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Wednesday, 23 October 2013 13:43

A climate for change

Last week we talked a little about how mountains can influence climate. Lenticular clouds are often created when warm air masses bump into mountains. Mountains can create rain shadows — point in case, Asheville, surrounded by temperate rain forests, is…
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 13:42

Who protects the bear?

Every fall, folks flock to Rhodes Big View between Highlands and Cashiers to photograph the bear shadow that appears in the Chattooga River headwaters. Photographers set up their cameras and wait for the shadow to creep over the mountains. 
By Colby Dunn • SMN Correspondent What makes the stem of one pumpkin better than another for chunkin’? Why is one gourd so tiny, yet its neighbor so plump? What tints their hues from muted to mottled to blinding fluorescence? And…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:18

Agency honors safety and conservation efforts

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation recently honored those who have contributed to the conservation and safety of the state’s natural resources. The awards were given at the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet. The winners were:  • Wildlife Enforcement Officer of…
Platinum or china may be the standard 20th anniversary gift, but Friends of the Smokies, a non-profit organization that supports the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is hoping for a little something in green to celebrate its 20th year. For…
Buy Haywood has gone high tech to help promote the county’s abundance of locally grown produce, flowers and food items, and handcrafted products. A YouTube video at www.youtube.com/use/BuyHaywoodProject gives viewers a sample of the various products they can buy that…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:16

Cherokee run raises $22,000

More than $22,000 was raised for the Madison Hornbuckle Children’s Cancer Foundation at the 2nd annual Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon & 5K in Cherokee recently. Jill Konkol of Winston-Salem (18:50) and Phil Latter of Bryson City (15:38) were the winners…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:15

Duke funds streamside enhancement projects

Duke Energy will spend more than $100,000 on seven streamside habitat projects in the watersheds and tailwaters of its Nantahala area hydroelectric projects. Duke’s Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund grant of $109,057 plus matching and in-kind funds for the projects total…
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:14

Glenville getting handicap accessible upgrades

People with physical disabilities will have better access to Lake Glenville, thanks to upgrades to some of the lake’s amenities.  
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:11

Conservancy buys 250 acres and a peak

Blackrock Mountain summit, a 5,700 foot peak that overlooks the Blue Ridge Parkway, has been purchased by the Southern Applachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC).
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:10

Changing of the guard

I believe the annual treks into the Town of Waynesville’s watershed began back in 2007. They have provided a unique opportunity for interested parties to get a glimpse of the property, learn a little about the history of the watershed,…
The Highlands Biological Station (HBS) is trying to raise money to buy furnishings for its newly renovated Reinke Library and Seminar Room. “We came to the end of our funding before we could purchase the furnishings,” said Sonya Carpenter, director…
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:59

Parkway to have its own weather forecasting site

Thanks to a new partnership, travelers along the Blue Ridge Parkway can access real time current road and weather conditions from one end of the historic roadway to the other, using BRPweather.com and BRPwebcams.org, newly installed weather stations and webcams. 
Renowned hiking expert and author Danny Bernstein will lead the next Friends of the Smokies Classic Hike on Tuesday, Nov. 19, along Lakeshore Trail at Fontana Lake. 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:55

Park plans controlled burns in Cades Cove

Smoke could be heavy in the Cades Cove area this month due to a series of controlled burns in the area by fire officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:53

Laissez les bons temp rouler

Traveling from east to west, the Mississippi River Bridge is a time portal for me.  I drive for hours squarely focused on the here and now, then I reach the bridge and in a breath I’m suspended above the Big…
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 02:53

All in the family — Sunburst Trout Farm

A crisp wind blows through Haywood County. Gazing upward, dark clouds slowly take over the sky while a few ominous raindrops are felt. For many, it may seem to be the official death knell to summer. But for Sally Eason,…
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 13:42

Audobon Society, here I come

Maybe someone heard my plea. For the last two weekends, the rain, for the most part, has stayed away, giving us at least one nice day without a drop to enjoy some time outdoors. And after having my first attempt…
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

Going toe to toe with Mother Nature

It is said that humans are fickle creatures, and if that is true, then the weather must be at least part human. For as of late, it never seems to cooperate.
Ever since I first watched Brad Pitt fly fishing in the film “The River Runs Through It,” I knew I wanted to be on any river that he was on. Unfortunately, I am not sure how much fly fishing he…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:47

Beginners luck, or magic touch?

