Tue07222014

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:05

Skatepark closed for repairs

The Waynesville Skate Park will be closed from April 28 to May 2 for repairs. The park will reopen May 3.
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:03

Smokies celebrate Junior Ranger Day

National Junior Ranger Day will spur festivities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 26 at Oconaluftee, Sugarlands and Cades Cove visitor centers.
The woods are quiet on a cool Saturday morning in late March. There’s no wind swaying the still-bare trees or the rhododendrons clustered along streambeds. In this, one of the most remote trails of the Shining Rock Wilderness of Pisgah…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:28

Hike to wildflowers and waterfalls

Wildflower blaze expected on Highlands hike A wildflower hike will step off from the Jones Gap parking area near Highlands at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4. Sponsored by the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society, the hike will be led by botanist…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:27

Plant sale, plant clinic

Plant sale planned for Franklin The 12th annual plant sale of the Macon County Master Gardener Association will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Environmental Resource Center on 1624 Lakeside Drive in Franklin. The selection…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:26

Cherokee language exhibit tours region

Cherokee language and culture is the focus of a touring exhibit slated to visit ten sites in the region throughout the month of May. The exhibit “Understanding our Past, Shaping our Future” is based largely on excerpts from conversations originally…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is accepting comments on a proposed temporary rule change that would prohibit using dogs to hunt deer and bear on certain portions of game land. The proposed rule is designed to address trespass and safety…
A hike to see the rare pink shell azalea on the slopes of Black Rock Mountain near Panthertown, scheduled for May 5, will give participants a chance to see plenty of blooms while supporting the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust.
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

Opportunity for Highlands birders

Free, weekly bird-watching trips from the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society will start up in Highlands beginning May 3. Walks leave from Highlands Town Hall at 7:30 a.m., with binoculars, field guides and knowledgeable leaders provided. 
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

Fishing festival to take over

A deluge of fly fishermen will soon descend on Western Carolina University. It’s the annual Southeastern Fly Fishing Festival, and for the second year in a row, it’s happening in Cullowhee. 
When I finally roll up Pavilion Road for my casting lesson, I’m nearly half an hour late. A wrong turn had set me back, but Mac Brown seems pretty unperturbed. He’s standing in the field uphill from the Swain County…
Spots are going fast to view the unique synchronous firefly display in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park June 4-11. Every year, thousands of visitors gather to watch the synchronized flashing of Photinus carolinus, a firefly…
Soccer players ages 11 to 18 looking for a challenge beyond their local leagues will have a chance to try out for a spot on the Mountain United Classic Soccer Teams May 17-18. The teams will travel to compete with some…
A Birds of Prey program planned for 1 p.m., May 9, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center will give visitors an up-close look at birds ranging from the eastern screech owl to the northern bald eagle.
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 15:16

Smokies to offer glimpse of park careers

Anyone who’s wondered what a day in the life of a National Park Service employee looks like will get a chance to see at National Park Career Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 10 in Great Smoky Mountains…
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 15:14

Springtime, garden time

Unearth the secret of square-foot gardening A free introduction to square-foot gardening at 5:30 p.m. May 13 at the Canton Branch Library will teach participants how to get a high yield from a small space.
The grassy field is empty and the playground vacant as the sun sheds evening beams across the grounds of Cowee School. But when Susan Ervin looks at the unoccupied asphalt track and pavilion bare of coolers and tablecloths, she sees…
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:33

Déjà vu in the woods

I was invited to help lead a bird walk focusing on wood warblers at this year’s 64th annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was invited to help by Dr. Patricia Blackwell-Cox. 
Volunteers are needed for a cleanup day along the walking trail and stream bank of the Pigeon River at Canton Recreation Park from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 24. Haywood Waterways Association, which is organizing the event, will provide…
A 12-hour bike race in Nantahala National Forest near Bryson City will test the mettle and stamina of participating peddlers. The race, called 12 Hours of Tsali, will last from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 17, with individual…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:43

