Planning for adventure: Sylva, Cherokee to partner on trails plan

The highest-elevation mountain bike trail on the East Coast is on the path from concept to reality after the Cherokee Tribal Council and Sylva Board of Commissioners approved an agreement to begin a joint master planning process for the 912 acres of ridgetop land.

Forest therapy trail approved for Sylva

Sylva may soon be home to the first certified forest therapy trail in North Carolina following the town board’s unanimous vote to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Mark Ellison, a certified nature and forest therapy guide who lives in Jackson County. 

Sylva board approves agreement with Pinnacle Park Foundation

The Sylva Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with the Pinnacle Park Foundation during its June 24 meeting aimed at moving along key conservation and recreation projects on the town-owned forest. 

Sylva discusses Pinnacle’s future

In February, Sylva’s town board gave its enthusiastic support to a plan that would bring 35 miles of multi-use trail to 2,000 acres of forest owned by the town and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. But during their most recent meeting , members heard from a biologist who urged them to slow down before approving any construction. 

Riding high in Jackson: Proposed 35-mile trail system would be East Coast’s highest for bikes

A group of Western North Carolina mountain biking enthusiasts has unveiled plans to bring the highest-elevation mountain bike trail on the East Coast to Jackson County, and after receiving a thumbs up from leaders in Cherokee and Sylva last month they’ll start seeking grants to make it a reality. 

Below the Pinnacle: Project seeks to protect 250 acres below Pinnacle Rock

The 3.5-mile hike to the top of Pinnacle Rock is a heart-pumping one, the old logging roads that now serve as hiking trails climbing 2,200 feet before leaving the hiker breathless before a sweeping aerial view of the Town of Sylva, cradled on all sides by forested mountain slopes.

Tribe votes for Plott Balsam conservation

An effort to conserve 912 acres along the Plott Balsam ridge in Jackson County cleared the final hurdle of a five-year-long race last week when the Cherokee Tribal Council narrowly voted to contribute $1 million to the project. 

Plott Balsam conservation project gets funding

A plan to conserve more than 900 acres of high-elevation terrain in Jackson County will move forward after the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board voted last week to award $1.5 million toward its protection. 

A mile-high view: State-level squabble stalls Jackson County conservation project

To call the view stretching out below the 5,462-foot bald “spectacular,” “impressive” or even “jaw-dropping” would be an understatement. 

It was as clear a day as had been spotted in the mountains this rainy year, skies blue and cloudless ahead of the slowly moving remains of Hurricane Florence. The sun shone on Cherokee to the west, Bryson City visible just a couple folds of land beyond it and the Nantahala Mountains rimming the horizon south and west of the small towns. 

A sound decision and a wise investment

Town and counties never have enough money to provide all the services and amenities that their citizens — in a perfect world — would like. That’s an unrealistic expectation, so when local leaders do make smart investments that are somewhat unconventional, we think it’s worth noting.

The decision by the Sylva Town Board and the Jackson County commissioners to spend $250,000 each to conserve an additional 441 acres adjacent to Pinnacle Park is one of those admirable and wise expenditures. 

Page 1 of 3
Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.