Art of the invite: Brevard business aims to increase Black participation outdoors

Earl B. Hunter Jr. describes his younger self as a “Good Times kid,” growing up on free lunch and government assistance in Columbia, South Carolina. He wasn’t great at school — he didn’t even learn to read fluently until he was a teenager — but he had a quality about him. And he had a mentor. 

‘A trail for everybody’: YouTuber raises funds for Canton bike park

The first trails at Canton’s Chestnut Mountain Park will be ready to ride before the leaves drop this fall thanks to an overwhelmingly successful fundraising effort from Asheville YouTuber Seth Alvo. 

Tribe to explore indoor sports facility

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is moving toward construction of an indoor baseball and softball facility following a Feb. 4 vote from Tribal Council. 

Dog park coming to Cashiers

Cashiers will get a dog park following the Jackson County Commissioners’ unanimous vote Jan. 26 to approve a contract with Vision Cashiers allowing the park to be built between the two baseball fields on the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department Complex off Frank Allen Road. 

Timeline announced for indoor pool project

After Jackson County voters narrowly approved a Nov. 4 referendum to bring an indoor pool to Cullowhee, the lanes are expected to welcome their first swimmers by Christmas 2023. 

Waynesville Parks and Rec receive national accreditation

The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department recently earned national accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies. 

Moment to shine: Outdoor economy conference focuses on widening the base

In the wake of COVID-19, 2020 has been a banner year for the outdoor recreation economy, and throughout the month of October the third annual Outdoor Economy Conference focused its lens on making the most of this moment. 

“What we have to do as an industry, and as an outdoor economy, as a region, is to not lose that — don’t miss that opportunity,” said conference organizer Noah Wilson, director of sector development for Mountain BizWorks. “That was that was definitely an intentional theme of the conference.”

Veteran retreat center opens in Macon

Jessica Merritt is counting down the days until her husband returns home from his final days of service in the U.S. Navy. After more than 20 years in the military and nine deployments, Cory Merritt will return home to his family for good in about two weeks, and this time he’ll return to their new home in Western North Carolina. 

Smokies seeks solutions to overcrowding

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gotten a lot busier since its creation in 1931. In 1932, its first full year of existence, the park received only 300,000 visitors — these days, annual visitation is more than 40 times that figure, coming in at 12.5 million last year. 

Pandemic multiplies demand, complicates operations for outdoor businesses

As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues, people worldwide are rediscovering the outdoors in a big way — leading to record visitation at public lands in Western North Carolina and offering a marked boost to outdoor-oriented businesses and communities even as the nationwide economy continues to suffer. However, even this successful sector has met its share of challenges related to labor market shortages, supply chain disruptions and the sheer challenge of making up for revenue lost during full-on closures this spring.

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