Duckett’s Produce enters tenth season

Duckett’s Produce has reopened for a tenth season at three locations in Haywood County, including Maggie Valley, Crabtree and Canton, headed up by fifth-generation Haywood County farmer Dibe Duckett. “Farming is an important industry and tradition in our community, and…
The Southern Appalachians have the world’s highest diversity of salamanders, and Salamander Saturday will introduce some of the key players, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 24 at the Cradle of Forestry in America, 25 miles south of Waynesville on…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:37

Avian experience coming to Sapphire

A raptor demonstration at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, at Sapphire Valley Community Center will give participants a chance to see birds of prey up close and personal, including flying demonstrations.
The tale of the once-common Cullowhee lily will take center stage at the next meeting of the Tuscola Garden Club, 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 20, at the Bethea Welcome Center at Lake Junaluska.
The Merrell Adventure Dash, held at 4:30 p.m. May 24 in the Nantahala Gorge, will give participants of all ages a chance to negotiate a series of obstacles while racing to the finish at Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Ducks — of the rubber variety — will take to the Tuckaseegee River 1 p.m. Saturday, May 24, in an annual race to raise money for Southwestern Community College’s New Century Scholars program, which provides last-dollar tuition scholarships for deserving…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:32

Parkway project funding announced

More than $700,000 in funds raised from license plates, gifts and grants will go toward projects and programs on the Blue Ridge Parkway this year in a list recently approved by the Parkway Foundation Board of Trustees. According to a…
Take a walk in mid-May, and you probably won’t get far before finding somebody bent over a garden bed, weeding. Eric Romaniszyn and Christine O’Brien were doing just that on a warm Thursday afternoon, but they weren’t in a garden…
The Wilderness Act’s 50th birthday will get some recognition at “An Evening of Wilderness Champions — Celebrating 50 Years of Wilderness” from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 30, at Pack’s Tavern in Asheville.
Regular weekday programs will begin at Highlands Nature Center next week. The programs include guided plant walks, children’s activities, storybook-based nature lessons and animal programs.  • Monday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Guided, themed walks along the Highlands Botanical Garden…
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:33

New bike shop set to open in Bryson City

Bryson City is about to get a second bike shop with the grand opening of Tsali Cycles on May 23. Local cyclists Rob Acton, Chris Royce and Brad Gerard are teaming up to head the business.
A federal court issued a preliminary injunction against coyote hunting — which includes spotlight hunting — in the five eastern North Carolina counties, which comprise the world’s only wild population of red wolves, totaling about 100. 
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:31

Smokies gets new acting superintendent

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will get a new acting superintendent June 1, replacing the currect acting superintendent who has been there since January. The Smokies has been without a permanent leader since last September, when former Superintendent Dale…
When the Campus Conservation Nationals Competition wrapped up this spring, Western Carolina University came out near the top of a nationwide field of 109 schools. Schools didn’t receive specific rankings, but WCU made the top 10 with a 13.7 percent…
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:45

A not too shabby second

May 3 and 4 were the dates for this year’s 30th annual edition of the Great Smoky Mountains Birding Expedition. This trip began in 1984 as the brainchild of George Ellison, Bryson City resident, author and naturalist; Rick Pyeritz, M.D.,…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 15:05

Party with moths in Highlands

A moth party at 9 p.m. June 5 at the Highlands Biological Station will capitalize on the dark sky to allow photographers to capture each species that comes to the bright lights that will be set up.
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 15:04

White-nose syndrome decimating WNC bats

White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States, is advancing in North Carolina.
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 15:03

Senate votes to lift fracking moratorium

The North Carolina Senate voted to lift the state’s fracking moratorium last week in a party-line vote. Democrats voted unanimously against the bill, which could come up in the House for consideration this week.  The bill would also prevent counties…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 15:02

Bass tourney gives anglers an outlet

Anglers are getting the tackle ready for the 2014 Fontana Marina Classic Bass Tournament June 7 and 8. With 238 miles of shoreline, Fontana Lake provides ample opportunity for stellar bass fishing.
To the untrained eye, the tree looks like just another evergreen, just another species thrown into the mix of natural diversity along the Blue Ridge Parkway. But the American larch tree growing opposite the pull-off for Courthouse Valley Overlook fails…
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

