Putting the squeeze on trout: Study says that acid and warming waters could make life harder for trout
 

Putting the squeeze on trout: Study says that acid and warming waters could make life harder for trout

From habitat destruction to competition with non-native trout, Southern Appalachian brook trout have met their share of challenges over the…
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Peak peeking
 

Peak peeking

The deluge we slogged through a couple of weeks ago certainly didn’t help this fall’s color palette. But not to…
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Healing in the waters: Disabled vets find comfort, camaraderie in fly fishing
 

Healing in the waters: Disabled vets find comfort, camaraderie in fly fishing

Out of Ed Norris’ 68 years of life, Vietnam accounts for just one. Those months he spent deployed with the…
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Reducing their footprint: Smokies unveils new energy-efficient equipment
 

Reducing their footprint: Smokies unveils new energy-efficient equipment

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park marked a milestone last week with the unveiling of 10 new pieces of equipment…
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Horny hickory devil
 

Horny hickory devil

OK, OK, you can bring the kids back into the room, we’re not talking that kinda horny here. The hickory…
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All about the water: Adults get creek-splashing in inaugural waterways education event
 

All about the water: Adults get creek-splashing in inaugural waterways education event

There’s excitement in the air as the class, its members scattered across the Pigeon River under cloudy skies in Canton,…
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Waynesville rolls out the red carpet for riders
 

Waynesville rolls out the red carpet for riders

It’s all hands on deck this weekend as Waynesville prepares to welcome more than 1,100 cyclists and their families to…
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End of the bloody tetrad
 

End of the bloody tetrad

All the lunar-phobes out there, as well as many of the astronomically challenged – like me, will be praying for…
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Filling the plate: Haywood group feeds the hungry with harvest leftovers
 

Filling the plate: Haywood group feeds the hungry with harvest leftovers

A half-hour into the morning, Carol Larson has the gleaning operation smoothly underway at Skipper Russell’s farm in Bethel. A…
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More than a walk: Conservation, tourism groups expect A.T. onslaught following movie release
 

More than a walk: Conservation, tourism groups expect A.T. onslaught following movie release

Bill Bryson and Steven Katz didn’t really know what they were getting into when they began their Appalachian Trail journey,…
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Of bears and bees
 

Of bears and bees

I am not nearly so frustrated with my black oil sunflower seed-addicted bruin neighbor as I was after his little…
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Make mud, not war: A good time had by all at Waynesville Mud Run
 

Make mud, not war: A good time had by all at Waynesville Mud Run

I’ve never been a huge fan of any sport that hinges on an ability to run swiftly or handle a…
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A bird’s-eye view: Photographer publishes aerial views of WNC’s highest peaks
 

A bird’s-eye view: Photographer publishes aerial views of WNC’s highest peaks

If Garrett Fisher had his way, he’d live on the side of a mountain with a glacier as his next-door…
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The eagle lady: Mager, preparing to leave N.C., reflects on 51 years of life with raptors
 

The eagle lady: Mager, preparing to leave N.C., reflects on 51 years of life with raptors

Doris Mager returned from her most recent doctor appointment with some grim marching orders. Her instructions didn’t have anything to…
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We need to darken the way
 

We need to darken the way

perseids fallingperseids burning white hotperseids flame out I made sure to keep an eye out for falling stars last week…
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Behind-the-scenes rescuers: Emergency management team gears up for autumn rescue season
 

Behind-the-scenes rescuers: Emergency management team gears up for autumn rescue season

Summer’s not quite over, but emergency responders in Haywood County are already practicing their skills in preparation for rescue season,…
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Fly fishing museum aims to spur tourism, preserve angling history in Cherokee
 

Fly fishing museum aims to spur tourism, preserve angling history in Cherokee

It’s been more than 10 years since Alen Baker decided, while recuperating from surgery, to pass the time by writing…
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Company for coffee
 

Company for coffee

Due to the generosity of great friends Bill and Elaine Cave of Asheville, my family has enjoyed a summer respite…
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With a little help from hunters, wildlife officials hope to curb the exploding bear population in the mountains
 

With a little help from hunters, wildlife officials hope to curb the exploding bear population in the mountains

North Carolina has a bear problem, and wildlife officials hope hunters can help. The population of black bears has been…
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Summer skies
 

Summer skies

My family and I made a quick run up to Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway around dusk last…
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A natural fit: Balsam nature center a hub for research and education in the mountains
 

A natural fit: Balsam nature center a hub for research and education in the mountains

“Hey buddy, you about ready to come out?” Michael Skinner asks the juvenile broadwing hawk standing in the back of…
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A hidden gem: Waynesville vet can’t get away from biking mountain roads
 

A hidden gem: Waynesville vet can’t get away from biking mountain roads

For veterinarian Brian Birthright, what would become a lifelong passion for biking began in the most fitting of ways —…
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A voice from the past leads to new adventure
 

A voice from the past leads to new adventure

Well, it wasn’t really a voice — it was an email. I received an email from Bruce Lampright back in…
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To each his own: Nature week allows age-stratified exploration for families
 

To each his own: Nature week allows age-stratified exploration for families

It’s day four of the Family Nature Summit, and the troops are working hard on a wooded piece of land…
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Chopping his way to victory: HCC student takes national timbersports title
 

Chopping his way to victory: HCC student takes national timbersports title

Ben Kniceley’s pretty sure his dad had a good laugh after the Haywood Community College graduate came away with a…
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Color on high
 

