White dots will soon pepper the sidewalks of downtown Sylva as the town sets out to claim its identity as a trail town and mark the official route of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which runs through Sylva on its way from Clingmans Dome to the Outer Banks.

The trail traverses the state of North Carolina, offering a walking route 1,175 miles long that, true to its name, takes hikers from the state’s highest mountains to its interface with the sea. And a section of the trail travels right through downtown Sylva, something that Sylva attorney and Friends of the MST board member Jay Coward is urging town leaders to capitalize on. He also has plans to speak to the Dillsboro Board of Aldermen.

Double-digit increases in both monthly and year-to-date tourist spending have the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority flush with cash, but still seeking to build on better-than-projected collections.

Spring can be a scramble at the High Hampton Inn and Country Club in Cashiers. Every year, after a long and quiet winter, the business prepares to reopen its kitchens, its golf greens, its rooms and welcome back the guests as trees leaf out and the cool mountain summer begins. 

• Larger labor pool, longer season make Sylva hiring easier
• Haywood County employers need workers

To meet the challenge, High Hampton’s human resources manager Sydneye Trudics embarks on a rampage of hiring, in a matter of months nearly quadrupling the club’s staff from a cold-weather crew of 50 to a summer peak somewhere north of 180. It’s not an easy task.

After two years of meetings, research and public input, the Jackson County Comprehensive Land Use Plan must go through one more round of public comment before commissioners can give it final approval. A public hearing is scheduled for 5:50 p.m. Monday, June 19, at the Jackson County Justice Center.

A lagging recovery from the Great Recession and the continuing loss of a major tourist attraction in Maggie Valley haven’t slowed growth of the tourism industry in Haywood County. 

There’s an old adage in business that says, simply, “If it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed.”

Since before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was chartered in 1934, Western North Carolina has been a sought-after destination for tourists from across the country and across the world. 

Todd Dillard isn’t the kind of guy who leaves anything to chance. What-ifs are his forte, as they should be for the Jackson County emergency management director.

Opened atop Buck Mountain in 1961, Wild West-themed Ghost Town in the Sky used to draw as many as 600,000 visitors a year to Maggie Valley, but after a combination of maladministration, mechanical difficulties and even a landslide, the park began opening intermittently, and then not at all, leaving a gaping hole in the local tourism economy.

Rainbow Falls Trail: The Rainbow Falls Trail is the next trail in line to get a complete rehabilitation through the Smokies Trails Forever program, funded by Friends of the Smokies. 

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