24 hours of running

By Michael Beadle At first it seemed like madness. Why else would anyone freely submit to running 15 to 25 miles up and down steep mountain roads and trails over a 24-hour period? Little did I know what I was…
Monarch butterflies will soon be passing through Western North Carolina on their long migration back to Mexico for the winter. The monarchs’ migration schedule is dependent on milkweed. They move north with the onset of spring, following the trail of…
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

Summer doldrums over

Birders are rejuvenated. Binoculars and spotting scopes have been cleaned and readied. Field guides have usurped The Da Vinci Code’s spot on the nightstand. Fall migration is in full swing.
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

See no warming, hear no warming, speak no warming

Two ostriches with their heads buried in the sand were having a conversation. The first ostrich said, chuckling, “Man can you believe it — all those wild stories about the earth heating up and the oceans rising?”
Managers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are bracing for a higher-than-normal level of bear activity this fall and are warning Park visitors and neighbors to be especially careful about protecting their food and garbage from bears.
Mention the phrase “insect society,” and most folks automatically think of such natural phenomena as the bee hive, the ant colony, the wasp nest or the termite mound — structured civilizations characterized by a precise division of labor among their…
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:11

Land management series planned

Landowners will have the chance to get a better handle on managing their woodlands responsibly with a lineup of summer workshops between July 16 and Aug. 22, each focusing on a different aspect of land stewardship. Locations include Cradle of…
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:10

Local environmental knowledge sought

The Coweeta Listening Project will come to Cowee Farmers Market from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, to collect individual stories about special places in the region and the types of environmental changes that locals have seen over…
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:09

Shopping for conservation

Shopping at Mast General Store in Waynesville on Saturday, June 7, will be a plus for the planet.
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:08

T-shirt design contest uncovers artist

Shelby Reece from Waynesville Middle School won Haywood Waterways’ Kids in the Creek T-shirt design contest. Her winning design, “Jumping Trout,” will be featured on 800 T-shirts when the program occurs this fall. 
One of the most prized bringers of spring song in Western North Carolina is the golden-winged warbler, and Highlands Plateau Audubon Society has awarded a grant to help increase human knowledge of these beautiful and endangered birds. 
Rhododendrons are opening deep pink blooms along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and new spring foliage blends into a bright blue sky dotted with puffy clouds. At the Graveyard Fields overlook this Friday morning, chirping birds and the occasional passing car…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 15:12

Doin’ Puc Puggy proud

The Tennessee Valley Authority, in 1984, found itself with an extra $14,000 lying around. The money was available for outreach projects across the Southeast. Well, we all know how frivolous the federal government and/or quasi-federal organizations (TVA is a corporation…
Photographers are invited to submit their best Parkway photos to be featured in a 2015 Blue Ridge Parkway calendar, a project sponsored by RaysWeather.com for the past 10 years. The contest solicits photos from the entire length of the parkway,…
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 15:06

Trail app for Nantahala areas

A new web app gives hikers, bikers, equestrians and other forest users the ability to search trail stats for the Tsali Recreation Area, the Jackrabbit Recreation Area and two sections of the Appalachian Trail that pass through Nantahala National Forest. …
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 00:00

Updates for birders

Dinner for the birds The Highlands Plateau Audubon Society’s first program of the season will include a potluck for the bird-brained at 6 p.m. Monday, June 9, at the Highlands Civic Center. Dinner-goers should bring a dish to share and…
In the old days, the months leading up to the Tsali Challenge triathlon meant a great scramble was on among racers to find a boat that could help them win the paddling leg of the race across Fontana Lake.
Wednesday, 06 September 2006 00:00

Night-jarring, goat sucking bullbats

I was clicking Izzy into her booster seat last Saturday about 9 p.m. when she said, “Look Daddy, there’s a bird.” We were on the top deck of Waynesville’s parking garage and it was dark. “I bet you saw a…
When Aaron Patterson graduated from Tuscola High this year, little did he know a big chunk of his summer break would be spent, clipboard in hand, sprawled out in the dirt on a 5,000-foot mountain top, sharing long intimate moments…
Wednesday, 30 August 2006 00:00

