A wonderful Christmas gift
 

A wonderful Christmas gift

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), Wild South, the Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA) and the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition…
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Surf’s up on the Nanty: Paddler feedback integral to honing the new ‘Wave’
 

Surf’s up on the Nanty: Paddler feedback integral to honing the new ‘Wave’

The common phrase heard among kayakers daring the Nantahala’s new wave: “It’s getting there.” The Wave in the Nantahala Gorge…
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Master Stewardship on the ground
 

Master Stewardship on the ground

A North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) press release from Dec. 9 announced that work was underway, “… to restore…
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Tom Sawyer’s Tree Farm: A slice of Christmas with your choose-and-cut experience
 

Tom Sawyer’s Tree Farm: A slice of Christmas with your choose-and-cut experience

Christmas tree farming is nothing new in Western North Carolina thanks to the perfect climate, perfect soil and preponderance of…
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The good fight
 

The good fight

As too often happens, in this whirlwind life, I lost my roundtoit. I received an email from the Western North…
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Gear guide 2011
 

Gear guide 2011

The Smoky Mountain News has teamed up with outfitters for yet another installment of our annual Outdoor Gear Gift Guide.…
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B-Friday
 

B-Friday

That’s bird-Friday of course. And bird-Friday got off to a pretty chilly start. It was 26 degrees Fahrenheit when I…
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Intensive forest  farming workshop set for this weekend
 

Intensive forest farming workshop set for this weekend

Permaculture has become something of a catchword in farming and homesteading circles, a grand concept — but one usually unfulfilled…
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Deja vue all over again
 

Deja vue all over again

Friends of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge just finished waving goodbye to the Navy, its fighters and their outlying landing…
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One ski at a time: Anyone can learn how, says Cataloochee’s new ski school director
 

One ski at a time: Anyone can learn how, says Cataloochee’s new ski school director

Mark Rozof sat behind a beat-up white desk surrounded by skis, walkie-talkies, snow jackets and other sundry gear strewn about…
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The 500-pound gorilla
 

The 500-pound gorilla

I don’t remember exactly what I was doing when he came into the room. It was cool, so I had…
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Head over heels: New wave shaper comes to the Nantahala River
 

Head over heels: New wave shaper comes to the Nantahala River

When Phil Watford traded in his paddle for a tool belt, giving up his far-cooler job as a kayak instructor…
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Foggy Tessentee
 

Foggy Tessentee

Last Saturday afternoon was a gorgeous autumn afternoon across Western North Carolina. Last Saturday morning, however, when Bob Olthoff and…
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Making Haywood more bike friendly
 

Making Haywood more bike friendly

Haywood County is one step closer to getting a defined bike route traversing the county and improved cycling amenities. The…
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Call of the watershed
 

Call of the watershed

The annual fall hike in the Town of Waynesville’s 9,000-acre watershed took place on Saturday Oct. 29. Around 25 stalwart…
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Wild for now, but keep your eye on the ball
 

Wild for now, but keep your eye on the ball

Ten years later and one hurdle leapt — there will be more. Last week the 10th U.S. Circuit court of…
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Homage to Mariah
 

Homage to Mariah

“Mariah blows the stars around And sends the clouds a’flyin’ Mariah makes the mountains sound Like folks were up there…
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Bear encounters: Bears on the prowl for food lead to increased sightings
 

Bear encounters: Bears on the prowl for food lead to increased sightings

A bad year for acorns in the higher elevations, coupled with a poor berry crop region wide, has resulted in…
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Leaf-lookers’ primer
 

Leaf-lookers’ primer

How did it get to be October already? Oh well, it’s here and the deep red sourwoods shinning from the…
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Mud, Cowbells, and Beer: The Cyclocross Passions
 

Mud, Cowbells, and Beer: The Cyclocross Passions

For a good part of the past decade I have spent a lot of time riding and racing my bike.…
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Western icon with ties to Western NC
 

Western icon with ties to Western NC

Acclaimed storyteller and actor Lee Stetson will bring his one-man show on John Muir to Western North Carolina in October.…
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Hike, bike, paddle, fish, climb: OutdoorAthlon coming to Franklin has it all
 

Hike, bike, paddle, fish, climb: OutdoorAthlon coming to Franklin has it all

Joe and Dawn Johnson of Atlanta might be making another trip to the mountains next weekend after learning about the…
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Hope is a thing with wheels
 

Hope is a thing with wheels

Avid birder and burgeoning cyclist Lena Gallitano has come up with an ambitious plan to combine two of her passions.…
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Grass as a water filter: HCC students research best kinds to use in water gardens
 

Grass as a water filter: HCC students research best kinds to use in water gardens

Haywood Community College students are learning best management practices to reduce stormwater runoff by using the campus itself as laboratory,…
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There’s still time
 

