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Sipping hot tea while swaddled beside a propane heater, warmth beaming as wind whips snowflakes around the mountaintop outside. A…
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 15:01

A Golden secret

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There is one winter visitor to our North Carolina Mountains that is probably happy the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed…
History will no doubt remember Paul Carlson as one of the great visionaries of our time in Western North Carolina.…
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 16:21

Countin’ in the cold

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I had originally intended to spend today (Monday, Feb. 16) doing a couple of short surveys for the annual Great…
Stepping into Kirk Wall’s custom-carpentered, immaculately decorated mountaintop home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d knocked on the wrong…
Pushing through 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 of biking and 26.2 of running, it was all Jennifer Jacobson could do…
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 16:09

The bizarro world of plan revision

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The Haywood County Board of Commissioners decided that today (Feb. 2) was the day they would boldly venture into the…
Though a mixture of rain and ice pelted the windshield as I headed toward the Balsam Gap access of the…
It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for water-lovers in Western North Carolina. After more than a decade of…
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 15:49

The uncommon common goldeneye

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The best way I know of to get a rare bird to fly the coop is to write about it.…
Scott McCleskey didn’t really know what he was saying yes to when he boarded the plane to Alaska, pack of…
Kadie Anderson was packing up camp after a night in the backcountry with her two Australian shepherds when the peace…
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 17:13

Double the fun

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I had the pleasure of participating in two Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) this past weekend. The first was the Balsam…
Rain was beginning to set in on a fog-ridden day on the slopes when Annie Dephouse gave her 5-year-old charge,…
When Jim Brendle put together the first Smoky Mountain Relay in 2009, it was a pretty small affair. With only…
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Golden poster-bird

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It seems like the golden-winged warbler (GWWA) has become the non-game poster bird for everything from clearcuts to shelterwood cuts…
It was still a couple weeks till Christmas, but Santa Claus already had his boots shined and suit cleaned in…
Hiking the Appalachian Trail had been in the back of Andy Smith’s mind for a while, ever since a coworker…
There’s plenty of tradition and symbolism that goes along with the holiday season, but for birders no tradition is more…
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:52

Extreme commenting on plan for national forests

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Yogi Berra said it best — “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” When I read Holly Kays’ Nov. 12…
The sicklefin redhorse is a sneaky kind of fish. It wasn’t discovered as a species until 1992, and even with…
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 16:55

Lake J is heating up

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I was fortunate to be able to spend a few hours last Saturday morning (Nov. 23) with members of the…
Things have gone well for the Smokies elk, and they’ve risen from reintroduction experiment to established population. But meanwhile, they’ve…
Word on the river is that more and more people are getting into fly fishing, spurring a push for fly-focused…
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 16:48

Hello darkness, my old friend

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The full Hunter’s Moon is waning and the night sky will be revealing more of her secrets till we spin…
Brian Railsback learned a valuable lesson when he missed a September meeting of the Western Carolina University Honors College Student…
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 15:17

Greenery is a Southern Appalachian specialty

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This region has been furnishing the eastern United States with quantities of various evergreen materials (trees, running ground cedar, mistletoe,…
When the North Carolina Audubon Society announced its campaign to install 10,000 small-holed bird boxes to bolster the population of…
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 14:52

Monarchs to Mexico

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Monarch butterflies, like orange autumn leaves filling the skies, have been winging it to Mexico for the last month or…
At 7:30 a.m., darkness is just barely beginning to lift from the pre-dawn fields and forest of Cataloochee Valley. Joe…
Ken Czarnomski has always loved sketching and writing, but as a department chair for the sustainability and construction management programs…
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 15:20

Flame on!

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Color is starting to spill down the mountainsides once again. I recently received an email from a reader asking about…
A lot of people familiar with Great Smoky Mountains National Park got a surprise earlier this month when an article…
After landing back in the Eastern Time Zone, Jessica Metz had a hard time keeping her thoughts still. Eight days…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:41

Still time if you hurry

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I’ve been on the Blue Ridge Parkway the last couple of weekends and have made it a point to stop…
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:21

Timbersports team chops its way toward season opener

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Orange chaps clipped around their legs, Rankin Fender and Zac O’Connor square off inside the sawdust-and-bark-filled woodshed at Haywood Community…
“I’m gonna mark the spot with an X, right here,” says Tim Petrea, program supervisor for the Waynesville Parks and…
Downtown Cullowhee doesn’t look much like the thriving little town Rick Bennett found when he first moved to Jackson County…
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 14:24

Get out and say goodbye

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At last! I finally had a birding outing planned last Saturday – the first one since April when I helped…
Bryson City will soon have another feather in the cap proving its worth as an outdoors Mecca. If all goes…
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 15:44

And then there were none

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“As I traveled on, the air was literally filled with pigeons. The light of noon-day was obscured as by an…
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 15:25

Fish food: Aquaponics offers full-circle farming

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Tucked away along a squirrely offshoot of Jonathan Creek Road, Dennis “Bear” Forsythe’s 15-by-15-foot greenhouse is like his own private…
Despite warnings of thunderstorms earlier in the week, Aug. 22 came with a blue sky and a light breeze, temperatures…
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:48

Girls got game

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The Lake Junaluska Girls Junior Golf Association enjoyed a special play day and celebration Saturday, Aug. 9. LJGJGA members and…
Under a clear sky and afternoon sun, the winding road through Cherokee and out past Birdtown is a beautiful one.…
When Franklin RiverFest’s Anything That Floats Raft Regatta kicks off Aug. 23, Warren Cabe hopes to see the Franklin Fire…
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 14:47

What is an Appalachian forest?

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As the USDA Forest Service’s revision plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests continues to be discussed — the…
Sunrise was still hours away when the day started at Lake Logan. With the first starting gun firing at 7…
Taking a walk with Ila Hatter is the outdoors equivalent of sitting beside a scrapbooker as she pages through the…