Smokies visitation blasts past 14 million

For five of the past seven years, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has posted an all-time high number of annual visits, and 2021 showed the largest leap yet. The park recorded a whopping 14.1 million visits in 2021 — a 12.4 percent increase over the previous record of 12.5 million set in 2019.

Jackson County tourism stronger than ever

Tourism in Jackson County is set to break all records for fiscal year 2021-22, and for the first time ever, county officials will get to choose capital projects to fund with tourism dollars. 

‘More than a road’: New superintendent discusses her vision for the Blue Ridge Parkway

Growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, Tracy Swartout made some of her favorite childhood memories traveling the 469-mile ridge road known as the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since May, she’s been leading it as superintendent

Zoning decisions unearth deeper issues in Maggie Valley

A slew of zoning decisions in the Town of Maggie Valley have revealed deeper concerns about development and the future of Haywood County’s tourist hotspot. 

Haywood County tourism just had its best year in history

After emerging from the early stages of the Coronavirus Pandemic virtually unscathed, Haywood County’s lodging industry rebounded with a year that exceeded all expectations. 

Etched in stone: Cemetery tour regs rub some the wrong way

Waynesville’s historic Green Hill Cemetery has long been a centerpiece of the community, but of late it’s been at the center of controversy. After a botched cleanup prompted a closer look at management of town-owned cemeteries, restrictions on tours were implemented due to complaints of disrespectful behavior.

Highlands looks for balance of progress, preservation

Discussions going on right now in the town of Highlands are the same discussions happening across the nation as the short-term rental industry continues to grow, leaving little room for the local workforce and changing the housing landscape of the community. 

What’s new in downtown Sylva?

Like the rest of the world, Sylva has had to grapple with the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout. However, Sylva not only maintained a healthy, downtown business district, it has added new businesses and new elements to the downtown scene throughout the course of the pandemic. 

Sylva wraps up summer festival season

Planning events during the COVID-19 Pandemic has been no picnic. Just as businesses and agencies make plans for their next festival or fundraiser, the virus takes another unexpected turn. 

Forest therapy trail approved for Sylva

Sylva may soon be home to the first certified forest therapy trail in North Carolina following the town board’s unanimous vote to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Mark Ellison, a certified nature and forest therapy guide who lives in Jackson County. 

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