Pollinate, propagate, cultivate: 2016 garden tour to show off the best beds in Haywood
 

Pollinate, propagate, cultivate: 2016 garden tour to show off the best beds in Haywood

When Sarah Scott first started work at Haywood County Cooperative Extension in February 2015, planning for the 2016 Haywood County…
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Keep your salamander away from my newt
 

Keep your salamander away from my newt

I often remind everyone who reads “The Naturalist’s Corner” to remember to look up. But each spring while surveying birds…
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Stories, salad and wildflowers: Plants a passion for Bigelow
 

Stories, salad and wildflowers: Plants a passion for Bigelow

Adam Bigelow bears down on the gas pedal of his biodiesel-fueled Jetta, urging it up the steep contours of the…
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Glad to be alive: Bear bite victim tells his story
 

Glad to be alive: Bear bite victim tells his story

The sun had not quite set when Bradley Veeder fell asleep in his tent May 10, feeling “tired but happy”…
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A strained relationship: Suspicion of NPS lingers among some backcountry users, parkside communities
 

A strained relationship: Suspicion of NPS lingers among some backcountry users, parkside communities

It’s been three years since a vigorous debate about charging for backcountry camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park…
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Canucks amongst us
 

Canucks amongst us

You’re hiking streamside through a rhododendron tangle when you hear a short, musical trill – it kind of mimics the…
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Not your average tourist: Waynesville man reflects on decades of travel in the jungles of Ecuador
 

Not your average tourist: Waynesville man reflects on decades of travel in the jungles of Ecuador

When life gets hectic, most people have a vacation spot where they go to unwind — perhaps a family cabin…
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Rivers and restaurants: TV crew falls for Jackson County  through its trout, tables and people
 

Rivers and restaurants: TV crew falls for Jackson County through its trout, tables and people

The sun is lowering toward a perfect spring evening as the crew from Fox Sports’ “Anglers & Appetites” pulls onto…
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Evolution
 

Evolution

I spend six weeks every spring doing bird surveys for the Forest Service across Western North Carolina. My travels take…
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Operation box turtle: Waynesville vet works to give baby turtles a leg up
 

Operation box turtle: Waynesville vet works to give baby turtles a leg up

Joel Harrington has always been a fan of turtles. Of all animals, really — he is a veterinarian — but Harrington has…
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Trout Capital, North Carolina: Jackson County pushes to land unique designation
 

Trout Capital, North Carolina: Jackson County pushes to land unique designation

Jackson County is on its way to becoming the trout capital of North Carolina after county leaders unveiled a plan…
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Smoky birds
 

Smoky birds

I just finished four wonderful days of birding in the Smokies, helping out with the 66th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.…
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Hike your own hike: A.T. hikers aim for Maine after crowded start
 

Hike your own hike: A.T. hikers aim for Maine after crowded start

It’s 4 p.m. on the Appalachian Trail, and while the sun will be awake for hours yet, “hiker midnight,” which…
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What matters most in life: Local triathlete on road to recovery following accident
 

What matters most in life: Local triathlete on road to recovery following accident

All he heard was the sound of an engine. “I came over the rise, a place I’d ridden hundreds of…
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Mystery solved
 

Mystery solved

I was having my morning coffee on the small floating dock in the narrow, clear Weeki Wachee River about three…
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A life of exploration: Swain County trail guide duo reflects on 25 years in business
 

A life of exploration: Swain County trail guide duo reflects on 25 years in business

The outdoors have been a powerful force in the lives of Jim Parham and MaryEllen Hammond.  The Nantahala River was…
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Early to the woods
 

Early to the woods

Due to contractual obligations with the Forest Service I have been in the woods a little earlier than usual this…
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A new meaning for ‘study lounge’: WCU installs solar panel and hammock lounge combo with sustainability funds
 

A new meaning for ‘study lounge’: WCU installs solar panel and hammock lounge combo with sustainability funds

When Earth Day rolls around this year, students at Western Carolina University will be able to celebrate with a bit…
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Feeling the vibe: Mountain bikers converge in WNC to learn, network and explore Tsali trails
 

Feeling the vibe: Mountain bikers converge in WNC to learn, network and explore Tsali trails

The parking lot at Tsali Recreation Area was full of bikes Friday evening — more than 100 of them, strapped…
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Worming towards a better way: Composting project reduces waste, sparks young scientists in Jackson schools
 

Worming towards a better way: Composting project reduces waste, sparks young scientists in Jackson schools

When the bell rang for the end of school Friday afternoon, Jeff Vamvakias’ room at Cullowhee Valley Elementary emptied a…
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Lake J – even when it’s bad, it’s good
 

Lake J – even when it’s bad, it’s good

Waterfowl have been scarce across Western North Carolina this fall and winter. Traditional haunts like Lake Julian in Asheville, Lake…
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Feeling alive: Waynesville chiropractor reflects on decade as professional mountain climber
 

Feeling alive: Waynesville chiropractor reflects on decade as professional mountain climber

The little storefront that serves as home base for Todd McDougall’s chiropractic office looks just about how you’d expect such…
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Residents promote Franklin as outdoor destination
 

Residents promote Franklin as outdoor destination

Franklin residents have taken it upon themselves to get the word out about the town’s recognition as the “Top Small…
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Hooray for the orange and black
 

Hooray for the orange and black

The monarch butterfly is known for its amazing annual spring and fall migration — from wintering grounds in Mexico in…
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The fly collector: Collection of 9,000 flies holds memories, knowledge for Bryson City angler
 

The fly collector: Collection of 9,000 flies holds memories, knowledge for Bryson City angler

