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.
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.
Making tracks: Kids trails program earns recognition after decade of growth
In 2008, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation launched a new program aiming to get kids and families out exploring the high-elevation corridor. Ever since, the Kids in Parks program has mushroomed into a national endeavor with designated trails from San Diego, California, to Nags Head, North Carolina.
Kids in Parks was recognized for its decade of accomplishments when it won the Youth Engagement Award at the SHIFT Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The annual SHIFT Awards recognize individuals, initiatives and organizations that contribute to conservation through human-powered outdoor recreation.
Tribe will hold alcohol vote
What began as an effort to get rid of alcohol permits granted in conjunction with a 2015 state law ended with the Cherokee Tribal Council’s vote to put out a referendum question that will either keep alcohol access the same on the Qualla Boundary — or significantly increase it.
Elk habitat projects underway on Silver Game Lands
When The Conservation Fund began acquiring the land that would eventually become the William H. Silver Game Lands near Maggie Valley, the idea was that parts of the property could be converted into elk-friendly habitat, hopefully alleviating conflicts between the large ungulates and the farmers whose crops they love to munch.
Linked to the landscape: Community envisions Plott Balsams’ future
The doors opened, and the room filled — with hikers, bikers, ecologists, conservation workers, economic development professionals and Cherokee tribal members alike who were intent on making their voices heard during a public form Thursday, Jan. 25, which took input on plans that will impact the future of Waterrock Knob and the Plott Balsams.
Worth protecting: Conservation organizations partner to preserve Parkway lands
Born in the upstairs of the Post Office building his mom ran in Crabtree, Robert Williams, now 87, has always called Haywood County home.
His dad was in the cattle business, and when the family moved to Canton during Williams’ childhood, chores such as feeding cattle, splitting wood and tending the fire kept Williams busy. But his grandfather William Silver’s 1,800-acre tract in the Plott Balsams, while also technically a workplace, provided a respite from the busyness of day-to-day life. Silver and his son — Williams’ uncle — ranged cattle up there, and in the summers Williams would join them.
Tribal members oppose alcohol expansion
About 100 people piled into the exhibit hall at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds the evening of Monday, Nov. 6, to tell Tribal Council members what they think about expanding alcohol sales on the Qualla Boundary. The consensus was clear: the tribal members filling the room wanted a referendum, and they wanted to see alcohol sales stay siloed on casino property.
Four rides for two wheels
Blue Ridge Parkway
The famed scenic motorway winds through the best scenery the mountains have to offer, studded with overlooks to stop and soak in the views. The section of the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Smoky Mountains boasts the highest elevation and most panoramic ridgelines of the 469-mile route.
Tail of the Dragon
No doubt one of the most famous motorcycle routes in the world, the Tail of the Dragon offers 318 curves in 11 miles. There are plenty of great rides on roads off U.S. 129 so its best to plan your trip before you go. A great resource is tailofthedragon.com. The route is ranked No. 3 in the nation by American Motorcyclist magazine.
Long corners and endless vistas make this sky-high road and enthusiasts dream.
Serving up 60 miles of scenic mountain cruising, the Skyway climbs to 5,400 feet from Robbinsville to Tellico Plains, Tenn. But be prepared. There are no restrooms or gas stations along the 36-mile Skyway.
U.S. 441 twists and winds its way from the Oconaluftee River Valley up and over a 5,000 foot divide in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering long-range views, forested tunnels and rushing rivers. The scenic route is studded with points of interest, including the Oconaluftee Visitors Center, Mingus Mill, picnic areas or Clingmans Dome.