Gov. Cooper touts tourism at Nantahala Outdoor Center

It’s no secret that Western North Carolina has long been a haven for outdoor recreational enthusiasts, but as that particular segment of North Carolina’s economy continues to expand, Gov. Roy Cooper is doing all he can to foster further growth. 

Telling NOC’s story: Book shows early years of outdoor center through the eyes of staff, leaders

It was 1972, and the world of whitewater paddling was changing. Americans were just about a decade into experimenting with kayaks and it had been only three years since the first whitewater race in the South and the passage of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. That year’s Summer Olympic Games in Munich would be the first to include whitewater paddling among its events.

Amid all of this, Horace Holden, Payson Kennedy and Aurelia Kennedy decided to start a new rafting business in Swain County, to be called the Nantahala Outdoor Center. 

Learn to paddle at NOC youth camp

For 15 years Nantahala Outdoor Center instructors have been teaching kids and teens how to maneuver the waters of Western North Carolina during its summer camp programs. 

Back to the water: Friends, family remember Bryson City Olympian

Adam Clawson of Bryson City spent some of his best days on the water. At 8 years old, he tied a rope around the middle of an old inner tube to fashion a canoe, and with a borrowed paddle, learned to maneuver the rapids of the Nantahala River.

NOC considering Dillsboro location

fr NOCIf discussions between Nantahala Outdoor Center and Jackson County continue to move forward, the outdoor recreation giant could start work this year on an adventure park and outfitter store in the tiny town of Dillsboro. 

Grit and wonder: 2015’s thru-hikers reflect on trail hardships and thrills

out frIf the stack of boxes piling up on the counter of the outfitter store at Nantahala Outdoor Center is any indication, thru-hiker season is coming fast. The parcels of food, reminders of home and creature comforts are welcome diversions from the travel-light lifestyle on the Appalachian Trail, where miles are many and luxuries are few. 

“A lot of people ask about what you’re thinking about [on the trail],” said Youngblood, an 18-year-old hiker whose off-trail name is P.J. Coleman, as he sorted through his just-opened box of mail drop goodies. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’re thinking about food.”

Downward row: NOC guide canoes to world record waterfall run

out frIt wasn’t until Brad McMillan got his canoe on the water that the moment hit him. He’d been preparing for this for a long time, both mentally and physically, and he’d just watched his three friends in kayaks descend the falls before him. But once in the water, he struggled to keep the calm of that preparation. Nothing makes the idea of running a 70-foot-high waterfall more concrete than, well, pushing off to run a 70-foot-high waterfall. 

NOC nears finish line in preparing for kayaking worlds

out frSitting at a picnic table alongside the Nantahala River, Charles Conner watches the fast moving water. It’s may be a peaceful sunny morning at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, but it’s the calm before the storm.

“Right now, we’re really excited but anxious because there’s so much left to do,” he said. 

‘Jono’ Bryant blends his taste for adventure and medical skills toward a greater good

coverIt was a rather strange place to have a life-changing epiphany, but there he was, on the set of a British reality TV show in 2007, deep in the bowels of the Borneo jungles, when Jonathon Bryant found a purpose in life. 

Set in some of the most remote jungles on the planet, “Adrenaline Junkie” was shooting its third series. Starring Jack Osbourne, son of the famous rocker Ozzy, and five tag-alongs, the show took viewers through the primitive Pacific island, encountering wild boar, bloodsucking leeches and the secluded people of the Penan, exotically adorned with drooping ear lobes, weighted earrings and body tattoos.

Leap of faith by NOC bus driver saves paddler from watery death

fr rescueWhen Rob Kelly climbed behind the wheel of a bus two Saturdays ago for a relatively routine assignment shuttling paddlers up and down the Nantahala River, little did he know he would soon be face to face with death and hold a fellow kayaker’s life in his hands.

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