Smokies’ coneflowers get around

Several times a year, Park Ranger Susan Sachs heads up to the ozone garden at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center with a trowel and digs up a few new shoots sprouting from the garden’s coneflower plants.
Wednesday, 30 August 2006 00:00

The unfriendly skies

I was working in the yard the other afternoon when I heard a crisp “whap!” — like the sound of a line drive in the third baseman’s mitt — just above my head. A pipevine swallowtail butterfly spun to the…
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Two flew over the cuckoo’s nest

Nothing takes me back to that shotgun shack along the dusty road around Horseshoe Lake quicker than the call of the rain crow. In late July and early August it’s a common sound coming from the woods around my home…
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Bethel group receives grants for conservation

On-going farmland conservation efforts in the rural Haywood County community of Bethel got a boost with a $20,000 grant from the Pigeon River Fund this month.
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:00

Monarch migration

The king of insect migration – King Billy – will soon be gliding its way to Mexico by the millions. The monarch butterfly was dubbed “King Billy” by early North American settlers because its bright orange color reminded them of…
Checking email has gotten a lot more exciting for Wendy Johnson lately. As the organizer for the 28th Annual Maggie Valley Moonlight Race this year, Johnson sees a message show up in her in-box every time a runner registers on-line.…
Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

First-Ever Tour de Tuck to challenge cyclists

Cyclists will be testing their legs and lungs on the roads of Western North Carolina later this month in the debut of the Tour de Tuck Bike Challenge on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

Peregrine falcons make a tenuous comeback

Peregrine falcons, a recovering endangered species, once again nested successfully this spring on Whiteside Mountain in Highlands.
Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

Beak tweaking or evolution

One of the tenets of the theory of evolution is a phenomenon known as character displacement. Character displacement states, in essence, that when two similar species inhabit the same environment and compete for the same resources, natural selection favors a…
Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

WCU professor leads Elwha project

Thanks to a National Science Foundation grant-funded project led by a Western Carolina University professor, 25 young people from Washington’s Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe are seeing firsthand how the nation’s largest dam removal project will impact a river system with…
Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

Elk population on the rise

The elk herd in Cataloochee Valley added at least eight babies to its ranks this summer, giving the herd a needed population boost. Since the elk herd was released in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park five years ago, black…
The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina recently awarded $25,000 to a group of 13 land conservation organizations working collectively to protect wildlife habitat, farmland, scenic landscapes and clean drinking water in the southern region of Western North Carolina’s. Blue…
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

USDA rabies vaccination targets raccoons

Tasty, fish flavored morsels will be dropped from overhead aircraft along the North Carolina-Tennessee line in Haywood and Swain counties in coming weeks to be gobbled up by raccoons.
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

My Chattooga?

Controversy over a paddling ban on the upper Chattooga River attracted more than 125 people to a public meeting in Highlands last week held by the U.S. Forest Service. Paddlers are challenging the 30-year-old ban, while fishermen, hikers, birdwatchers and…
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 00:00

Hot summer songsters

No, it’s not another reality TV series, and there’s no need to call in and vote for your favorite. But if you pause a moment with that first cup of coffee, you’ll notice that the mornings are becoming quieter. It’s…
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 00:00

Watching for what’s in the water

By Michael Beadle It’s mid-morning at Cartoogechaye Creek just below the Macon County Recreation Park’s tennis courts in Franklin. Bill McClarney, a veteran aquatic biologist, instructs a dozen volunteers to put on waders and descend into the cool, foot-high waters…
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 00:00

The specter of litigation

A federal judge in Arkansas halted on Thursday, July 20, an ambitious Army Corps of Engineers plan to pump water out of the White River to help farmers in Arkansas’ Grand Prairie region irrigate crops. The suit was brought by…
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 00:00

Franklin athlete chosen for US Team

Dave Linn, a triathlete from Franklin, has been chosen for the United States triathlon team going to the World Championships in Switzerland at the end of August.
Wednesday, 19 July 2006 00:00

Water, water... everywhere?

