Forest management planning process moves forward

While a draft forest management plan is still nearly a year away, a group of recently released documents gives a glimpse into how the U.S. Forest Service might ultimately manage the 1.2 million acres in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest over the next 20 years.

The day lily is a beautiful, hardy outlander

How many naturalized plants do you recognize from your vehicle this time of year as you drive around taking care of business? My guess is that it’s more than you might anticipate. By “naturalized,” I mean those that were deliberately introduced as medicinals, edibles, ornamentals, etc., but have “escaped” from cultivated situations and become part of our regional or national flora. Some of these — like kudzu, privet, multiflora rose, etc. — are so invasive we’d just as soon they went on back to where they came from.

Life on the road: Asheville couple trades stability for life of mobile adventure

Ching Fu and Jerud Crandall had professional careers and a comfortable home when they left it all behind in 2015, trading their stable lives in Asheville to roam the continent in an RV. Now they’ve been on the road for more than two years, adventuring through Canada, Oregon, Utah and everywhere in between. 

“Our priorities were being outdoors and doing the outdoor activities we wanted to do and exploring outdoors, and it was a much lower priority for us to have a nice house and a nice car and eat at fancy restaurants and be physically luxurious/comfortable,” Crandall explained. “But the way we were living (in Asheville) we were physically very comfortable, and we carved out time to do the outdoor activities.”

Play me that mountain music

With Memorial Day right around the corner, the fun in the sun of summer in the mountains is here, ready to surprise and delight any and all.

Voices from the trail: A.T. thru-hikers talk about trail names, motivations, and the on-trail experience

My pack was plenty heavy as I set out north on the Appalachian Trial from Carvers Gap, but with my phone on airplane mode and three days in the woods ahead of me, my steps felt light. The sun was warm and bright as a friend and I climbed those initial balds, my dog running joyful circles through the grass. The trail soon gave way to still-bare forests whose floors were alive with wildflowers, the sinking sun casting an enchanting glow over the whole scene.

A fox sighting is always a delight

In the natural world here in the Blue Ridge, there are certain visual images that rivet the attention of human beholders. One such is a timber rattlesnake suddenly encountered in the wild. That sight literally galvanizes the senses. The vibrating rattle-tipped tail sounds its uncanny almost-musical warning … you freeze in mid-step, holding your breath but unaware that you are doing so … the hair on the back of your neck stands on end … the event remains imprinted in your memory bank.

Outdoor adventure park proposed in Dillsboro

Construction on an outdoor adventure park offering everything from rafting to ropes courses could begin in Dillsboro as early as April if the Jackson County Commissioners give final approval to the project following a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 20, at the Jackson County Justice and Administration Building.

Shining Rock receives grant for outdoor classes

Shining Rock Classical Academy will be able to construct an outdoor classroom on its campus this year thanks to a $10,000 grant from Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina — the state’s leading parental school choice advocacy organization.

A growing mark: Outdoor school opens world’s largest wilderness medicine classroom in Cullowhee

Just north of Cullowhee, at the curvy, gravel terminus of Cane Creek Road, sits the building containing the world’s largest wilderness medicine classroom. 

Landmark Learning, a nationally accredited school offering a variety of courses in wilderness medicine, started using the building in May, though there’s still heavy equipment in view as fine-tuning continues. The 8,000-square-foot building contains a 2,400-square-foot classroom, a commercial kitchen, and a student lounge. Up an even steeper hill than the one that leads to the main building is a pair of dorm-style cabins and a terraced camping area, which together can accommodate 36 people.

Resolve to be active in 2017: WNC runs and rides offer ample options for fitness goals

January is universally recognized as the time to make a fresh start, throw away last year’s used-up calendar and dream up a new set of aspirations for the 12 months ahead. And when it comes to New Year’s resolutions aimed at becoming more active in 2017, Western North Carolina offers a dazzling array of options.

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