Fire is a life source. Without fire or some other form of heat, it’s nearly, if not impossible, to survive in the wilderness — making it arguably the most important outdoor skill.
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 19:59

The reporter that could

Ahhhh. That is what was my first thought when the rock slipped from under my foot.
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:22

I once was lost, but now I’m found

The directions said turn left, so naturally I turned right. I was still an hour drive from Sugarland Visitors Center in Tennessee — where I planned to take an introductory orienteering class — when I remembered that on occasion, I…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:21

Follow me, into the wild

The last time I went camping I was 10 or 11. I was in my grandparents’ backyard, snug in my sleeping bag between my older sister and cousin Jake. I laid awake nervous about a ravenous bear attacking the tent,…
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:51

Macon Commissioners honored for their vision

The Macon County Commissioners received the 2013 Robert and Virginia Ramsey Brunner Land Conservationist of the Year Award during LTLT’s annual Fall Celebration Nov. 2 at the Cowee School in Franklin. The award recognizes the Macon County Commissioners’ essential role…
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:50

Improved Green Growth Toolbox available

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has upgraded its Green Growth Toolbox to better equip communities to deal with wildlife and natural resource conservation in developing areas. In addition to a handbook, a GIS data package and a website, the…
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:46

Landowners protect 29 acres on Pigeon River

Rural preservation leaders in the Bethel community of Haywood County have announced the permanent protection of 29 acres through two separate conservation easements. 
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:44

Park moves toward winter schedule

You know winter is just around the corner when Great Smoky Mountains National Park starts shutting down. Here is a list of the Park’s closures and change in hours: 
Dr. Randall Provost walked the walk—or more accurately ran the run—when he competed in the Mountain Jug Run for Research, a 175-mile relay from Cullowhee to Boone, last month to raise money for athletic training research and scholarships.
So, what does one do when a sedated bear wakes up in the back seat of a helicopter mid-flight or in your office while you’re on the phone or in your car while you’re driving down the highway?
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:41

Parkway road closure north of Asheville

A section of Blue Ridge Parkway from Milepost 376 at Ox Creek Road to Milepost 355, near the entrance to Mount Mitchell State Park, will close Nov. 12 to allow workers to stabilize a failed slope just north of Tanbark…
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:38

Hermit in the house

I can be standing five feet from my girls and say something simple like, “wash your hands,” “brush your teeth” or “clean your room,” and not even an eyebrow will twitch in acknowledgement. But put those same girls down in…
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:36

Plans unfold for fly fishing museum

By Colby Dunn • Correspondent  Each year, an estimated 50,000 people visit Cherokee looking to hit it big, but instead of casting lots at Harrah’s, they’re casting lines into the miles of stocked and protected streams that flow through the Qualla…
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Winds prevent containment of Linville Gorge fire

Light rainfall over the weekend wasn’t enough to slow the Table Rock fire in Linville Gorge nor will this week’s expected weather help much either, a fire official said Monday. “[The rain] has helped, but a half inch is not…
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Upgrades coming to Graveyard Fields

Portions of the popular Graveyard Fields Loop Trail are closed for upgrades, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The agency expects to complete the work by late December.   The Forest Service will construct a board walk on the east…
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Illustrated guide to Purchase Knob available

Talk about mission creep. What was supposed to be a simple, final project for his Blue Ridge Naturalist certificate of merit turned into a full blown illustrated hiking guide for Haywood County. And so much the better, says Ken Czarnomski,…
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Grants available to help Appalachian Trail

