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Wednesday, 25 February 2015 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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Trees talk at  Smokies program 

Trees have plenty of stories to tell, and naturalist Ila Hatter will relate their tales during a fireside chat 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Hatter, has more than 25 years of experience teaching the cultural heritage of plants. She will regale her listeners while they enjoy hot apple cider, sassafras tea and wild spice cookies during this Great Smoky Mountains Association program. 

Located just inside the entrance to the park on U.S. 441, north of Cherokee. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 865.436.7318, ext. 222 or 254. $15 for Great Smoky Mountains Association members and $35 for nonmembers, with a complimentary membership included. 


Learn to grow shittakes

A class on growing shiitake mushrooms will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the Macon County Environmental Resource Center. 

A classroom session will explain what’s involved with Shiitake growing, and then participants will drill their logs to inoculate them with mushroom spores. They’ll leave with two inoculated logs and the ability to inoculate more later. 

Register by Feb. 27. $10.

Macon County Cooperative Extension Center, 828.349.2046.


Paddle races to bring in spring at NOC

A family-friendly slalom and downriver race on the Nantahala River will bring in first-time racers and competitive paddlers alike to run the water near Nantahala Outdoor Center Feb. 28 and March 1. 

The Glacier Breaker weekend will begin Feb. 28 with a Class II downriver sprint at Donnie Dutton Park at 11:30 a.m., followed by the Class II slalom at Nantahala Bridge Gates at noon. The next day, the downriver classic will run at 11:30 a.m. at Ledges Rapid. Awards will follow each set of races. 

On-site signup will be available both days from 9 to 10 a.m. $30. Open to all ages. Presented by the Nantahala Racing Club. 

828.785.5082 or www.noc.com/events/nrc-glacier-breaker.


Get the story on salamanders

This weekend will be all about salamanders and newts at Gorges State Park, located 6 miles outside of Sapphire on the border of Jackson and Transylvania counties. 

• At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, a program called “Salamanders of the Gorges” will introduce participants to the many kinds of salamanders that can be found in the park. Meet at the Visitor Center Auditorium. 

• At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, the “Neat Newts! Hike” will traverse a half-mile trail to a pond that’s home to plenty of newts. Cameras, sturdy shoes and winter gear are recommended. Meet at the Grassy Ridge/Rainbow Falls trailhead. 

• At 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, park visitors will have a chance to meet the endangered green salamander, which makes its home in the park. Meet at the Visitor Center Auditorium. 


Smokies superintendent meet-and-greet rescheduled 

Winter weather forced the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to postpone an open house welcoming new Superintendent Cassius last week, but the event has been rescheduled.

A meet-and-greet will be held 4-6 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center just north of Cherokee. A second open house in Bryson City occurred as planned Feb. 24. Two are also being held on the Tennessee side of the park.


Outdoor youth leadership program debuts in Waynesville

Waynesville Parks and Recreation is launching a new youth outdoor leadership program in March, with weekly activities planned to build teamwork, teach outdoors skills and ethics and give students the confidence they need to enjoy the backcountry safely. 

A mandatory meeting for participants and their parents will kick off the program, 6 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the Waynesville Recreation Center. 

The program is for students ages 12-15, with a registration fee of $20. The March 5 meeting will detail additional fees associated with the program. Space is limited. Tim Petrea, 828.456.2030 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 

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