Down to bare rock: Smokies’ Chimney Tops could be closed for years following fire

When starting the hike, it’s not immediately obvious why the Chimney Tops Trail should be appointed for long-term closure. The…
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Comprehending climate: Smokies seeks to understand impacts of shifts in seasonal patterns

According to the National Phenology Network, Punxsutawny Phil had it all wrong when he emerged from his hole this month…
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The Naturalist's Corner: Is spring springing earlier?

Back in January I surveyed the Tellico Fire with MountainTrue biologist Josh Kelly. We were there to check out the…
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From mountains to sea: N.C. woman relives six months spent hiking the state

If you’d polled Kimberley Brookshire’s friends a couple years ago, they’d likely have said the chances were slim to none…
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Twice threatened

In the land of the noonday sun, there lives a noonday snail. The noonday globe snail, Petera clarkia Nantahala is…
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FAQ: The effects of WNC’s 2016 fire season

Did the fires hurt wildlife?  Prescribed burning is often used as a tool to benefit wildlife by regenerating their habitat,…
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Wildfire impacts range from barely there to complete char, but true effects remain to be seen

It’s a warmer-than-average January day, the contours of the mountains visible from the highway beneath a thin covering of leafless…
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Federal dollars fuel WNC farmland conservation: $8 million allocation is region’s largest ever

Land conservation groups across the region found something to celebrate this month when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an…
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The probably not so — Big Year

The 2011 movie “The Big Year” — a comedy starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson — didn’t ruffle…
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Braving the storm: Backcountry rescuers save lost hikers in snow, frigid temps

It was around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, when the two hikers stepped out of their red Ford Edge and…
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Nothing like old-time boardinghouses

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in January 2011. Are there boardinghouses still operating here…
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A growing mark: Outdoor school opens world’s largest wilderness medicine classroom in Cullowhee

Just north of Cullowhee, at the curvy, gravel terminus of Cane Creek Road, sits the building containing the world’s largest…
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Resolve to be active in 2017: WNC runs and rides offer ample options for fitness goals

January is universally recognized as the time to make a fresh start, throw away last year’s used-up calendar and dream…
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To save a life: Global village rallies for high-altitude rescue in the mountains of Nepal

Judy Seago almost left the United States without packing a stethoscope.  Seago, a pediatrician, was headed to Nepal on a…
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‘No change in your pockets’: Farmers grapple with effects of historic drought year

Dowdy Bradley is 68 years old, and for nearly all of those years he’s been involved in some kind of…
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Granddaddy of ‘em all

This year will mark the 117th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC.) The CBC is the longest-lived and largest citizen-science…
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Going forward by looking backward: Tradition and science meet in Cherokee forest plan

Over the course of thousands of years lived in the Southern Appalachian mountains, the Cherokee people had pretty well developed…
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To the bluffs: Two-year Alum Cave Trail project culminates

It’s a miraculously warm, blue-skied November day, the iconic Alum Cave Trail stretching smoothly from the trailhead.  The trail invites,…
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Creep on

It’s been about a month since my family and I enjoyed our assault on Whitetop. OK, so in reality, it’s…
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Bringing in the harvest: Despite drought, students and farmers join forces to feed Haywood’s hungry

Armed with five-gallon buckets and a groundswell of energy, 14 teens from Balsam-based SOAR Camp descended on Eugene Christopher’s Waynesville…
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Island of green: Exhibit commemorates 50 years of community-driven landscape at HCC

It’s a sunny day at Haywood Community College, light sparkling from the campus’s landmark mill pond and shining through the…
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Welcome home

The lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, once ranged across North America from the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay drainages down the…
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Data-driven analysis drives modern weather forecasting

Some things change, and some things stay the same.  Thousands of years ago, humans developed visual and spoken languages to…
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Forest fires ignite the Nantahala as drought worsens

Nantahala District Ranger Mike Wilkins was headed to church Sunday morning, Oct. 23, when he got the call. A forest…
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Mapping the Tuck: ‘Blue’ Trails project kicks off along the Tuckasegee River

Western North Carolina is rife with trails and maps to facilitate exploration of the mountain landscape, but an effort is…
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Failure to communicate?

