Finding a better way: Cullowheegee Farms Natural Soaps & Crafts

About three years ago, Sarah and Eric Rehmann uprooted their lives in Raleigh and headed for Western North Carolina. 

River park efforts revived in Cullowhee

Work could begin on a long-awaited river park in Cullowhee sooner rather than later following completion of an N.C. Department of Transportation bridge project in the Old Cullowhee area. 

“We got the new maps from the DOT of where the road configuration was, and DOT had to acquire a lot of property to swing that road around,” said Anna Fariello, a longtime member of the community nonprofit Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor, or CuRvE. “I didn’t realize how much land they actually took. We’re looking at these maps, and I was blown away.”

Study shows benefits of building river park in Bryson City

The Tuckasegee River Alliance is looking at possible ways to increase access to the Tuckasegee River as it runs right through downtown Bryson City. 

The sediment spotter: Fifth-grade science project spurs real-world change

While elementary, junior high and high school students from across the region offered a plethora of good ideas during last month’s 2018 Region 8 Western Regional Science and Engineering Fair at Western Carolina University, one entry in particular caught the eye of judges and university officials alike. 

Liam Tormey, a fifth-grader at Cullowhee Valley School, conducted a study of Tuckasegee River water quality at test sites above and below the Cullowhee Dam, which is owned by WCU — and he found that during recent rainstorms sediment coming from university property at a source point below the dam increased the concentration to levels unacceptable for trout habitat. 

Agreement axed for Dillsboro river park

Eleven months ago, the Jackson County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve development of a river park on county-owned land along the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro. 

Plotting Cullowhee Dam’s future: Organizations weigh environmental and financial costs of repair and removal

Nearly a century old, the aging Cullowhee Dam is at a crossroads — with risk of failure increasing, Western Carolina University must decide whether to renovate the existing structure or remove it completely.

The dam hasn’t been used for power generation since the 1960s, but it creates a reservoir of still water that supplies WCU and the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority. However, some would like to see the dam disappear, offering increased opportunity for paddlers and allowing fish and other aquatic life to travel freely through a more natural, higher-quality river.

Dillsboro river park gets unanimous approval

A new river park in Dillsboro is no longer just a proposal after the Jackson County Commissioners voted unanimously April 3 to approve an economic development deal between the county and Western North Carolina Outdoor Development, a company owned by Jackson County businessman Kelly Custer.

Dillsboro river park proposal draws a crowd

A proposed river park development in Dillsboro drew a crowd of roughly 75 people to a public hearing March 20, with 20 people delivering comment on the issue and prompting the Jackson County Commissioners to postpone a final decision until they could fully research all the questions that were asked.

Grants could offset cost of river park project

Jackson County is hoping that grants will offset the $847,000 cost of extending water and sewer connections to a piece of land being eyed for a new outdoor adventure park in Dillsboro, and last week commissioners gave the county the go-ahead to apply for just such a grant — $50,000 from the N.C. Department of Commerce.

River park would boost visitation, tax revenues

Kelly Custer has been a lifelong lover of the outdoors, from playing sports as a kid to mountaineering adventures in far-flung regions of Bolivia and Peru as an adult. Now, the Jackson County businessman is hoping to get others exploring Western North Carolina’s outdoor opportunities — specifically, those afforded by the stretch of the Tuckasegee River flowing through Dillsboro. 

Last year, Custer formed the company Western North Carolina Outdoor Development with an eye to bid on a piece of property that’s been publicly owned since 2013, when Duke Energy turned it over to Dillsboro following removal of the Dillsboro Dam. Dillsboro sold it to Jackson County for $350,000 in 2014, and ever since the county’s been looking for a way to turn the undeveloped tract into a win for economic development.

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