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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.
Wednesday, 07 June 2006 00:00

History and wildflowers

By Ed Kelley The burning sensation on the back of my heels made me wish I had packed some moleskin. Blisters are adversary number one for the hiker. Luckily, I haven’t had them in years, but friction, moisture, heat, and…
Wednesday, 07 June 2006 00:00

When paddle comes to shove

The only thing rippling more than the water through the rocky headwaters of the Chattooga is the controversy regarding the U.S. Forest Service’s ban on paddling in that stretch. It is a ban that has been in place for 30…
Josh Kelly looked up from his topo map, took a step back and eyed the steep bank in front of him, scanning the line of the mountain until it disappeared out of sight. Somewhere through the tangle of rhododendrons, over…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:43

An unapologetic scientist

The cosmos loom large and wondrous again, and much of the credit goes to one charming, affable but steadfastly rigorous — when it comes to scientific principles — host Neil deGrasse Tyson. 
Michael Beadle, a local poet and educator, will read poetry that speaks to the mystery of nature and wildness 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at the Haywood Public Library in Waynesville. “Call of the Wild” will feature poets…
Registration is up and running for the 31st Cullowhee Native Plant Conference to be held July 16-19 at Western Carolina University. Workshop topics include native plant propagation, nature photography and garden design tips, while field trips will include visits to…
A summer lecture series dedicated to natural history and conservation will kick off with a talk from Dr. Lee Alan Dugatkin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at the Highlands Nature Center.  Dugatkin is a biology professor at the University…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:33

Local agriculture robust in WNC

Local food sales are surging in Western North Carolina, and agriculture is alive and well.  Direct farmer-to-consumer food sales in the region increased nearly 70 percent between 2007 and 2012, growing from just under $5 million to more than $8…
 A book by Western Carolina University biology professor and Highlands Biological Station director James Costa titled Wallace, Darwin and the Origin of Species has been published by Harvard University Press. The book provides an in-depth look at the work of…
The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters has released its 2013 scorecard for North Carolina legislators, a number based on the legislators’ voting record on key environmental issues.  This year, a record number of legislators — 82 — earned a…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:29

Annual garden tour a go in Haywood

The Barn at the Mountain Research Station, on Raccoon Road in Waynesville, will serve as the hub for ticket purchasing, vendor presentations and tour directions. The station includes a range of soil types and elevations and a diversity of horticultural,…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:28

Falling tree gives Arizona woman a fright

Jan Eagle got a scare when a tree fell on her campsite at Cataloochee Campground during her stay at Great Smoky Mountains National Park May 30. Eagle, who lives in Tucson, Ariz., was on the first day of her 12-day…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:27

Youth to reenact ancient fishing practices

Children will get a chance to learn firsthand about Cherokee fishing traditions by re-enacting a fish harvest on an ancient stone fishing weir at 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, June 23, on the Tuckaseegee River.
Outdoor Mission Camp, an affiliate of Youth For Christ USA based in Maggie Valley, is offering a wilderness camp for Western North Carolina students, grades 6 to 12, on a donation basis, as well as a 10-week wilderness discipleship course…
A black bear — and possibly one of its cubs — is dead after a run of bird seed raids resulted in a confrontation with a Maggie Valley homeowner’s 12-gauge.  “Everyone has a right to protect their property, and it…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

The Naturalist's Corner — Thunderstorm

The other evening with toddler and infant asleep, my wife and I found ourselves alone as a thunderstorm rolled over the Balsams. We turned out the lights and watched and listened as the storm approached with the sky flickering brighter,…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00


A blistering fight over whether paddling should be allowed along the upper stretch of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River has landed in court. American Whitewater, the premier national paddling advocacy group whose headquarters are in Jackson County, filed a…
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

Trout Unlimited: Brook trout need help

A report by Trout Unlimited documenting the continued decline of brook trout has given rise to concerns over water quality and invigorated efforts to protect the remaining strongholds of brook trout in WNC.
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

Recycling gets a boost in the Smokies

Thanks to a new recycling trailer, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closer to its goal of diverting half of all its waste from local landfills compared to the 42 percent of park trash that currently is recycled.
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

The phoenix has crashed

In 2005 the ivory-billed woodpecker rose from the ashes of extinction on the merits of an announcement from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The bird had been rediscovered in 2004 in the Big Woods of Arkansas.
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

Remembering the Mother Town

By Michael Beadle Kituhwa. To the Cherokee, it represents one of the most sacred sites in the world, the first Cherokee town, a mound where the sacred fire burned for centuries. It is from this site that the Cherokee named…
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Of valleys and lilies

I was leading a program for the Theosophical Society at Lake Junaluska on May 6. We were touring the Corneille Bryan Native Garden when we discovered a striking white lily growing in a wet area. There were a few of…
The U.S. Forest Service has been working on a master recreation plan for Panthertown Valley for more than two years now.
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Finding the forest less logged