Have an idea for a project that will benefit the Appalachian Trail but have limited funds to make it happen? Apply for an Appalachian Trail Special License Tag Grant through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The deadline is Jan. 10, 2014.
It will likely take awhile for the smoke to clear after the Table Rock Fire near Linville Gorge in the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest either burns out or is suppressed. The fire was first spotted Tuesday, Nov.…
Jake Flannick • SMN Correspondent Michael Wagenseil is settling into his element, arranging displays of ski equipment and clothing as he finishes a flurry of preparations at a new rental shop in Maggie Valley amid the beginning of what is considered…
By Paul Clark • Correspondent Mary McNeil carried her shopping bag around Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market like a kid on Halloween. In went fresh-ground sausage, newly prepared chorizo and a few cuts of meat from animals that spent the summer happily…
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:13

Recycle your cooking oil this Thanksgiving

Hey, all you turkey deep-fryer users. What are your plans this Thanksgiving for all that cooking oil once you have fried the big bird?  Here’s an idea: bring your used cooking oil to one of Blue Ridge Biofuels drop-off bins…
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:13

Waynesville Judo team dominates tournament

The Waynesville Judo team took top honors at the Fall Brawl judo tournament Oct. 5 at the Waynesville Recreation Center by winning the coveted Team Trophy. The Waynesville team competed among nearly 100 contenders from five different states, who attended…
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:12

Forest service seeks camper

U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officials have released a picture of a man they believe may have information about the Linville Gorge wildfire, which is now 100 percent contained after burning nearly 2,600 acres. They are hoping the public can…
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:11

Black Friday has reached the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains Association will hold a “blow-out sale” on select merchandise starting Thanksgiving Day at its Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
More property along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob is now protected, thanks to The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) and a Salisbury couple.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:08

Town has begun thinning white pine

I believe it was in 2010 when the Town of Waynesville signed off on a plan to thin the stands of white pine in the Waynesville Watershed. Today (11/25), Cecil Brooks began doing just that. Brooks said that, weather permitting,…
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:38

Find unique gifts at the farmers market bazaar

The Jackson County Farmers Market will hold its annual Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 and 14 at The Community Table in Sylva.
Western North Carolina residents are asking Duke Energy to rethink its use of fossil fuels in the region.  Community leaders delivered to Duke Energy representatives more than 5,500 petitions from area residents urging the company to move from burning coal…
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:37

Moss Knob shooting range to reopen in 2014

The Moss Knob Shooting Range, located in the Nantahala Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest, will reopen in spring 2014 following improvements to the area, such as a new access road to the shooting range from behind the shooting line and…
College students who spent the past semester doing research at the Highlands Biological Station will present their findings at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, in the seminar room of the Coker Laboratory, 265 N. Sixth St., Highlands.
Western Carolina University’s athletic training major is giving hands-on experience to its students while helping area high school athletic departments, as part of the curriculum.
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:35

Experts taking wildlife education to area schools

Mountain Wildlife Days has created a wildlife education speakers bureau of sorts to share its pool of wildlife experts with area schools and other organizations in the area, a spokesman for the new Mountain Wildlife Outreach said. Mountain Wildlife Outreach…
There’s nothing abnormal about the pair of armchairs in Jim and Baraba Mills’ living room, or about the television — the old tube kind — and wooden entertainment center that they face. Typical, too, is the hodgepodge of DVDs and…
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:33

Hunting season

Orion the Hunter has taken to the late autumn skies. One of the loveliest and most easily recognized constellations will be stalking the heavens until he slides into the daytime sky early next spring. Astronomers believe the Hunter, in his…
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:31

WCU will digitize historic Smokies photos

Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library will produce a new digital collection of 2,000 items focused on the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with support from a $93,000 grant from the North Carolina State Library. “The park certainly has…
A public input meeting that will help shape the future of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 17 in Franklin at the Nantahala Ranger District Office. It is one of several…
National Park Service officials want your input on how to manage the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT).
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:51

Go to college, help a landfill

Nearly 12,000 plastic bottles will have been saved from a landfill when Western Carolina University students graduate this month. What’s the connection? More than 500 of the 700 graduates and numerous participating alumni will be wearing eco-friendly gowns they purchased…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:49

