The changing face of WNC’s national forests
 

The changing face of WNC’s national forests

 A million acres of national forests sounds like a lot, and indeed it is. But consider the 8.6 million people…
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Check your vital signs
 

Check your vital signs

The Mountain Resources Commission, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Environmental Modeling and…
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National forest balds in jeopardy due to funding cuts
 

National forest balds in jeopardy due to funding cuts

By Danny Bernstein • Contributor            Many hikers are amazed by the balds that dot the Southern Appalachian landscape along the…
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Explore unique, beautiful gardens
 

Explore unique, beautiful gardens

By Shannan Mashburn • SMN Intern Gardeners, wannabe-gardeners and those who simply appreciate a fine garden can catch a behind-the-scenes…
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Bog is good
 

Bog is good

Mountain bogs are some of the rarest and most imperiled natural habitat in the country. They are generally small and…
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Paint Rock
 

Paint Rock

As one whom is often standing on the shoulder of the road peering through binoculars, I’m accustomed to people slowing…
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‘Permanent Camp’ reveals raw moments, crazy wisdom
 

‘Permanent Camp’ reveals raw moments, crazy wisdom

By Brent Martin • Contributor Mention the name George Ellison to most people living in western North Carolina and what…
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Lily here and lily there
 

Lily here and lily there

I was in the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest the other morning preparing to go to one of…
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World-class research  taking place at Highlands Biological Station
 

World-class research taking place at Highlands Biological Station

Richard Baird, a plant pathologist from Mississippi State University, was hard at work one day last week examining mushrooms in…
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A day in the life
 

A day in the life

Up at 4 a.m. to try and catch up on a little correspondence before I hit the road for the…
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Burley and beef to broccoli and biofuel: Test farm plants seeds of new farm economy without forgetting its roots
 

Burley and beef to broccoli and biofuel: Test farm plants seeds of new farm economy without forgetting its roots

Testing canola varieties for biofuel. Growing truffles. Finding hemlocks and Fraser firs that can survive the scourge of the adelgid.…
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Another deadly exotic
 

Another deadly exotic

Experiments conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the U.S., Canada and Germany strongly suggest that the fungus, Geomyces…
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Bartram Trail: Mystery tract with no heirs provides critical link for long-distance hiking trail
 

Bartram Trail: Mystery tract with no heirs provides critical link for long-distance hiking trail

It took more than a decade, a lot of detective work and a protracted legal case to clear the way…
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Following a supermoon
 

Following a supermoon

Last night (May 5) was the unveiling of this year’s supermoon. Astronomer Richard Nolle coined the term supermoon in 1979…
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Connected to the land: An early passion borne from goats and Radio Flyer wagon
 

Connected to the land: An early passion borne from goats and Radio Flyer wagon

David Burnette and his wife Diane do things the old way. “One thing just led to another,” David said of…
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Artful birding
 

Artful birding

I had to take my shoes off to get there, but I believe last Saturday (April 28) was the 13th…
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Tuckasegee River revival: Demolition of Dillsboro  dam restores aquatic life
 

Tuckasegee River revival: Demolition of Dillsboro dam restores aquatic life

In the two years since the Dillsboro Dam was torn down, the Tuckasegee River has become home to a growing…
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Scarlet tanagers, maroon trilliums and green toads
 

Scarlet tanagers, maroon trilliums and green toads

Threatening weather forecasts likely kept many who registered for last Saturday’s (April 21) 5th Annual Spring Hike in Waynesville’s Watershed…
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Future park might be in the cards for the Plott Balsams
 

Future park might be in the cards for the Plott Balsams

The recent acquisition of 720 acres of land in the Plott Balsams has helped set the table for the first…
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The “New” Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
 

The “New” Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

The 62nd Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be April 25 – 28. I…
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Born to paddle: More at home on the water than land,  Swain kayaker’s skill mix of instinct, physics
 

Born to paddle: More at home on the water than land, Swain kayaker’s skill mix of instinct, physics

As Tommy Yon carried his kayak up the side of a waterfall in Tennessee, he tried not to over-think the…
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A Conference of Birds
 

A Conference of Birds

At Wild South’s recent “Green Tie Gala,” friend, writer, poet and publisher Thomas Rain Crowe, with a knowing wink, slipped…
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WNC Alliance: Three decades and still going strong
 

WNC Alliance: Three decades and still going strong

Just in time for its 30th anniversary, the Western North Carolina Alliance one of the region’s most august environmental organizations…
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Rekindling the spirit
 

Rekindling the spirit

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Rachel Reid of Andon-Reid Bed and Breakfast asking if I…
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Cherokee Trout Hatchery back on track after flash flood
 

Cherokee Trout Hatchery back on track after flash flood

Several raceways were completely submerged in water, hundreds of thousands of trout laid dead on the ground, and the national…
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Convicted by a jury of my peers
 