For three years, Josh Kelly has been stalking forests in the Southern Appalachians in search of unmapped old-growth forests and very old trees. “It is like a treasure hunt everyday when I go out and look for these places,” Kelly…
When Dr. Robert Jenkins proclaimed in 1992 that he had discovered a new fish species in the Hiwasee and Little Tennessee rivers, it likely caused a stir among ichthyologists who found their library of fish field guides suddenly out of…
Wednesday, 10 May 2006 00:00

Half a big day

What some masochistic birders do for fun is called a “Big Day.” It’s when birders set out to spend the majority of the day afield recording as many species of birds as possible.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Reaching out for the Little T

When Cass and Mary Lou Combs attended a conservation celebration along the shore of the Little Tennessee River in Macon County last Friday, their mind occasionally wandered from the speaker at hand to thoughts of a new great-grandchild being born…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

A brand new world

Anyone who hasn’t been to the woods in the last month would swear they’re in a different world. In a sense, they are. At the end of March most anything above 2,500 feet still looked like winter. A hike today…
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 15:41

Celebrate winter Smoky style

Maggie Valley’s inaugural WinterFest Smoky Style will celebrate the best of the cold-weather season 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, with other events bookending the festival Friday and Saturday nights.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Mount Sterling — a hikers’ crossroads

Climbing the 80 rickety feet of metal and wood got my adrenaline flowing a bit. Once up there, I found it to be a precarious perch, especially since the plywood floor was rotten and some of it missing. I was…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Float trips return to Waynesville

The sight of bobbing caravans of inflatable kayaks floating down Richland Creek through Waynesville will return on Saturday, May 6 when Whitewater of Waynesville, a.k.a. WOW, opens back up for its second season.
Five marinas on Fontana Lake have been certified as Clean Marinas in recognition of their efforts to preserve and protect water quality in the Tennessee River system by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates the dam at Fontana Lake for…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:05

Buy Haywood guide seeks new listings

An agritourism guide for Haywood County is looking for new listings to help visitors and locals alike explore everything from pick-your-own berry farms to farm-to-table restaurants.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Don’t touch that fawn

White-tail deer will soon start scouting the fields and forests for hiding places to give birth to their fawns this spring. After giving birth, the doe leaves the fawn lying on the ground and continues foraging for the crucial calories…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is working on a plan to guide management at the Cold Mountain Game Land in Haywood County for the next 10 years.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Rotten to the core

According to recent stories by Knight Ridder news services, the Bush Administration thinks our national parks are too fat. A mandate called the “core operation analysis” has been issued directing park officials across the country to cut between 20 and…
When a heavy rain washed into Paul Super’s garage last month, soaking a couple of bags of freshly-purchased mulch in the process, it triggered a dormant slime mold in the mulch to spring to life in a bright yellow ooze,…
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 15:30

WNC gear builders to show their stuff

Outdoor lovers will get a chance to see some of the best locally made gear during Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina’s inaugural Get in Gear Fest, slated for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at RiverLink Park…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

The healing power of slime molds

New research on slime molds at the University of Georgia has generated hope for the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases that a cure could one day be possible.
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 15:34

Jump on the solar train with Solarize WNC

A campaign to introduce homeowners and businesses to the option of solar energy is underway in Jackson, Haywood, Macon and Swain counties. The first in a series of forums exploring the viability of small-scale solar will be held at 7…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Winged migration of a different sort

After getting all the two-leggeds to bed last night I went out to the yard to wrangle the four-leggeds. Dusk was slipping into night. The full “fish moon” was climbing above the mountains on the southeastern horizon.
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 15:35

Celebrate the diversity of the Smokies

The public is invited to mingle with researchers from around the world March 19-21 during the annual conference of Discover Life In America, whose mission is to inventory every species that makes its home in the Great Smoky Mountains National…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

The ivory-billed swami predicts

For those not acquainted with the ivory-billed swami, I will give you a bit of history. This is from the Smoky Mountain News edition on Jan. 30, 2002, as Zeiss Optics was mounting a search for the ivory-billed woodpecker in…
Gardeners can get a head start on the growing season by renting greenhouse space for their seed trays at the Old Armory Recreation Center in Waynesville.  You pay only $5 for a tray and greenhouse space, but plant your own…
By Michael Beadle Some people bike for the fun of it. Some people bike to race. For Franklin’s Owen Simpson, it’s a bit of both. Over the past three years, Simpson — who also goes by O.J. — has been…
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 16:21

WNC air quality to be unpacked

The Annual Ozone Season Kickoff will unveil the state of Western North Carolina’s air quality in 2014 with a program held 8:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, at the Land of Sky Regional Council office in Asheville.  Ground-level ozone,…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

I wanna another peep outta ya!