“This is the ugliest fly I have,” says Mike Kesselring, pulling a battered-looking brown-bodied, black-feathered fly from a box marked…
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P.T. would be jealous
 

P.T. would be jealous

One of the greatest shows on Earth is about to take center stage. Spring ephemerals will begin clawing through the…
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Here to stay: Coyotes make themselves at home in WNC
 

Here to stay: Coyotes make themselves at home in WNC

It’s been 30 years since Raymond Bunn saw his first coyote, and that moment — Clay County, 1986 — is…
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Cross-country skiing in WNC offers breathtaking but limited-time experience
 

Cross-country skiing in WNC offers breathtaking but limited-time experience

When the snow starts falling and Western North Carolina’s main streets, schools and businesses go to sleep in wait for…
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Don’t fall for that 5-planet crap
 

Don’t fall for that 5-planet crap

It’s been awhile since The Naturalist’s Corner’s chief investigative journalist, Kuteeng Satire, has been called upon to help us clarify…
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Never say never: Sylva cyclo-crosser takes top honors in national competition
 

Never say never: Sylva cyclo-crosser takes top honors in national competition

As national champion Karen Tripp likes to say, cyclo-cross is a sport that you win by seconds. And that’s just…
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Beat you to the bottom: Race night offers competition and community at Cataloochee
 

Beat you to the bottom: Race night offers competition and community at Cataloochee

As the sun goes down on the snow-covered mountain at Cataloochee Ski Area, anticipation spikes among the enlightened few who…
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Can I move?
 

Can I move?

Remember the scene in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” where the Kid was asked by an old miner (I…
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To hunt or not to hunt: Elk season proposal debated at public hearing
 

To hunt or not to hunt: Elk season proposal debated at public hearing

Should North Carolina start thinking about a hunting season for elk?  If the crowd that turned out to the N.C.…
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One park at a time: WNC hiker explores the South’s natural and human history through national parks
 

One park at a time: WNC hiker explores the South’s natural and human history through national parks

For Danny Bernstein and her husband Lenny, trips south to visit Lenny’s family in Miami Beach are a regular feature…
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CBC double-dipping
 

CBC double-dipping

They say great minds think alike, and who am I to argue with “They?” The Franklin Bird Club and Carolina…
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Charting the future: Wildlife Commission proposes hunting season on elk
 

Charting the future: Wildlife Commission proposes hunting season on elk

Fifteen years ago, a herd of 52 elk set foot in their new home — the Great Smoky Mountains National…
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Students learn about chemistry, fish and water quality through trout raising project
 

Students learn about chemistry, fish and water quality through trout raising project

When the holidays wind down and schools go back in session, kids in some Western North Carolina classrooms will have…
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Things that go peent! in the dark
 

Things that go peent! in the dark

I think Lewis Carroll could have just as easily warned of the Timberdoodle as the Jubjub bird in the “Jabberwocky,”…
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A double-edged sword: Rising visitation in the Smokies brings challenge and reward
 

A double-edged sword: Rising visitation in the Smokies brings challenge and reward

Lynda Doucett and her staff at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were pretty excited to move into the new…
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Cherokees and rivers: Water a centerpiece of Cherokee culture
 

Cherokees and rivers: Water a centerpiece of Cherokee culture

Just like Haywood County’s watershed, fed by springs that all have their start inside county borders, Cherokee mythology surrounding places…
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Wilderness — we don’t need no stinkin wilderness
 

Wilderness — we don’t need no stinkin wilderness

Flying around Facebook pages (after all this is the age of information) is, apparently, a poll or online survey declaring…
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Trail improvements coming to Fontana: Work begins on $380K trail project
 

Trail improvements coming to Fontana: Work begins on $380K trail project

National forest trails around Fontana Village are in for an overhaul, thanks to a federal grant that’s putting the final…
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Coming down the mountain: Cataloochee turns attention to user experience
 

Coming down the mountain: Cataloochee turns attention to user experience

It’s a feeling that Chris Bates can’t shake. “Being outside, in the winter, on the mountain — there’s nothing like it,”…
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Half a hunert
 

Half a hunert

There’s nothing I like better than mixing pleasure with pleasure.  Last weekend, I got to spend three wonderful nights in…
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Hitting the ground running: SCC the first to host expanded training for future NPS officers
 

Hitting the ground running: SCC the first to host expanded training for future NPS officers

“I just don’t want to take any chances,” the hard-hatted contractor tells the officers as they get out of their…
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An even Dirty Dozen: After 120-plus miles in the wilderness, hikers reflect on Wilderness Society challenge
 

An even Dirty Dozen: After 120-plus miles in the wilderness, hikers reflect on Wilderness Society challenge

Olga Pader will always remember the Naked Ground Trail in the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness as “the hike from hell.”  It…
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Fight the good fight
 

Fight the good fight

"It’s like déjà vu all over again." —Yogi Berra (RIP) Maybe some of you who, like me, are getting longer in…
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Aiming for adventure: Competition encourages families to get exploring outside
 

Aiming for adventure: Competition encourages families to get exploring outside

For Tim Petrea, it was a truck and a red box that launched a lifetime affinity for the outdoors. Growing…
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More than one way to skin environmental regulations
 

More than one way to skin environmental regulations

According to Steve Ford, in a piece for NC Policy Watch called “Policies, power, pride divide the NC House and…
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Like a good neighbor: LTLT to clean up Duncan Oil site this winter
 

Like a good neighbor: LTLT to clean up Duncan Oil site this winter

Thanks to some fortunate happenstance and a lot of hard work from the staff at the Land Trust for the…
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