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. 

Ticket, please: Smokies to explore paid parking, shuttle service as crowd control tools

As visitor use in the already-crowded  Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues to climb, for the first time ever the park will try out paid trailhead reservations as a potential answer to overcrowding. 

Let’s talk about all the visitors

In the middle of the tourism season, is there any way to politely state the obvious: this region is being overrun by visitors.

Smokies, Parkway spared drop in park visitor spending

Visitor spending in national park communities during 2020 was just over two-thirds the amount spent in 2019, but parks in Western North Carolina were spared that drop, according to a new report from the National Park Service. Together, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway accounted for more than 10% of visits to national park units in 2020. 

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