National outdoor economy groups to meet in Cherokee

 The fifth annual Outdoor Economy Conference in Cherokee will serve as the backdrop to a convening of the Confluence of States and the State Outdoor Business Alliance Network.

What's going on this weekend?

What's going on this weekend?

Mayapple of my eye

I love coming across a large patch of mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) while walking in the woods in the spring. They are beautiful in all stages of growth. Early on, when they first emerge from the soil, they look like turtles poking their heads up. Fully open they look tiny umbrellas at a fancy beach. And as they start to fade, they turn a beautiful shade of yellow. 

Connect to the spirit of the Smokies

The University of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain Field School has announced a new slate of programs for 2023, offering adults who love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a chance for deeper connection to this landscape.

One thousand peonies

Each May, Crabtree couple invites the public to drink in field of blooms 

Ricardo Fernandez Battini and his wife Suzanne Fernandez spent a stormy night in September 2004 holed up in their home along the Pigeon River in Crabtree, listening. Hurricane Ivan was dumping buckets on soil already saturated from Hurricane Frances’ arrival the week before, and the river was angry. 

Up Moses Creek

Snapper, Part I 

Snapping turtles have been on my mind this spring after one showed up in our pond. Its arrival was not unexpected; it comes every spring — and with increasing presence. When Becky and I first saw the turtle years ago, it would have fit in the palm of my hand. We named it “Snappie” and hoped the little turtle would stay for a while — which turned out to be all summer. But as the turtle kept returning each spring, the cute-sounding “Snappie” no longer fit the formidable-looking reptile now living in our pond. What a long, saw-toothed tail it had grown! What a hooked beak on the end of its snout! So, we began to call it “Snapper.”  

Snorkeling the mountains: New Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail will show off WNC’s vibrant streams

For most people, the word “snorkeling” conjures images of blue Caribbean waters, pink coral reefs and a rainbow of tropical fish. But witnessing a world of aquatic beauty doesn’t require a flight to the Florida Keys.

A year in outdoors

From new parks to big birthdays to policy overhauls, 2022 has been a year of change and major milestones for the outdoors in Western North Carolina. Here’s my best stab at outlining some of the biggest news to enter the region’s outdoor world this year.

Count for Christmas: In 123rd year, annual bird count yields critical conservation data

As Christmas 1900 approached, ornithologist Frank Chapman hatched an idea. 

Recipe for adventure: WNC communities embark on outdoor 
economy initiative

More than 130 people from 25 Western North Carolina counties met in Boone last month to talk about how best to build the region’s outdoor economy — and over the next two years, that conversation will continue. Building Outdoor Communities, a program from Made By Mountains, aims to help individual communities foster collaboration and expertise to meet their outdoor economy goals.  

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