Parkway steps up COVID-19 closures

The Blue Ridge Parkway has announced additional closures as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

National parks, forests respond to COVID-19

Operations have shifted on public lands in Western North Carolina due to the coronavirus pandemic.

National parks battle invasion

The National Park Service is embarking on a system-wide effort to crack down on invasive animal species following the conclusion of a three-year research endeavor conducted by a panel of experts in fields ranging from park management to emerging technology. 

The Park Service reached out to members of the group in 2016, asking them to review the agency’s existing approach to invasive animal management and to look at the results of data collected from park units across the country. Combining panel members’ expert knowledge with data results and information gleaned from questions to park staff, the group produced an internal report to the Park Service as well as a scientific paper published this month in the journal “Biological Invasions.”

Wozniak no longer Pisgah District Ranger

After filling the position for nearly a year and a half without the ability to perform law enforcement duties, Greg Wozniak is gone from his position as Pisgah District Ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Conserving for clean water: Project protects 710 acres in Maggie, with 1,350 more to come

Conservation leaders from across the state and nation gathered in Maggie Valley earlier this month to dedicate a land protection project that’s been in the works for a decade and a half — but is in many ways just beginning. 

The Conservation Fund now owns tracts of land totaling 710 acres in Maggie Valley’s Campbell Creek and Jonathan Creek watersheds, with work underway to transfer that property to the Maggie Valley Sanitary District for permanent conservation. Another 1,350 acres are in the pipeline for protection, with property owners having agreed to sell it once the money is there to buy it. 

Board of Inquiry recommends removing ranger’s commission

A Blue Ridge Parkway law enforcement supervisor who admitted to using illegal substances still retains his position as head ranger of the Parkway’s largest district, despite a March Board of Inquiry recommendation that his law enforcement commission be permanently revoked, according to records The Smoky Mountain News obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act. 

Investigation finds ranger used illegal drugs

An investigation into a June 2018 incident involving the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Pisgah District Ranger Greg Wozniak concluded that Wozniak violated both Tennessee drug laws and federal rules found in the U.S. Department of Interior Personnel Bulletin and in a 1986 executive order mandating a drug-free federal workplace. 

Floral delight: Native plants expert leads Parkway tour in search of rare species

“When we get out, we’re going to walk across the street and I’m going to show you the most sacred spot,” Larry Mellichamp said as he began his botanical tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

The spot in question wasn’t a gravesite or a cultural landmark or even one of the many breathtaking overlooks spread along the Parkway’s 469-foot length. Rather, it was a seemingly dead end — a face of rock bordering the north side of the road, slick with water seeping from within, partly shrouded by flourishing vegetation. 

Kids in Parks logs one million TRACK Trails adventures

In its mission to engage children with the outdoors, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program is marking a powerful milestone; kids and families have completed one million adventures through the program’s TRACK Trails. This figure represents more than one million miles hiked, biked or paddled, and more than 500,000 hours spent outside.

Parkway district ranger barred from law enforcement duties

Nine months after a traffic accident that resulted in a pair of drug possession charges for a lead law enforcement supervisor with the Blue Ridge Parkway, the officer is still barred from performing law enforcement duties — despite the charges being dismissed and expunged from the record.

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.