Southern forests recognized for fishing events

The U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region received the 2019 National Rise to the Future — Fish Your National Forest Award…
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Federal money coming to WNC public lands

Public lands in Western North Carolina are set to get a chunk of the $950 billion approved for deferred maintenance…
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Plans ready for 150-mile Hellbender Trail

Local governments and residents of Western North Carolina have been working for years to improve and construct greenways. Now, there…
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Magnolia trifecta

It’s May! That means my 2019 Forest Service bird survey has begun — another six weeks of roaming the wilds…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Bald eagles, gators and manatees, oh my

It was another great Spring Break along the Gulf Coast of Central Florida. We stayed in Homosassa Springs on the…
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The Naturalist's Corner: The PR of Pittman-Robertson

Ran across this little gem of a blurb on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Facebook page: “Sports men and…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Breath still bated

Maybe it’s March Madness, maybe it’s simply madness, but I’m looking at the Lake Junaluska eagles and thinking “they’re gonna…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Bated breath

I am sure I’m not the only one hoping the Lake Junaluska eagles are successful this nesting season. It seems,…
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The Naturalist's Corner: The St. Croix chronicles

St. Croix’s adolescent hormones were coursing through his lean muscular body when the urge to leave the Black Hills of…
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Land trust celebrates 100 properties conserved

Conservation of six new places last year brought Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust to a landmark total of 100 conservation projects completed,…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Lake Junaluska eagles – do over?

It appears the eagles that nested unsuccessfully last year at Lake Junaluska are back for another go at it. There…
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Funding conservation: Federal program’s expiration impacts local land trusts

On Sept. 30, 2018, a program that’s been pouring money into land conservation for more than 50 years expired. And…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Live and die by Lake J

Jan. 4, 2019 was a dreary day. It was more than that; it was a dreary Balsam Christmas Bird Count…
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Running toward her goals: Catamount student succeeds with Heart & Sole program

Born with cerebral palsy, Jaylyn Logan’s nana Marvellia Ross knew that her granddaughter’s life would have limitations. However, a new…
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A writer’s retreat: GSMA offers writing residency in the Smokies

Steve Kemp moved to the Great Smoky Mountains in 1987 for what would become a 30-year career with the Great…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Flocking together

Birding buddy and former subcontractor for my Forest Service point-count survey, Kirk Gardner, was in town for the holidays and…
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Outdoors 2018: The year in quotes

From the depths of winter to the height of summer, valley agriculture to mountain exploration, longtime mountain dwellers to new…
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Portal in the snow

I don’t know if our recent ancestors were better weather readers than we, or if they simply knew, by late…
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Hope for Scotts Creek: Report yields optimism for creek’s restoration

Sylva got some good news about the creek that runs straight through its heart at a Nov. 8 town meeting. …
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Sochan in springtime: Cherokee looks to reclaim plant gathering traditions in the Smokies

For centuries and even millennia, the early spring greens of the sochan plant have served as a celebration of spring…
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The Naturalist's Corner: At last

Those radical environmentalists and their aiding and abetting scientists are finally called out.  After the deadliest wildfire in history —…
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Planted in the mountains: WNC botanist reflects on a lifetime of discovery

Dan Pittillo has made his name as a botanist, but he could easily have ended up a dairy farmer instead. …
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The Naturalist's Corner: Eye on the lake

Lake Junaluska is an amazing resource. It is home to the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, the World Methodist…
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Going for the three-peat: Franklin outdoor store opens two new locations in 2018

When Rob Gasbarro and Cory McCall met in 2008, their friendship formed around hiking and biking the mountains surrounding Franklin,…
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Making tracks: Kids trails program earns recognition after decade of growth

In 2008, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation launched a new program aiming to get kids and families out exploring the…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Flashback

It wasn’t long after we crossed the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, headed west into Louisiana, that we began to see…
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Bringing kids to the single-track: Plan in the works for children’s mountain bike trail in Jackson

If a partnership between Jackson County and the Nantahala Area Southern Off Road Bicycle Association comes to fruition, kids in…
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Uniquely positioned: Grant aims to grow outdoor gear industry in WNC

An effort is underway to make North Carolina’s 24 western counties into the next outdoor gear industry hub, and the…
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Climate change – deadly serious

The last installment of “The Naturalist’s Corner” began kind of tongue-in-cheek, referring to climate change in Trumpian terms of a…
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Planting for pollinators: Waynesville couple seeks to educate on the benefits of native bees

Brannen Basham spends more time puttering around the yard than the average homeowner, but the result is not what most…
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Symbol of connection: A decade of collaboration yields 300-mile MST trail section

From towering mountains to shimmering seas, North Carolina has a little bit of everything — and for the trail that…
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Signs the Chinese are very good hoaxers

I’m sure many can remember what President Donald J. Trump, a legend in his own mind, has had to say…
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Oil Nut, that most curious fruit

For Elizabeth and me, the fall season is one of the most invigorating times to get out in the woods…
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Poor acorn crop leads to increased bear encounters

A nighttime breath of fresh air turned traumatic for 75-year-old Swannanoa resident Toni Rhegness when she spotted three bear cubs…
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Celebration crashers

My bride and I celebrated our anniversary by ditching the kids and renting a cabin near Blue Ridge, Ga., for…
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Mountains at a running pace

Andrew Shepherd has only been a runner for about two years. But when he took up the hobby, he was…
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Nine years yields new state forest: Headwaters State Forest will offer landowner education and primitive recreation

North Carolina got a new slice of public land last week when Headwaters State Forest was opened to the public…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Hearts are a-bursting

I started out the front door, in the early morning light the other day, to check on the whereabouts of…
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Like an old friend: Two decades of rock climbing getaways build friendship, identity for Sylva woman

Twenty years ago, Erin McManus and her friend Amy Miller were 22-year-olds fresh out of college, with no jobs, no…
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The Naturalist's Corner: The skies are beginning to fill

Around 70 percent of the birds that nest in the Eastern U.S. are neotropical migrants — they nest here (U.S.…
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The Naturalist's Corner: It’s getting pinker

Our annual beach and marsh R&R at Wild Dunes on Isle of Palms, South Carolina, is history. Thanks to the…
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Counting the bears: UTK conducts largest-ever black bear survey

Barbed wire and hundreds of pounds of donuts are the key ingredients in a University of Tennessee Knoxville effort to…
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No sight required: Summer camp spurs blind youth to outdoor adventure

When Sam Chandler heard that the summer camp he’d been attending for years planned to launch an adventure camp, he…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Best possible science discarded

Studying the red wolf fiasco taking place in eastern North Carolina takes me far away in time and distance —…
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Adventure for all: Outdoor camp for youth with special needs builds friendships and confidence

Intermittent breeze ripples the water atop Lake Junaluska as the sky vacillates between sun and cloud, but the wind can’t…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Continuing red wolf saga

U.S. Fish and Wildlife (F&W) held a public meeting regarding proposed rule changes to its Red Wolf Recovery Plan. According…
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Wandering elk dies following car crash: Overall prognosis positive for elk population

A youthful lark ended in tragedy July 1 for a Maggie Valley elk that trekked through the Pisgah National Forest…
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Off the beaten path: Alarka Institute leads quest for rare mountain flower

For even the most woods-savvy of plant lovers, a blooming mountain camellia is a rare to non-existent sight.  A member…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Death sentence?

On June 27 U.S. Fish and Wildlife (F&W) announced a proposed rule many in the conservation forefront have deemed as…
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From the ground up: Holbrook reflects on a lifetime of agriculture

Bill Holbrook has been a lot of things in his 71 years on earth — a factory worker, a manager, a…
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