Anyone who’s driven through Jackson County in the last several months is likely well aware that there’s an election underway for two county commissioner seats.
When the days get short and the nights get cold, a collection of Jackson County organizations comes together with the shared goal of getting the county’s less fortunate safely through the winter. Called Jackson Neighbors in Need, the group works to get homes winterized, heat bills paid and — as a last resort — nighttime shelter provided for those who would otherwise be left out in the cold.
After months of talking, planning and producing, Jackson County is set to unleash a new ad campaign and website showcasing the county’s best to a deep bench of potential visitors, and tourism director Nick Breedlove is enthusiastic about the results.
After surviving the first application process under the new wireless communication rules, Jackson County commissioners directed the planning board to look for ways to improve the ordinance.
Allen Alsbrooks serves on the Maggie Valley Zoning Board, and used to serve on the town’s planning board; he’s also been the owner of the Hearth and Home Inn on Soco Road in Maggie Valley since 2007, so it’s safe to say he’s got his finger pretty close to the pulse of Haywood County’s tourism-based economy.
“It’s the best year I’ve ever had,” Alsbrooks said.
If all goes according to plan, by this time next year Jackson County will have been declared the trout capital of North Carolina, and county commissioners are already starting to talk about how to plan for the resulting increase they anticipate in angling tourism.
For the past decade, Sylva’s Pinnacle Park has had Sae Smyrl envisioning a lofty future for the hiking area. A mountain biker for the past 40 years, Smyrl would walk the trail and think how great it would be to ride his bike through the 1,100-acre forest. Bikes are allowed on the existing trail, but it’s way too steep for the sport to be fun.
A plan is now afoot to make Smyrl’s dream a reality, with the Nantahala Area Southern Off Road Bicycling Association pursuing a goal to bring some 30 miles of biking trail, featuring loops of various difficulty levels, to the Fisher Creek watershed.
The greenway in Jackson County has now been fully open for a month, and use is skyrocketing on the one-mile path along the Tuckasegee River in Cullowhee. From May to July, monthly use more than doubled to 5,485 visitors — that figure is more than five times the 1,034 people who used the greenway in November 2015, the first month data was taken.
Jackson County’s new county manager is now on the job, and commissioners are looking forward to start working with him on goals and tasks for the years ahead.
A newly purchased cargo van has animal advocates in Jackson County applauding — and rolling up their sleeves to load dogs and cats for travel toward pastures green with adoptive families and no-kill shelters.