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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A Golden secret
 

A Golden secret

There is one winter visitor to our North Carolina Mountains that is probably happy the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed…
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Changing attitudes: Carlson reshaped ideas about conservation
 

Changing attitudes: Carlson reshaped ideas about conservation

History will no doubt remember Paul Carlson as one of the great visionaries of our time in Western North Carolina.…
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Countin’ in the cold
 

Countin’ in the cold

I had originally intended to spend today (Monday, Feb. 16) doing a couple of short surveys for the annual Great…
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Mountain thunder: Maggie musher takes up snowless dog sledding
 

Mountain thunder: Maggie musher takes up snowless dog sledding

Stepping into Kirk Wall’s custom-carpentered, immaculately decorated mountaintop home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d knocked on the wrong…
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One foot in front of the other: Haywood runner seeks to push her limits, share the joy of running
 

One foot in front of the other: Haywood runner seeks to push her limits, share the joy of running

Pushing through 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 of biking and 26.2 of running, it was all Jennifer Jacobson could do…
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The bizarro world of plan revision
 

The bizarro world of plan revision

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners decided that today (Feb. 2) was the day they would boldly venture into the…
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Winter on the ridge: Wintry conditions cause Parkway closures despite warm temps at low elevations
 

Winter on the ridge: Wintry conditions cause Parkway closures despite warm temps at low elevations

Though a mixture of rain and ice pelted the windshield as I headed toward the Balsam Gap access of the…
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The open water: Improved access, mapping set to spur water recreation in WNC
 

The open water: Improved access, mapping set to spur water recreation in WNC

It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for water-lovers in Western North Carolina. After more than a decade of…
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The uncommon common goldeneye
 

The uncommon common goldeneye

The best way I know of to get a rare bird to fly the coop is to write about it.…
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Sylva man reflects on televised Alaskan survival experience, the adventure lifestyle
 

Sylva man reflects on televised Alaskan survival experience, the adventure lifestyle

Scott McCleskey didn’t really know what he was saying yes to when he boarded the plane to Alaska, pack of…
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Dog fight in the forest: Woman crusades for legal change after hunting dog attack
 

Dog fight in the forest: Woman crusades for legal change after hunting dog attack

Kadie Anderson was packing up camp after a night in the backcountry with her two Australian shepherds when the peace…
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Double the fun
 

Double the fun

I had the pleasure of participating in two Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) this past weekend. The first was the Balsam…
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School on the slopes: Cataloochee’s expanded kids program spreads the joy of sliding
 

School on the slopes: Cataloochee’s expanded kids program spreads the joy of sliding

Rain was beginning to set in on a fog-ridden day on the slopes when Annie Dephouse gave her 5-year-old charge,…
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Trending in nature: WNC outdoors enthusiasts talk about trends in outdoor rec
 

Trending in nature: WNC outdoors enthusiasts talk about trends in outdoor rec

When Jim Brendle put together the first Smoky Mountain Relay in 2009, it was a pretty small affair. With only…
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Christmas on the Chimney: Claus gears up for Christmas, spreads the joy of climbing
 

Christmas on the Chimney: Claus gears up for Christmas, spreads the joy of climbing

It was still a couple weeks till Christmas, but Santa Claus already had his boots shined and suit cleaned in…
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Golden poster-bird
 

Golden poster-bird

It seems like the golden-winged warbler (GWWA) has become the non-game poster bird for everything from clearcuts to shelterwood cuts…
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Hike against hunger: Whittier man hikes A.T. to celebrate 65th birthday, raise money for food pantry
 

Hike against hunger: Whittier man hikes A.T. to celebrate 65th birthday, raise money for food pantry

Hiking the Appalachian Trail had been in the back of Andy Smith’s mind for a while, ever since a coworker…
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A feathery Christmas: Birders head outdoors for annual bird count
 

A feathery Christmas: Birders head outdoors for annual bird count

There’s plenty of tradition and symbolism that goes along with the holiday season, but for birders no tradition is more…
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Extreme commenting on plan for national forests
 

Extreme commenting on plan for national forests

Yogi Berra said it best — “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” When I read Holly Kays’ Nov. 12…
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Tracking the sicklefin: Understanding rare fish’s lifestyle important for conservation
 

Tracking the sicklefin: Understanding rare fish’s lifestyle important for conservation

The sicklefin redhorse is a sneaky kind of fish. It wasn’t discovered as a species until 1992, and even with…
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Lake J is heating up
 

Lake J is heating up

I was fortunate to be able to spend a few hours last Saturday morning (Nov. 23) with members of the…
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House hunting for elk: Conservation project seeks to attract elk, tourism
 

House hunting for elk: Conservation project seeks to attract elk, tourism

Things have gone well for the Smokies elk, and they’ve risen from reintroduction experiment to established population. But meanwhile, they’ve…
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Casting further: New fly fishing stores open, thrive in WNC
 

