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out frSipping hot tea while swaddled beside a propane heater, warmth beaming as wind whips snowflakes around the mountaintop outside. A stack of books beside the bed, well-worn titles alongside new adventures, a self-replenishing treasure trove of stories illuminated by kerosene-fueled light. Outside, darkness obscuring what dawn will reveal to be an ocean-like view of mountains upon mountains, frosted with snow and seeming to bow before the 6,594-foot peak of Mount LeConte, the third highest summit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It’s a romantic image, an idyll about which a society steeped in virtual reality is still wont to fanaticize. But for the past four winters, those cozy evenings and frostbitten mornings have been J.P. Krol’s life.

out badbuttercupsA new invasive plant species is springing up in moist, nutrient-rich soils across eastern North America and has been spotted in six North Carolina counties, including Swain.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:48

Smokies visitation sets records

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out catvalleyJanuary was a record-setting month for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with 351,670 visitors, achieving a lifetime visitation of 500 million — more than any other national park service unit aside from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:46

WNC farmers expand business through grants

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out cheekinsFarmers in Western North Carolina will branch out with new crops and alternative growing methods, thanks to 31 grants totaling $168,000 given out by WNC AgOptions.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:44

Fees increase at Glenville campground

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out campingFor the first time in more than 18 years, fees at the Ralph J. Andrews Campground on Lake Glenville, which is owned and operated by Jackson County, will go up, but Jackson County residents won’t feel the bite.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:43

Waynesville continues Tree City USA tradition

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out treecityWaynesville was named a 2014 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, keeping running a streak that began in 2008. The designation recognizes a town’s commitment to keeping healthy trees a prominent part of the urban environment. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:04

Volunteers sought to adopt tree plot

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out phenologySmokies rangers are looking for tree-lovers who want to try their hand at science to adopt a tree monitoring plot on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 16:06

Mark your calendar for Spring

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out wildflowersThe weather is wintry, but spring is just around the corner. Mark your calendar for some of these upcoming springtime events.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 16:01

Database to showcase purveyors wood and forestry products

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out woodA “buy local” directory for wood-related products from Western North Carolina is looking for more businesses, artisans and organizations to add to its listings before launching a searchable database version of the directory later this year.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 15:32

Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon

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out gatewaysmokiesRunners will take to the streets of downtown Waynesville as the inaugural Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon starts from Main Street at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 2. 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 15:30

Learn to tread lightly at Wilderness Skills Institute

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out wildernessskillsRegistration is now open for the fifth Wilderness Skills Institute, a training program for Wilderness stewardship and management, held at the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest.