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Wednesday, 27 July 2016 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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Catch a love for whitewater

Newbie and national-level youth paddlers alike will find challenge and fun at the 2016 Whitewater Junior Olympics on the Nantahala River July 29-31. 

The event, hosted by the Nantahala Racing Club, features slalom, downriver and freestyle competitions as well as just-for-fun events such as duckie-cross, yard games and free paddling on stand up paddleboards. A packed schedule includes races, games, music and classes throughout the three days. 

$45 and open to ages 18 and under. Register by July 27 at or from 10-11 a.m. on any of the event days, when a $20 late fee will apply.


Whitewater to roar from Glenville

A whitewater release at Glenville Dam in Jackson County will make for roaring water at High Falls — located along N.C. 107 — on Saturday, July 30. 

Experienced kayakers will launch at the base for a wild ride down the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River, making for a good show. But hikers and anglers should take the release into account when planning outings that day. 

The upper reaches of the Tuck don’t usually have enough water for whitewater runs except following major rains, but Duke Energy’s agreement for the federal permits required to run its hydropower dams dictates that it periodically release water from dams on the upper Tuck and upper Nantahala for paddlers to enjoy. 


Become a nature detective

Meet live animals and learn how to uncover the clues wildlife leaves behind with a program from the N.C. Museum of Natural Science, “Animal Tracks and Signs,” offered at three different locations next week. 

The program, geared to suit people of all ages, will be held: 

11 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City.

11 a.m. Thursday, July 28, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva. 

7 p.m. Thursday, July 28, at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin.

Museum educator Karen Polk will give the presentation, explaining how to use your senses like a true nature detective to interpret the clues various animal species leave behind.  

Free. Attendance at the Jackson County event is limited to 150 people, with tickets available when the library opens on the morning of the event. 


Become a nature photographer

From the antics of squirrels to the delicate patterns of butterfly wings, a backyard nature photography class at the Balsam Community Center will cover the techniques and skills needed to capture the full spectrum of natural beauty, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30. 

Larry Thompson, a former regional president for the National Audubon Society with 30 years of experience teaching nature courses, will lead the class. Suitable for beginning to intermediate photographers, the course will cover macro photography, ISO settings, creating a photo blind, using props and flash settings. 

$40, with pre-registration required. Space limited. Mail checks to Larry Thompson, P.O. Box 390, Balsam, N.C. 28707.

828.452.5414 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Go on a virtual safari in Highlands

Take a virtual tour of equatorial animals with a photography presentation at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at the Hudson Library in Highlands. 

Husband-and-wife team Ed Boos, a noted still photographer, and Cindy Boos, who specializes in video photography, will share their experiences documenting wildlife in Ecuador and Kenya. Photos include the Andean cock-of-the-rock, blue-footed boobies, wildebeest migration, lions, hyenas and much more. 

Free. A program of the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society.


Pass on a legacy of land ethic

People with a passion for educating the next generation in conservation stewardship and land ethics are the target of an upcoming workshop 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee.

The Leopold Education Project, named for famed conservationist Aldo Leopold, is an innovative, interdisciplinary conservation ethics curriculum targeted to grades six through 12, increasing awareness of the land and how to make responsible choices for the planet. 

$20, with registration requested by July 29 with Robert Hawk, 828.488.3848 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Senior croquet group forms

The Waynesville Parks & Recreation Department is sponsoring the Wednesday Croquet Group from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The group will meet at Vance Street Park across from the shelter.

 This is for senior croquet players ages 55 or older. The skill level involved is beginner and above. The court is marked and equipment will be provided.

Free. 828.456.2030 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Get expert help with your outdoor skills

A weekend of free classes from REI — held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 30-31 at Carrier Park in Asheville — will offer the opportunity to build up outdoor skills. 

REI’s outdoor experts will be around to offer tips on everything from roadside bike repair to water filtration. Free energy snacks from Clif, Nuun and Aloe Gator will be on hand, and a free yoga class will offer calm Sunday morning. 

Free, with registration recommended.


Become an outdoor ace

A weeklong series of hands-on outdoors classes will give youth 8-15 a chance to get comfortable in the woods with a choice of sessions running from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 1-5 or Aug. 8-12 at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education near Brevard. 

With the “Week in the Woods” program, participants will learn about tracking, using a compass, survival skills and wildlife — and they’ll spend a day hiking to the top of John Rock. 

Free, with registration required. The Pisgah Center is adjacent to the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery, near Brevard off of U.S. 276. 

Register at


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