Casting further: New fly fishing stores open, thrive in WNC

Word on the river is that more and more people are getting into fly fishing, spurring a push for fly-focused…
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Hello darkness, my old friend
 

Hello darkness, my old friend

The full Hunter’s Moon is waning and the night sky will be revealing more of her secrets till we spin…
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Pedaling the Parkway: WCU dean completes ninth fundraising ride to Mount Mitchell
 

Pedaling the Parkway: WCU dean completes ninth fundraising ride to Mount Mitchell

Brian Railsback learned a valuable lesson when he missed a September meeting of the Western Carolina University Honors College Student…
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Greenery is a Southern Appalachian specialty
 

Greenery is a Southern Appalachian specialty

This region has been furnishing the eastern United States with quantities of various evergreen materials (trees, running ground cedar, mistletoe,…
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Home tweet home: Audubon project seeks to bolster birds, engage people
 

Home tweet home: Audubon project seeks to bolster birds, engage people

When the North Carolina Audubon Society announced its campaign to install 10,000 small-holed bird boxes to bolster the population of…
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Monarchs to Mexico
 

Monarchs to Mexico

Monarch butterflies, like orange autumn leaves filling the skies, have been winging it to Mexico for the last month or…
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The bugle of triumph: Elk herd success spurs tourism, scientific innovation
 

The bugle of triumph: Elk herd success spurs tourism, scientific innovation

At 7:30 a.m., darkness is just barely beginning to lift from the pre-dawn fields and forest of Cataloochee Valley. Joe…
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Lead the way: Haywood artist releases frame-worthy trail guides
 

Lead the way: Haywood artist releases frame-worthy trail guides

Ken Czarnomski has always loved sketching and writing, but as a department chair for the sustainability and construction management programs…
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Flame on!
 

Flame on!

Color is starting to spill down the mountainsides once again. I recently received an email from a reader asking about…
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Lost or found? Viral article about ‘forgotten’ Smokies town raises eyebrows
 

Lost or found? Viral article about ‘forgotten’ Smokies town raises eyebrows

A lot of people familiar with Great Smoky Mountains National Park got a surprise earlier this month when an article…
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A bon voyage: Cherokee teacher wins national fellowship, brings global perspective to classroom
 

A bon voyage: Cherokee teacher wins national fellowship, brings global perspective to classroom

After landing back in the Eastern Time Zone, Jessica Metz had a hard time keeping her thoughts still. Eight days…
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Still time if you hurry
 

Still time if you hurry

I’ve been on the Blue Ridge Parkway the last couple of weekends and have made it a point to stop…
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Timbersports team chops its way toward season opener
 

Timbersports team chops its way toward season opener

Orange chaps clipped around their legs, Rankin Fender and Zac O’Connor square off inside the sawdust-and-bark-filled woodshed at Haywood Community…
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Down by the water: Waynesville Rec gets busy with $25,000 worth of paddling equipment
 

Down by the water: Waynesville Rec gets busy with $25,000 worth of paddling equipment

“I’m gonna mark the spot with an X, right here,” says Tim Petrea, program supervisor for the Waynesville Parks and…
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Ahead of the CuRvE: Cullowhee group look to river park for downtown revitalization
 

Ahead of the CuRvE: Cullowhee group look to river park for downtown revitalization

Downtown Cullowhee doesn’t look much like the thriving little town Rick Bennett found when he first moved to Jackson County…
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Get out and say goodbye
 

Get out and say goodbye

At last! I finally had a birding outing planned last Saturday – the first one since April when I helped…
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On the way to Trout City: Bryson City trout waters to get some cred
 

On the way to Trout City: Bryson City trout waters to get some cred

Bryson City will soon have another feather in the cap proving its worth as an outdoors Mecca. If all goes…
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And then there were none
 

And then there were none

“As I traveled on, the air was literally filled with pigeons. The light of noon-day was obscured as by an…
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Fish food: Aquaponics offers full-circle farming
 

Fish food: Aquaponics offers full-circle farming

Tucked away along a squirrely offshoot of Jonathan Creek Road, Dennis “Bear” Forsythe’s 15-by-15-foot greenhouse is like his own private…
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Sunshine on Sam Knob: Ranger-led hikes help locals explore trails along Parkway
 

Sunshine on Sam Knob: Ranger-led hikes help locals explore trails along Parkway

Despite warnings of thunderstorms earlier in the week, Aug. 22 came with a blue sky and a light breeze, temperatures…
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Girls got game
 

Girls got game

The Lake Junaluska Girls Junior Golf Association enjoyed a special play day and celebration Saturday, Aug. 9. LJGJGA members and…
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Reclaiming the landscape: Greenhouse project to spur habitat restoration
 

Reclaiming the landscape: Greenhouse project to spur habitat restoration

Under a clear sky and afternoon sun, the winding road through Cherokee and out past Birdtown is a beautiful one.…
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