Jeepers creepers, don’t ya here those peepers. Gram for gram, Pseudacris crucifer is one of the loudest amphibians out there. The spring peeper weighs in at three to five grams and is about an inch long. When males congregate around…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Park: Don’t blame us for the ladybugs

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials say they have been erroneously blamed by some residents for introducing large, black and orange ladybeetles that congregate en masse in residential areas.
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Gus the gruffy grouse gets territorial

Jerry Smathers is public enemy number one for a ruffed grouse named Gus that lives on the forest bordering Smathers’ pasture in Dutch Cove of Haywood County. Whenever Smathers boards his all-terrain vehicle to ride from his house to his…
A recently awarded $200,000 grant will pay for two years of work to improve water quality and raise public awareness of clean water for Richland Creek in Haywood County.  The N.C. Division of Water Resources Grant will pay for the…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Deep into Gorges State Park

By Ed Kelley Tiptoeing quickly across the Toxaway River, my ankle gaiters did the job and kept the cold water out of my boots. With higher water, fording the river could be dicey. I had chosen the Auger Hole trail…
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 16:06

Winter ends for Cataloochee

Cataloochee Ski Area closed for the season Sunday, ending 141 days of open slopes for 2014-15. The season outstripped the ski area’s average 126 days per season, but closure came slightly earlier than last season’s March 27 ending. However, the…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Alien vs. Predator in the GSMNP

A new breed of predator beetles that could help fight the hemlock wooly adelgid were released in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park two weeks ago. The hemlock wooly adelgid is a bug from Asia that has invaded the Southern…
For the first time in more than 30 years, fishermen in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be allowed to catch and keep brook trout under new experimental Park fishing regulations starting April 15.
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Burroughs Wellcome Fund welcome

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has renewed its commitment to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s inquiry-based, hands-on science education programs. That is music to this tone deaf naturalist’s ears.
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Filming on the fly

By Sarah Kucharski Standing in the shallows of the Tuckasegee River between Webster and Dillsboro, cold water flowing around the ankles of his waders, longtime fisherman Steve Henson asked fly-fishing guide Roger Lowe what they could expect from the day’s…
The Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers gathered on the Blue Ridge Parkway this spring, instruments in hand, to help the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation raise the $50,000 they still need to complete the $350,000 Graveyard Fields restoration project. 
Libraries across the mountains are in summer mode with a robust lineup of educational programs for kids. Special guests will offer several free programs on science and nature topics, as well as their regular line-up of story times and other…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 14:13

Get your race on with Haywood Waterways

Haywood Waterways is now selling “trout” to compete in their annual Trout Race held at 5 p.m. on June 22 in Maggie Valley in conjunction with the weekend PlottFest.
Comments are open regarding a proposed prohibition on coyote hunting in a five-county area in northeastern North Carolina. The area is home to the world’s only native red wolf population, which look similar to coyotes — posing a dangerous case…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:13

Wildflower pilgrimage celebrates spring

The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage will kick off its 65th year of outdoors programming Tuesday, April 21, with the five-day event lasting through April 25.
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 14:07

Foraging field day in Cashiers

Famed Asheville forager Alan Muskat will answer all your burning questions about forest foods during the next installment of the Village Nature Series at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at the Village Green Commons in Cashiers, with a private foraging…
It’s a little after 7 p.m. when the first trolley shows up to Elkmont Campground. Green, red and yellow, the flashy Gatlinburg transit vehicle seems a bit out of place in the backwoods greenery of Great Smoky Mountains National Park,…
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 16:02

Blue Ridge Breakaway registration open

Early registration is open for the Blue Ridge Breakaway, a multi-distance bike ride based in Haywood County.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:14

A wet and wonderful weekend

Thanks to the generosity of a friend, my family and I spent a long weekend on Fontana Lake. The small “fishing” cabin near Prince’s Boat Dock is not the Ritz but it has all the comforts of home and a…
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 15:32

Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon

Runners will take to the streets of downtown Waynesville as the inaugural Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon starts from Main Street at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 2. 
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:13

Smokies elk get new tracking collars

Biologists will get a boost in monitoring Smokies elk populations, thanks to a $13,720 grant Friends of the Smokies received from Charter Communications, Inc. The grant money purchased 15 radio collars and two receivers to track and monitor the large…
The Benton McKaye Trail Association recently completed a major reroute of the trail’s path through the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:12

Horse exhibition to benefit Panthertown

A horse exhibition hosted by Friends of Panthertown from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 28, will raise money for conservation and trail maintenance in Panthertown Valley, a national forest recreation area near Cashiers.
Visitors are invited to check on the progress of the American chestnut restoration effort at Cataloochee Ranch in Haywood County with self-guided and guided tours this summer.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:11