Convicted by a jury of my peers

Last year around this time I wrote about the honor of being nominated for Wild South’s Roosevelt-Ashe Society’s “Outstanding Journalist…
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Motives of missing man remain a mystery
 

Motives of missing man remain a mystery

It’s probably not the view sightseers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were expecting last week when they pulled…
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Not-so-strange bedfellows
 

Not-so-strange bedfellows

I was encouraged by a recent press release from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. The release stated, “In a show…
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Welcome AT hikers: Franklin gears up for stream of thru hikers with annual Trail Days bash
 

Welcome AT hikers: Franklin gears up for stream of thru hikers with annual Trail Days bash

Susan Sakna and her two dogs were far from their home in Massachusetts. But like many Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, Sakna…
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Get ready for Polar wade into Bear Lake
 

Get ready for Polar wade into Bear Lake

Well, it might not exactly live up to the name "Polar Plunge" given the current spate of warm weather, but…
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Sprouting an idea: Seed exchange puts down roots in Sylva
 

Sprouting an idea: Seed exchange puts down roots in Sylva

Borrow seeds in the spring, grow your garden in summer, give them back in the fall. That’s the premise of…
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What light over yonder horizon shines?
 

What light over yonder horizon shines?

Due to a lack of foresight and copious amounts of poor planning, I found myself last Sunday evening (Feb. 26)…
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HCC students serve up animal calls at annual wild game dinner
 

HCC students serve up animal calls at annual wild game dinner

Chris Graves had just parked a school van in a field, and his wildlife students were filing out for some…
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Counting at Kituwah
 

Counting at Kituwah

This year was the 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen-science project created by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and…
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Battle of the Plug: WCU raises the stakes on a national energy conservation competition
 

Battle of the Plug: WCU raises the stakes on a national energy conservation competition

Things have gotten slightly darker at Western Carolina University. The Cullowhee-based college is battling Boone’s Appalachian State University in the…
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Zee wolves must go, by Kuteeng Satire
 

Zee wolves must go, by Kuteeng Satire

The Naturalist’s Corner dispatched its chief investigative reporter, Kuteeng Satire, to the land of Dudley Doright to bring you the…
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The queen of local beekeepers
 

The queen of local beekeepers

As the weather cooled this past weekend, Kathy Taylor’s bees were nowhere in sight; sheltering themselves within their manmade, wooden…
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Punxsutawney Phil was right
 

Punxsutawney Phil was right

I think the shrewd rodent hedges his bet a bit. I mean if you think about it, the difference between…
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By foot or by bike: New running and cycling clubs hit their stride in Cherokee
 

By foot or by bike: New running and cycling clubs hit their stride in Cherokee

Anyone can run or bike. And if any two people could testify to that, it’s Gerri Grady and Hugh Lambert.…
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Slip-sliding away
 

Slip-sliding away

Dateline 1999: David Kullivan a forestry/wildlife student at Louisiana State University, tells faculty that while turkey hunting in the Pearl…
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Hikers’ cars hit by thieves: Trailhead safety becomes focus after recent “car clout” convictions
 

Hikers’ cars hit by thieves: Trailhead safety becomes focus after recent “car clout” convictions

Three Tennessee residents are headed to prison for breaking into a slew of cars at trailheads in Haywood County during…
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Cold-weather wimps
 

Cold-weather wimps

No, I’m not talking about those of us who stay in the warm confines at Cataloochee, nursing Ninja porters, while…
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Northern Pintail
 

Northern Pintail

Thanks to a head’s up from Tim Carstens last Sunday morning (1/15), I saw a drake northern pintail, Anas acuta,…
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By land and by water: Conservation merger will have positive ripple effect on Little Tennessee
 

By land and by water: Conservation merger will have positive ripple effect on Little Tennessee

Two of Western North Carolina’s most storied conservation groups, both based in Macon County, merged this month into a single…
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Whoopers and hoodeds
 

Whoopers and hoodeds

Cranes are cool. These big beautiful graceful birds jolt the souls of non-birders and birders alike. At five feet tall,…
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Hikers voices wanted: National forests ask trail users to step up and join the conversation
 

Hikers voices wanted: National forests ask trail users to step up and join the conversation

More than 5 million people hit the trails in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests last year — a number…
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Rain for wind
 

Rain for wind

This year’s ninth annual Balsam Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held Friday Dec. 30. As I was driving home from…
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Slope bound: Snow, let alone skiing, proves a novel experience for some first-timers
 

Slope bound: Snow, let alone skiing, proves a novel experience for some first-timers

Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, it is hard to imagine never seeing snow — but Elizabeth Comberg…
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A Wild Week in the Wilderness
 

A Wild Week in the Wilderness

The 22nd Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week is scheduled for Jan. 7-14 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. This year’s Wildlife Week boasts…
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Origin of WCU white squirrel a mystery
 

Origin of WCU white squirrel a mystery

A rare sighting of a white squirrel at Western Carolina University has workers there abuzz. The squirrel has been spotted…
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