Well it seems there was one and I’m sure it could have been my fault. Smoky Mountain News reporter Holly…
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Daughters of the American Revolution brings forgotten forest to light

The sun had barely risen over the Pisgah Ridge, but the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Devils Courthouse pull-off was teeming — mainly…
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You’re going the wrong way – not

When you’re out chasing fall migrants and you either have a good internal compass or you’re somewhere it’s pretty easy…
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Congressman sits down with wilderness supporters

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-Cashiers) and a room of 30 wilderness supporters spent two hours discussing everything from ecology to U.S.…
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Livestock you love: Bethel man carves out a life among alpacas

A cadre of curious animals gathers at the gate as Joe Moore, owner of Indian Springs Farms in Bethel, approaches…
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Big and wild

Big and wild can’t be big and wild if your mind and heart are small.  A “real” public meeting —…
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Parks and Rec master plan seeks input

Area residents who avail themselves of Waynesville’s recreational facilities and programs have a chance to shape their respective futures —…
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Dreaming of Toyko: Following competition in Rio, NOC paddler sets sights on 2020 Olympic medal

Much of America spent Aug. 5-21 with eyes glued to a television, cheering on athletes from all corners of the…
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Hiking for Hope: Robbinsville man raises $70,000 for children with A.T. hike

It was nighttime in the White Mountains, and Steve Claxton was pretty sure he wouldn’t make it till morning. Rain…
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Must have been an omen

When I checked my email Friday morning (9/9), I had a message from Chris Kelly, mountain wildlife diversity biologist with…
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Homebuilding company wants to sell Plott Balsam tract for conservation

High in the Plott Balsams, there’s a swath of property riddled with panoramic views, sparking waterfalls and high-elevation solitude that…
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Can’t see the forest for the webs

From what I gather from Facebook and overhear in the checkout line, the view I encounter every morning on my…
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The value of a view: Thousands of acres added to the Parkway for Park Service centennial

It’s not unusual for Waterrock Knob, which boasts some of the best views on the Blue Ridge Parkway, to see…
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Speaking for the trees: Waynesville launches arboretum effort

As manager of Waynesville’s urban forest, it’s safe to say that Jonathan Yates likes trees. So when Diane Kornse of…
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Ma Nature doesn’t see things the way we do

The red-cockaded woodpecker (RCWO) is a small – cardinal-sized – woodpecker native to eastern pine forests. It once ranged from…
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Forest Service evaluates potential wilderness areas

The cadre of groups helping the U.S. Forest Service work toward a new management plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest…
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Pursuing the Pinnacle: Mountain bikers push to create new trail system in Sylva

For the past decade, Sylva’s Pinnacle Park has had Sae Smyrl envisioning a lofty future for the hiking area. A…
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A real can of DNA worms

A new whole-genome (the entire genetic makeup) study published in Science Advances on July 27 is giving the already muddied…
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Messages to the future: Park Service, outdoor camp work to mold diverse new generation of outdoor enthusiasts

The air on the Cataloochee Divide Trail is heavy with humidity and the promise of an afternoon storm, but the…
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Winged wonder: Bird study gets up close with WNC’s avian residents

Cloud cover keeps the summer morning cool as Mark Hopey makes the rounds below Cowee Mound. By 8:30 a.m., he…
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Planning begins for logging project in Haywood
 

Planning begins for logging project in Haywood

Round tables and large, neon sticky notes characterized last week’s kickoff of a planning process to cut timber and create…
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Wading through nostalgia
 

Wading through nostalgia

Give a Loosiana boy a reason to don his hip boots and strap on a headlight and you’ve got a…
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Tackling the Beast: Prepping for a 60-mile mountain bike challenge isn’t easy
 

Tackling the Beast: Prepping for a 60-mile mountain bike challenge isn’t easy

By Jamie Arnold • Contributing writer It’s a 95-degree Sunday afternoon. Most folks are at the lake, or lounging on the…
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Combination science lab and amusement park
 

Combination science lab and amusement park

Weightless for two seconds is not a moonwalk but at the top of the Space Shot at Huntsville, Alabama’s (Rocket…
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Remembering the removal: Wayside markers trace the Trail of Tears in WNC
 

Remembering the removal: Wayside markers trace the Trail of Tears in WNC

A growing collection of roadside signs has been popping up along rural drives and main thoroughfares in Western North Carolina…
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