A rafting and tubing outfitter on the upper Tuckasegee River in Jackson County claims he is being slighted in a tug-of-war over water flows that favor rafting companies downstream.
Wednesday, 19 July 2006 00:00

Meet the stars

About a million years ago, through a wormhole, while I was still in college and Grumman aluminum was state of the art in whitewater canoes, some friends and I made a trip to Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas…
Wednesday, 19 July 2006 00:00

Groups take stand against logging

The Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project and WNC Alliance are opposing a logging proposal in the vicinity of Looking Glass Rock, a popular hiking and rock-climbing destination in the Pisgah National Forest.
Wednesday, 12 July 2006 00:00

Chaos is upon us!

Remember the chaos theory — how the flapping of a single butterfly’s wings could produce unknown and unpredictable atmospheric change? Well the atmosphere must really be cooking because the hills are alive with the sound of flapping.
Wednesday, 12 July 2006 00:00

Park expands Junior Ranger program

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is inviting kids and their families to participate in a selection of summer programs that offers more than a dozen hands-on fun activities through a new and expanded Junior Ranger Program.
By Ed Kelley If you spend much time in the outdoors, you will eventually have an encounter with wildlife. I am always on the lookout for signs of animal activity. Tracks, scat, scrapings, digging, paths through the leaves or grass,…
The All Taxa Biological Inventory hit the 5,000 species milestone this summer in an ongoing effort to document every species in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

The race is on

By Michael Beadle You’ll have to excuse Greg Duff if he greets you out of breath. If he’s not in the middle of coordinating the upcoming Bele Chere 5K, the Inaugural Lake Logan Triathlon, Jackson County’s Tour de Tuck bike…
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

Avian nomads

I have just finished by bird point survey for the Forest Service, which takes me to Mt. Mitchell and Roan Mountain. It’s a chance every year to get reacquainted with Western North Carolina’s high-elevation nesters.
The North Carolina Sierra Club and Southern Environmental Law Center have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for allowing air pollution from other states to continue to pollute the air North Carolinians breathe.
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00

Can you say inevitable?

I recently saw some previews for the documentary “Grizzly Man.” You may remember the story. Back in 2003, after 13 summers of camping among Alaska’s brown bears, Timothy Treadwell was mauled and partially eaten by a bear. A companion, Amie…
A ban on logging and road building in roadless areas of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests is on track to be reinstated one year after the Bush Administration lifted the ban.
The town of Bryson City finalized a conservation easement this month that will protect a 750-acre tract known as Lands Creek that’s adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Swain County.
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Let’s get buggy with it

“Daddy, Daddy come see!” called Izzy, my four-year-old daughter, running down the sidewalk to catch me as I was leaving for work. “See what?” I asked.
The growing demand from researchers wanting access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park prompted recent renovations to the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center with an expansion of accommodations and quarters.
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

The battle for the Chattooga rages on

The Sumter National Forest has fired back at American Whitewater, a paddling organization that is challenging a ban on paddling the upper Chattooga River. The Chattooga is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River that tumbles off the Cashiers Plateau…
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

First Tour de Tuck to challenge cyclists

A new cycling tradition begins this summer with the debut of the Tour de Tuck Bike Challenge on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

All together now – flash

Around 2 a.m. the other morning I was walking Maddie, my seven-month-old, around the house trying to convince her that it was still bedtime. We passed by our wall of windows in the living area and our yard was ablaze…
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Mitigation demand holds in Supreme Court

In a 9-0 vote last week, the Supreme Court upheld the right of states to demand mitigation from hydropower companies for the damming of rivers under the Clean Water Act.
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

The Little River watershed

Nestled in the northern center of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Elkmont was once a thriving logging community that inspired Walt Disney’s screen image of Snow White’s cabin and now serves as a key research site for studying synchronous…
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Things that go blink in the night

By Michael Beadle As springtime visitors flock to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see the phenomenon of synchronous fireflies, researchers are hoping to learn more about how and why these beetles produce such amazing light shows. It may well…
Rafting fans have only two more shots this year at a trip down the Cheoah River, a rugged river in Graham County that has just recently been opened to rafting.