There’s still time

Migration is at full tilt across the region right now. In the passerine (songbird) department thrushes, grosbeaks and tanagers are…
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One bag at a time: Students free Richland Creek from a tangle of trash
 

One bag at a time: Students free Richland Creek from a tangle of trash

When droves of Haywood Community College wildlife and forestry students scrambled down the banks of Richland Creek last weekend with…
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A few hours on top
 

A few hours on top

Yesterday’s (9/11) wonderful late summer weather — mostly clear mid 70s — enticed my family up to Black Balsam for…
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Every breath sings mountains
 

Every breath sings mountains

Friday, Sept. 23, is the autumn solstice. The solstice is about balance and harmony — the day and night are…
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Cowee Mound site of bird-monitoring work
 

Cowee Mound site of bird-monitoring work

Cherokee students and teachers have undertaken the first part of a long-term monitoring project of birds at the Cowee Mound…
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Feathered hurricane hunter
 

Feathered hurricane hunter

On Aug. 24 Chinquapin soared into the dangerous northeast quadrant of then category 3 Hurricane Irene. The Lockheed Martin C-130…
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Keeping the well full: WCU researchers probe fractured rock aquifers in the mountains
 

Keeping the well full: WCU researchers probe fractured rock aquifers in the mountains

A maze of pores and rock fractures in the Appalachian Mountains make it one of the most complex hydrological systems…
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Testifying
 

Testifying

I just wanted to shout an amen to brother George Ellison’s Aug. 10 Back Then column, “Late summer is an…
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A great race makes a comeback
 

A great race makes a comeback

There aren’t too many road races in Western North Carolina with the storied history of the Maggie Valley Moonlight Race,…
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Rankin Bottoms
 

Rankin Bottoms

I can always count on Rankin Bottoms Wildlife Refuge when I need a Loosiana Delta fix. This musky backwater with…
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Going the distance: Bike riders fuel up right for Blue Ridge Breakaway
 

Going the distance: Bike riders fuel up right for Blue Ridge Breakaway

If you’re going to put on and sponsor what has quickly evolved into one of the region’s most popular road-bike…
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Moonshadow, moonshadow
 

Moonshadow, moonshadow

I was all set to write about the annual summer fireworks displayed every August on that really big screen above…
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Stand-off over the Chattooga nears finale
 

Stand-off over the Chattooga nears finale

Paddlers are ever-so-slightly winning a tug-of-war over the Upper Chattooga River, a Wild and Scenic River that plunges off the…
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OK, this polar bear walks into a Scottish bar…
 

OK, this polar bear walks into a Scottish bar…

That’s probably not the exact scenario but a recent article in Current Biology claims that most, if not all, of…
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Feeling dumb – go take a hike
 

Feeling dumb – go take a hike

A recently published study in Proceedings, an online medical journal of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that regular aerobic…
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Old growth’s last stand: Joyce Kilmer Forest marks 75th anniversary
 

Old growth’s last stand: Joyce Kilmer Forest marks 75th anniversary

That the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in Graham County isn’t what it once was is true — the large hemlocks…
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Man vs. nature
 

Man vs. nature

Unless you are of a philosophical bent, you might want to skip this last installment of the spotted owl trilogy.…
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Twenty years and counting: Tracking the health of the Little Tennessee
 

Twenty years and counting: Tracking the health of the Little Tennessee

For two decades, the Little Tennessee Watershed Association in Franklin has been monitoring the health of the river’s water basin…
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More owl pellets
 

More owl pellets

I mentioned in last week’s Naturalist’s Corner that I found the decision by U.S. Fish & Wildlife to kill barred…
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Support local farmers, local good-deeds conservation group through popular gala
 

Support local farmers, local good-deeds conservation group through popular gala

It’s a busy day at the farmers market, and William Shelton is red-faced and sweaty as he hands out boxes…
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Good owl – bad owl
 

Good owl – bad owl

The Migratory Bird Act makes it illegal to kill barred owls, Strix varia. It is a crime that is punishable…
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Program marries old skills with new needs
 

Program marries old skills with new needs

Scotty Bowman always knew he wanted to work outdoors, but he couldn’t figure out how to live his dream and…
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Mountain Wildlife Daze
 

Mountain Wildlife Daze

The eighth annual Mountain Wildlife Days is scheduled for July 15 and 16 at the Sapphire Valley Community Center. The…
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By air, by land  and by water: General Assembly rolls back environmental protections
 

By air, by land and by water: General Assembly rolls back environmental protections

Back in January, a group of environmental advocates gathered for after-work beers at Craggie Brewery in Asheville where they heard…
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Birding low and high
 

Birding low and high

Too many birders hang their binoculars up and put their field guides back on the shelf after May, fearing the…
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Bad air days common so far this summer
 

Bad air days common so far this summer

Feeling a bit stuffy these days? You’re not alone — stagnating weather patterns and excessive heat, coupled with a heavy…
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