Big water: Retiring American Whitewater director reflects on 18 years of conservation leadership

Mark Singleton was mingling with Outdoor Industry Association colleagues at a 2004 reception in Washington, D.C., when he heard that American Whitewater  was looking for a new executive director. It was a moment of destiny. Singleton, now retiring after 18 years leading the organization, had an instant gut response to the news.

State budget funds more trails, parks and conservation

Western North Carolina will see a new state park, rail trail and miles of backcountry paths following Gov. Roy Cooper’s Nov. 18 signature on the first state’s first comprehensive budget law since 2018.

Budgeting for conservation: State budget amplifies funding for trails, parks and conservation

Western North Carolina will see a new state park, rail trail efforts and miles of backcountry paths following Gov. Roy Cooper’s Nov. 18 signature on the first state’s first comprehensive budget law since 2018. 

Transformation on trail: Volunteers converge to secure Max Patch’s future

On a sunny Saturday in September, tall grasses wave a fringe atop Max Patch, framing mountain layers fading from ripened green to hazy blue. Blooming heads of goldenrod and aster dot the slope, a brisk wind whisking autumn chill into the sun-warmed air. Slope and shrubbery combine to create pockets of privacy on the open bald, fostering an illusion of wilderness that’s broken only when the white-blazed trail brings two travelers together.

It’s a wholly different scene than the one that sprawled across the mountaintop just one year ago, when Asheville artist Mike Wurman flew his drone over the bald to capture what became a viral image of 130 tents blanketing a trampled-down Max Patch.

Judaculla property protected

Mainspring Conservation Trust recently closed on an in-holding of the Nantahala National Forest Service in the Caney Fork Valley of Jackson County.

‘Let’s protect it’: For retiring Mountain Wildlife Days director, wildlife outreach is a calling

With his 90th birthday now approaching, John Edwards is retiring from his two-decade-long role organizing one of the region’s largest annual celebrations of mountain wildlife — but he hopes a successor will pick up the mantle. 

Trump administration criticized for implementation of landmark conservation law

Environmental groups are decrying the Trump Administration’s execution of the Great American Outdoors Act and the Dingell Act, which permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The acts were hailed as major bipartisan victories providing sorely needed funding for maintenance and conservation of public lands, with Trump signing both into law.

Keeping the doorstep green: Canton likely to receive 448 acres for outdoor rec

If all goes as planned, Canton will soon have a 448-acre park for hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor recreation activities just a mile from town limits. The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy hopes to close on the property, known as the Chestnut Mountain Tract and currently owned by Canton Motorsports LLC, within the next couple months. 

Grant advances conservation efforts for Canton Motorsports tract

Efforts to conserve the 488-acre property currently owned by Canton Motorsports got a boost when the N.C. Department of Justice awarded the project a $150,000 Environmental Enhancement Grant.

Mainspring’s story begins new chapter

Sharon Taylor was in her mid-30s when she left her office gig to return to school, hoping to pursue a career that would allow her to spend more time outdoors and less time handling fluorescent-lit paperwork.

After graduating from Western Carolina University with a degree in natural resources management, Taylor found a job at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Macon County, where she worked as a research technician and enjoyed the full menu of retirement and health benefits to which she was entitled as an employee of the University of Georgia. Things were going well, and if she gave UGA the next 20 years, they’d give her a comfortable retirement. 

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