Natural Connection: Statewide 'Year of the Trail' celebration aims to get more people invested in the outdoors
The General Assembly declared 2023 the “Year of The Trail,” in hopes of getting more people to appreciate the state’s outdoor gems. But will it get beyond a marketing effort to a real investment in building and maintaining routes?
HCC opens new Dahlia Ridge Trail System
When A.L. Freedlander issued the 1966 fundraising challenge that birthed the Haywood Community College campus in Clyde, he envisioned a space dedicated not only to learning, but also to natural beauty. Freedlander gave $250,000 in seed money to the project, but with conditions attached: that the campus become “the most beautifully landscaped area in Haywood County” and that its grounds should contain “a good collection of dahlias,” Freedlander’s favorite flower.
Planning for plants: Botanical survey complete for Pinnacle Park
Sylva has received the results of an in-depth botanical survey of Pinnacle Park revealing that the property is a bonanza of biodiversity. Now, the town is partnering with Jackson County and the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority to fund a master plan implementing survey recommendations.
Special project grants awarded by Haywood TDA
Although the indirect benefits of the unprecedented tourism boom that’s enveloped Haywood County over the past few years are readily apparent in the form of increased sales taxes and steady work for hospitality industry professionals, locals are finally about to get something out of it besides soaring housing costs and crowded attractions.
Thinking bigger: After 45 years, MST vision keeps growing
Jutting off from the left side of a typically busy Blue Ridge Parkway pull-off overlooking Mills River, an unassuming dirt path dips into the woods and winds its way east, just out of view of the famed scenic drive.
State budget funds more trails, parks and conservation
Western North Carolina will see a new state park, rail trail and miles of backcountry paths following Gov. Roy Cooper’s Nov. 18 signature on the first state’s first comprehensive budget law since 2018.
A book about the paths most traveled
In my younger years, I used to do a lot of hiking. I would follow footpaths and trails or blaze my own way through the woods or along streams and rivers. While those trailblazing days are over, I get my more physical outdoor thrills vicariously from writers like Robert Moor, who travels all over the planet experiencing different ecosystems and terrain to whet his appetite and intellect.
Planning for adventure: Sylva, Cherokee to partner on trails plan
The highest-elevation mountain bike trail on the East Coast is on the path from concept to reality after the Cherokee Tribal Council and Sylva Board of Commissioners approved an agreement to begin a joint master planning process for the 912 acres of ridgetop land.
Riding high in Jackson: Proposed 35-mile trail system would be East Coast’s highest for bikes
A group of Western North Carolina mountain biking enthusiasts has unveiled plans to bring the highest-elevation mountain bike trail on the East Coast to Jackson County, and after receiving a thumbs up from leaders in Cherokee and Sylva last month they’ll start seeking grants to make it a reality.
Smoothing the way to LeConte: Smokies completes $1.3 million trail project
The few remaining leaves hanging in the trees shine like stained glass as the morning sun rises high enough to outrun the slopes above Trillium Gap Trailhead in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The abnormally warm November day is perfect for hiking, the play of sunlight on autumn leaves and the sweeping views glimpsed through mostly bare branches commanding complete attention. It’s easy to forget the ground beneath your boots, feet moving forward automatically as eyes focus up and around, only occasionally flickering downward.