Volunteers continue historical bird count

Thousands of eyes will look skyward this month as volunteer birders, armed with binoculars, participate in the 114th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 14-Jan. 5. Among those scouring the state’s back roads and byways will be members of the…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:49

Winter officially arrives Dec. 21

Those sky watchers at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute are preparing for the winter solstice. Astronomers there say that the sun will be at its most southern point in the sky this year at 12:11 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec.…
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:47

Young runners excel at regional meets

Several young runners from Western North Carolina turned in best times at recent state-wide and southeastern regional cross country events.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:46

Record snowfall

This snowfall is measured in feathers or bodies, not inches. This year is turning out to be a major irruption year for snowy owls in the eastern U.S. and at least four have been reported from the Carolinas. Snowys, Nyctea…
By Colby Dunn • Correspondent  Though winter may have you couped up inside, you can dream of sunnier days in the outdoors with The Smoky Mountain News outdoor holiday gift guide, a rundown of the season’s hottest gifts from the…
Haywood Waterways Association passed out its annual awards this month to water quality heroes. • The Big Creek Award for Partner of the Year went to the Haywood County Environmental Health Department for helping to repair 75 failing septic systems,…
The National Park Service has selected Pedro Ramos to serve as the acting superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 90 days, effective Jan. 12. Ramos has been the superintendent at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida since 2009.
Conservation groups reached a compromise with the U.S. Forest Service over a controversial logging project in the Courthouse Creek area, which is visible to the south of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Devil’s Courthouse.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:42

Slow day at Lake J

I believe Lake Junaluska has spoiled local birders like me. I spent about an hour and a half poking around the lake and nearby areas last Sunday morning. I ran into a few other birders and we were all of…
By Lindsay Wertz • Correspondent After hours of work and preparation, six terrain elements sparkled imposingly under the lights on Cataloochee Ski Area’s Rabbit Hill Run last Friday night in preparation for the inaugural Cat Cage Rail Jam. The Maggie Valley’s…
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

Convert your used cooking oil into biofuel

Christmas is a time to recycle many things: bows, wrapping paper, gifts . . . and cooking oil. The Haywood County Solid Waste Department accepts used cooking oil at all 10 convenience centers around the county and at the Materials…
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

New Taekwondo school opens in Haywood

A new taekwondo school had opened in Clyde offering classes for preschoolers through adults.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

After-school skiing and tubing at Cataloochee

Kids can hitch a ride to and from Cataloochee Ski Area after school with the Waynesville Recreation Center.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

WCU earns eco kudos for new building

Western Carolina University’s new Health and Human Sciences Building has received gold LEED-certification for its comprehensive energy-efficient and environmentally friendly features.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00

A white Christmas

We touched on this winter’s irruption of snowy owls a couple of weeks ago, but these birds continue to pop up, not only in the Carolinas but across the South and into the mid-section of the country. I recently heard…
Jacob Flannick • SMN Correspondent Jonathan and Abby Landry don’t limit the spirit of giving to the holiday season. For this couple, giving is a way of life. And their gift of choice is eggs. They share them with friends, neighbors…
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

WNC Beef Cattle Commission honors champion

Waynesville cattleman Tony McGaha was honored recently by the WNC Beef Cattle Commission with the Happy Hollow Award for his efforts to promote and support the beef cattle industry. The winner is selected by past recipients based on the person’s…
About 200,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled from a manhole and made its way into a small tributary that feeds Richland Creek outside Waynesville last week.  The sewer overflow began during a period of intense rainfall at about 1 p.m.…
A $30,000 grant to repair failing septic systems in Haywood County will help reduce bacteria contamination in local waterways.
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

Slide on U.S. 441 will not disrupt traffic

A landslide in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was recently discovered along Newfound Gap Road, but is not blocking the road and is not considered a safety threat.
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

Time to rejoin the “battle outside”