Franklin man inducted to A.T. Hall of Fame

Franklin has a hall-of-famer following the induction of Rev. Rufus Morgan into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame earlier this month. 
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 16:01

Swain students illustrate wetlands

Swain County students got creative on the theme “Wetlands are Wonderful” this spring, sending in their bookmark designs for a contest hosted by Swain Soil and Water Conservation District.  After learning about wetlands in class, third- through fifth-graders sent their…
It wasn’t until Brad McMillan got his canoe on the water that the moment hit him. He’d been preparing for this for a long time, both mentally and physically, and he’d just watched his three friends in kayaks descend the…
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 16:02

Paul Carlson honored for conservation work

Paul Carlson of Land Trust for the Little Tennessee was named Outstanding Conservationist in the 2015 Roosevelt-Ashe awards given out by Wild South, an environmental organization that works in several southern states. Carlson, LTLT’s founding director, led LTLT for 18…
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 13:32

Local water supplies get state recognition

Maggie Valley Sanitary District and the town of Waynesville got props from the N.C. Division of Water Resources for an outstanding drinking water supply earlier this summer. The water providers were two of 38 statewide to receive the N.C. Area…
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 16:02

Grant brings real-life science to classrooms

A $500 grant from the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ Auxiliary will mean some hands-on science for students of Hayley Cox and Noal Castater, both teachers in Haywood County.  Cox, a fourth-grade teacher at Junaluska Elementary School,…
A coalition of 17 organizations based in Western North Carolina is calling for a public hearing somewhere in the western part of the state on new oil and gas rules being developed the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission. Three public…
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 16:03

Local food guide now available

A new edition of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Local Food Guide is out in time for the spring growing season.  The guide lists farmers markets, farms and restaurants and grocers selling local produce in the Southern Appalachians. It is free…
The next public meeting in the forest plan revision process for Pisgah and Nantahala national forests is planned for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 10 in Asheville. Wildlife habitat and managing for ecosystem integrity and diversity will be the…
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 02:39

National forest sites open for spring

With warmer weather comes the opening of a lengthy list of campgrounds and recreation sites in the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests that had been closed for the winter.  Newly reopen recreation areas include: • Nantahala District: Nantahala River facilities…
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 13:29

WNC trails hit the app store

A new app for iPhone and Android will give hikers a guide to more than 300 hikes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Georgia and upstate South Carolina.
The time is drawing near for synchronous fireflies to once more light up the night in the Smokies, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced this year’s dates for up-close firefly viewing at the park’s Elkmont Campground.  The…
The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is seeking proposals to turn $50,000 worth of grant funding into a win in the battle to save hemlocks from the wooly adelgid.
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 16:57

Break-ins reported along the Parkway

A rash of break-ins to cars parked along the Blue Ridge Parkway on its way through Asheville has rangers asking the public to pay extra attention to securing their vehicles.
Part contest, part festival, part education and part science, the 2014 Discover Life in America BioBlitz will bring citizens and scientists from across the country together in a race against time to see how many fungal species they can count…
Backpackers in several popular areas of Pisgah National Forest are now required to use bear canisters when staying overnight, following a recent policy change by the U.S. Forest Service.  Reports of bears accessing food from improperly stored gear and, most…
Walk into Bowed Up Outdoors, and the first thing you’ll notice is the friendly banter moving back and forth between customers seated at the stools in front of the gun counter and the staff on the other side of it.…
A contaminated property next to Land Trust for the Little Tennesse’s office in Franklin could have a brighter future now that the land conservation organization has purchased it.  “I never paid that much attention to this part of town until…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 04:08

Outdoors events for kids

Kids program offers chance to touch bones, or delve into digestion Haywood Public Library will get more than skin deep with a forensic anthropology program at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 17, at the Waynesville branch and Tuesday, July 29, at…
Nantahala Lake spawned two state fishing records within a week during the month of June. Until now, the state record for a kokanee salmon was 3 pounds, 9 ounces, set in 2009 by Swannanoa resident Ashley Swann, but Fred Mix…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 03:51

Trout tournament coming up in Cherokee

The annual Cherokee Dog Days Fishing Tournament will be held in Cherokee again July 18-19, with $10,000 in cash prizes available.
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 03:50

New map and website highlight Swain fishing

A new website and brochure highlight all the fishing opportunities available in Swain County.
The 11th annual Mountain Wildlife Days will take over Sapphire Valley Resort near Cashiers, N.C. June 18-19, activities ranging from a presentation on with world of mammals to a raptor demonstration to bluegrass gospel music. 
It’s no secret that an accurate weather forecast is hard to come by in the Smokies. But after two months of intense measurements at more than 100 stations around the region, scientists working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration…
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley called last week for roadless areas to be protected in the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests — in opposition to a Bush Administration move last year that lifted bans on logging and road building in…