exercising…
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 02:55

Cumberland Island National Seashore

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Cumberland Island, which is composed of Great Cumberland Island (the national seashore) and Little Cumberland Island (private), is one of…
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 02:35

Pedal like a girl: Women give mountain biking a try

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Four years ago, Jennie Wyderko — then finishing up her undergrad at Virginia Tech — had barely even touched a…
From paved 5K routes to epic trail runs and triathlons, Western North Carolina is rife with outdoor races of all…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 16:02

The swamp a ghost saved

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Yay! Spring break! That special time to be sequestered with adolescents and/or pre-adolescents in about 50 square feet while hurtling…
Solar power is on the rise across the U.S., and a campaign recently launched in Western North Carolina is urging…
Sarah Davis loves bats. They’ve been the wintertime residents of Linville Caverns for as long as she can remember, a…
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:49

Put the forest first!

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I was commiserating with a friend who works for the Forest Service just after it was announced that they were…
A pair of hikers camped near the Lower Falls in Graveyard Fields got a rude awakening March 16 when a…
If the stack of boxes piling up on the counter of the outfitter store at Nantahala Outdoor Center is any…
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 16:27

Hail, hail the gang’s still here

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I’ve recently been seeing lots of posts like these on Carolina Birders’ FaceBook page: “… My pine siskins have departed,…
It’s been nearly 20 years since Burt Kornegay first started looking into land along Hickory Knoll Road in Macon County,…
The plans are set: Waynesville’s getting invaded this fall, and the army will be 1,000 strong.  Semi trucks will haul…
Sipping hot tea while swaddled beside a propane heater, warmth beaming as wind whips snowflakes around the mountaintop outside. A…
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 15:01

A Golden secret

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There is one winter visitor to our North Carolina Mountains that is probably happy the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed…
History will no doubt remember Paul Carlson as one of the great visionaries of our time in Western North Carolina.…
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 16:21

Countin’ in the cold

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I had originally intended to spend today (Monday, Feb. 16) doing a couple of short surveys for the annual Great…
Stepping into Kirk Wall’s custom-carpentered, immaculately decorated mountaintop home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d knocked on the wrong…
Pushing through 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 of biking and 26.2 of running, it was all Jennifer Jacobson could do…
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 16:09

The bizarro world of plan revision

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The Haywood County Board of Commissioners decided that today (Feb. 2) was the day they would boldly venture into the…
Though a mixture of rain and ice pelted the windshield as I headed toward the Balsam Gap access of the…
It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for water-lovers in Western North Carolina. After more than a decade of…
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 15:49

The uncommon common goldeneye

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The best way I know of to get a rare bird to fly the coop is to write about it.…
Scott McCleskey didn’t really know what he was saying yes to when he boarded the plane to Alaska, pack of…
Kadie Anderson was packing up camp after a night in the backcountry with her two Australian shepherds when the peace…
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 17:13

Double the fun

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I had the pleasure of participating in two Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) this past weekend. The first was the Balsam…