Color on high

I occasionally see The Smoky Mountain News’ Garret K. Woodward’s Facebook posts about hitting the trails around WNC for a…
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Here for the long haul: New Smokies superintendent settles into park leadership
 

Here for the long haul: New Smokies superintendent settles into park leadership

Asked what a typical day for the head guy at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park looks like, new Smokies…
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Path to the past: Friends of the Smokies hike explores park history and natural beauty
 

Path to the past: Friends of the Smokies hike explores park history and natural beauty

There was no doubt about how the Smoky Mountains got their name as day dawned on the Friends of the…
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No time to relax: Smokies air quality has improved, but a new ozone standard is on its way
 

No time to relax: Smokies air quality has improved, but a new ozone standard is on its way

Breathing easy in the Smokies is a better bet than it’s been in decades. Ozone pollution is down 36 percent,…
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Albinism in plants
 

Albinism in plants

The other day, while chasing birdies for the Forest Service, I encountered a pretty wildflower along an abandoned logging road.…
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Home for the summer: Birders seek out migrating birds in the mountains
 

Home for the summer: Birders seek out migrating birds in the mountains

In a woodsy neighborhood up a winding mountain road from Franklin, late May is pretty quiet — at least from…
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Beige – the new orange
 

Beige – the new orange

Neotropical migrants can be flashy things — think scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole, rose-breasted grosbeak or those tiny butterflies of the…
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Giving new farmers a boost
 

Giving new farmers a boost

By Katie Reeder • SMN Intern Demand for locally grown food is soaring in Western North Carolina, but recruiting — and…
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WCU researchers making their mark
 

WCU researchers making their mark

Scientific work by professors and students at Western Carolina University is earning recognition and winning research money. The Cullowhee campus,…
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Avian adventures
 

Avian adventures

What better way to spring into the season than chasing migrants across Western North Carolina? I was with the Franklin…
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Cast away: Cherokee man finds competitive success with the fly rod
 

Cast away: Cherokee man finds competitive success with the fly rod

When Michael Bradley first picked up a fly rod in 2011, he wasn’t looking for anything more than a relaxing…
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Haywood farmers market now more accessible to low-income people
 

Haywood farmers market now more accessible to low-income people

The Haywood Historic Farmers Market hopes to open its selection to an even larger portion of the population by exercising…
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Cumberland Island National Seashore
 

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island, which is composed of Great Cumberland Island (the national seashore) and Little Cumberland Island (private), is one of…
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Pedal like a girl: Women give mountain biking a try
 

Pedal like a girl: Women give mountain biking a try

Four years ago, Jennie Wyderko — then finishing up her undergrad at Virginia Tech — had barely even touched a…
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Racing ahead: Successful athletic events bolster tourism
 

Racing ahead: Successful athletic events bolster tourism

From paved 5K routes to epic trail runs and triathlons, Western North Carolina is rife with outdoor races of all…
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The swamp a ghost saved
 

The swamp a ghost saved

Yay! Spring break! That special time to be sequestered with adolescents and/or pre-adolescents in about 50 square feet while hurtling…
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Soaking in the sun: Solar energy movement comes to WNC
 

Soaking in the sun: Solar energy movement comes to WNC

Solar power is on the rise across the U.S., and a campaign recently launched in Western North Carolina is urging…
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When the bats leave the belfry: Fungus cuts down bat population, sparks speculation on species, ecosystem future
 

When the bats leave the belfry: Fungus cuts down bat population, sparks speculation on species, ecosystem future

Sarah Davis loves bats. They’ve been the wintertime residents of Linville Caverns for as long as she can remember, a…
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Put the forest first!
 

Put the forest first!

I was commiserating with a friend who works for the Forest Service just after it was announced that they were…
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Life in bear country: Bear encounter sparks camping closure, bear canister requirement
 

Life in bear country: Bear encounter sparks camping closure, bear canister requirement

A pair of hikers camped near the Lower Falls in Graveyard Fields got a rude awakening March 16 when a…
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Grit and wonder: 2015’s thru-hikers reflect on trail hardships and thrills
 

Grit and wonder: 2015’s thru-hikers reflect on trail hardships and thrills

If the stack of boxes piling up on the counter of the outfitter store at Nantahala Outdoor Center is any…
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Hail, hail the gang’s still here
 

Hail, hail the gang’s still here

I’ve recently been seeing lots of posts like these on Carolina Birders’ FaceBook page: “… My pine siskins have departed,…
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Blazing a trail: Work starts on first Bartram Trail addition since the 1990s
 

Blazing a trail: Work starts on first Bartram Trail addition since the 1990s

It’s been nearly 20 years since Burt Kornegay first started looking into land along Hickory Knoll Road in Macon County,…
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Bring on the bikes: Mountains to coast bike ride to kick off from Waynesville
 

Bring on the bikes: Mountains to coast bike ride to kick off from Waynesville

The plans are set: Waynesville’s getting invaded this fall, and the army will be 1,000 strong.  Semi trucks will haul…
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Life on LeConte: Winter on the top demonstrates the harshness and beauty of nature
 

Life on LeConte: Winter on the top demonstrates the harshness and beauty of nature

Sipping hot tea while swaddled beside a propane heater, warmth beaming as wind whips snowflakes around the mountaintop outside. A…
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