This appears especially true in the Old Home State where the (first in over 100 years) Republican triad used the 2013 session of the General Assembly to lay waste to decades of progressive environmental policy and programs that produced a…
Survey your supermarket and you’ll see pretty much the same stuff anywhere in the country: oranges from Florida, onions from Georgia, potatoes from Idaho.  Some variety has crept in recently — with artful displays of mountain-grown produce paying homage to…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:05

Bear hunting changes possible

A public hearing on changes to the state’s hunting and fishing rules, including looser rules for black bear hunting, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Tri-County Community College in Murphy.
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:00

Deep Creek crossing wins photo contest

Hiker Danny Bernstein of Asheville, author of The Mountains-to-Sea-Trail Across North Carolina, won third place in the “People on the Trail” category of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail photo competition for this shot of her hiking partner, Sharon McCarthy, while hiking in…
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:59

Garden and landscape designer to give talk

One of the region’s premier garden and landscape designers will give a talk at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at Lake Junaluska as part of the monthly “Live and Learn” series.
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:57

CBC gods smile on Lake Junaluska

The annual Balsam Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place Saturday, Jan. 4. In the weeks prior to the count many regular Balsam CBC participants, like me, had been crying in our eggnog. Bob Olthoff, long-time compiler for the count, was…
By Colby Dunn • SMN correspondent Perched atop the crest of a mountain, with two slim pieces of fiberglass strapped to your feet, that last big push to send you careening down the slope is a leap of faith — with…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:09

Rules rule and rulers rue it

I mentioned the fact a couple of weeks ago that N.C. House Bill 74— the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013 — was set to begin the process of reviewing, readopting and/or repealing all state rules and that the first rules under…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:07

Cold temps freeze Highland’s lake

Lindenwood Lake, a four to five-acre stretch of water in Highlands, froze over last week during the area’s record-cold temperatures. Michelle Ruigrok, program assistant at the Highlands Biological Station, said she was able to stand on the edge of the…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:06

Slide closes Tsali Trail loop

The left loop of the Tsali Trail system popular among mountain bikers is closed due to a slide along the trail. The other three loops in the trail system remain open. The Forest Service will work to evaluate and repair…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:05

News from the farmers market

New farmers market planned for Macon  The Macon County Heritage Center at the old Cowee School is launching a new farmers market in the region this summer. Friends of the Rickman Store has received a small startup grant for planning…
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:05

Race to support the Community Table

Registration is now open for the Assault on Black Rock, a seven-mile trail race in Jackson County that takes runners and hikers on an ascent and descent of one of Western North Carolina’s most picturesque mountain summits.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:04

Last call for Polar Plungers

Haywood Waterways Association is calling on lovers of clean water, those immune to the cold or anyone out there  crazy enough to jump on Polar Plunge bandwagon.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:03

Relocated white-tailed deer come to Cherokee

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will receive 25 to 50 white-tailed deer every year for the next three years from Morrow Mountain State Park.
Evergreen Packaging’s Canton paper mill will be writing some big checks over the coming years as it moves to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency rule 10 years in the making. It’s been more than a decade since the EPA…
A Sylva farm-to-table restaurant is featured in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s (ASAP) Get Local initiative for its additional sourcing this month from Appalachia Grown certified farms. Guadalupe Café added additional meat-based items to its menu after January was designated…
A whole lot of people visited the WNC Nature Center last year. The Friends of the WNC Nature Center report that 107,949 people visited the Nature Center in 2013, a record-breaking attendance. Last year also saw the completion of several…
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:41

Keeping track in the Smokies

Tracking elk in Great Smoky Mountains National Park just got a little easier, thanks to a grant from Charter Communications. The communications and technology company gave a grant for $13,720 to Friends of the Smokies for the purchase of 15…
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:40

Good times at Tube World

Tube World in Maggie Valley treated 170 students from Clyde Elementary to a fieldtrip last week as part of a creative school incentive program to encourage positive behavior.
Three new public access sites and boat put-ins have been developed along the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County:
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:37

New fees tacked on to all-electric cars

This year all-electric vehicles registered in North Carolina — about 1,600 of them — are required to pay a $100 annual fee in addition to normal registration fees.