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.

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.

Mapping the Tuck: ‘Blue’ Trails project kicks off along the Tuckasegee River

Western North Carolina is rife with trails and maps to facilitate exploration of the mountain landscape, but an effort is underway to add a new kind of trail to the mix — a blue trail.  

“A hiking trail is a great way to help people explore and discover and connect to the land. A blue trail is a way to allow people to discover and explore and connect to rivers,” explained Mandi Carringer, river conservation associate for American Rivers. 

Greenway use rising in Jackson County

The greenway in Jackson County has now been fully open for a month, and use is skyrocketing on the one-mile path along the Tuckasegee River in Cullowhee. From May to July, monthly use more than doubled to 5,485 visitors — that figure is more than five times the 1,034 people who used the greenway in November 2015, the first month data was taken.

NOC considering Dillsboro location

fr NOCIf discussions between Nantahala Outdoor Center and Jackson County continue to move forward, the outdoor recreation giant could start work this year on an adventure park and outfitter store in the tiny town of Dillsboro. 

Trash being tossed on Tuckasegee River bank

fr tucktrashBarbara Robinson of Bryson City drives by the Tuckasegee River on a daily basis, but lately the peaceful view of the river has been interrupted by overflowing trash piling up on the riverbank.

Recreation node added along the Tuck, this time down Whittier’s way

Jackson County will soon get a new park at Barkers Creek.

County commissioners approved a lease this week for a roughly 3-acre riverside site owned by Duke Energy for the bargain rate of $10 a year. It adds to a growing network of boat launched, put-ins, and recreation parks dotting the length of the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County.

Greenway starts taking shape in Jackson

Construction could start in September on a paved 1.2-mile section of greenway along the Tucksegee River in Cullowhee.

Duke ready to officially turn Dillsboro Dam site over to local officials

fr tuckrestorationA decade-long saga in deciding the fate of Duke Energy’s former dam near Dillsboro is drawing to a close as the company prepares to hand the site and surrounding land over to local officials.

Cullowhee hitches its college-town dreams to the Tuckasegee River

fr riverparkLackluster at best and run-down at worst, it’s no question the has-been commercial district on Western Carolina University’s doorstep needs a life line.

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.