2001: Elk return to Western North Carolina

“A large herd gathered last week on a remote, historical farmstead maintained by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Cataloochee Valley,” Don Hendershot wrote for The Smoky Mountain News on Feb. 7, 2001. “The herd, however, were bipeds — nearly 900 people were in attendance for the first of three scheduled elk releases.”

Make way for elk (and trout): Haywood, Jackson counties seek designation as state’s elk and trout capitals

If you want to see an elk, the Elk Capital of North Carolina would probably be a good place to look. Pretty soon, that could mean a trip to Haywood County. 

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to promote unique things in our area, our national parks and our beautiful mountains in general,” said Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville. “It’s a way to use really a symbol of North Carolina to promote our region.”

Elk fest coming to Maggie: Event will celebrate elk, wildlife and the outdoors

A new extravaganza will prance into the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds this year — the Smoky Mountain Elk Fest, an event years in the making designed to offer education and celebration of all things elk and of the outdoors in general. 

“It’s actually been talked about for at least four years, and there have been several meetings where all the state agencies and regional agencies have come together and talked about it,” said Lynn Collins, executive director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. “It was just a situation where there wasn’t anybody that would step up and spearhead it.”

Wandering elk dies following car crash: Overall prognosis positive for elk population

A youthful lark ended in tragedy July 1 for a Maggie Valley elk that trekked through the Pisgah National Forest to wind up in Henderson County. 

The young bull’s travels ended when he wandered onto I-26 near Hendersonville, just before 5 a.m. Sunday, July 1. A woman driving a minivan struck the elk, and while nobody in the vehicle was injured, the elk was hurt badly enough that he had to be put down. 

Elk habitat projects underway on Silver Game Lands

When The Conservation Fund began acquiring the land that would eventually become the William H. Silver Game Lands near Maggie Valley, the idea was that parts of the property could be converted into elk-friendly habitat, hopefully alleviating conflicts between the large ungulates and the farmers whose crops they love to munch. 

All’s well that ends with an elk

I had the pleasure of leading a birding trip for Alarka Expeditions on Friday September 29. I had been in the field the previous two weeks and migration seemed to be going strong, so I was expecting a pretty birdy outing. And things started well. We ran into a number of palm warblers almost immediately at our first stop – Kituwah. We also encountered song sparrows, field sparrows, eastern towhee, goldfinches, eastern phoebe and a few of us got brief looks at a magnolia warbler.

Two elk found dead on Jonathan Creek dairy farm

A technician with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission was out for a routine check of an elk fence installed at the Ralph Ross and Sons Dairy Farm on Jan. 31 when he spotted two young bull elk dead on the property.

Elk volunteers snag support

The elk viewing experience in the Cataloochee Valley area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will get a boost thanks to a $3,500 grant that Friends of the Smokies received from the Haywood County Tourism and Development Authority.

No elk allowed: Two-mile fence keeps elk off dairy farm following winter shooting of seven animals

These days, bovines — not elk — are the only cows wandering around the Ross dairy farm in Jonathan Creek.

Growing elk population triggers landowner conflicts, land conservation efforts

Elk may be the most polarizing animal in Western North Carolina right now, but William Carter has kept a closer eye on the issue than most. Carter makes his living off a small mountain farm in the Jonathan Creek area, sharing a property line with the Ross dairy farm — that family’s elk-related struggles have earned them plenty of unwanted time in the local spotlight. 

SEE ALSO: Two-mile fence keeps elk off dairy farm following winter shooting of seven animals

As the elk population has grown, Carter’s found himself wondering what the future holds for his acres of beans, pumpkins and cattle pasture.

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