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Wednesday, 23 July 2014 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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N.C. continues to stave off chronic wasting disease

North Carolina is still clear of chronic wasting disease, according to a recent statewide survey by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. 

“CWD proves devastating to populations of cervids — the family of mammals that includes white-tailed deer, elk, mule deer and moose,” said Dr. Maria Palamar, wildlife veterinarian for the N.C. Wildlife Commission. “The indications of this survey are welcome news.”

The survey included samples of more than 3,800 deer and a few elk beginning in 2013 and continuing through early 2014. 

The disease spreads readily among hoofed animals, but despite being present in nearby Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, North Carolina has kept it at bay, thanks in part to strict rules about transporting live animals, meat or animal parts across state lines.


Smokies tackles landmark restoration

Repair work on a pair of historic houses in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closing in for the finish. 

• The Hiram Caldwell House in Cataloochee Valley will reopen July 26, having been closed since June 9. The reopened building will sport newly repaired features and a repainted exterior. 

• The Noah Bud Ogle Cabin, meanwhile, closed July 21 and will remain so through Aug. 15 to replace the wood shake roof, excepting Saturdays and Sundays. 

• Work to reset and regrout flagstone at the Rockefeller monument at Newfound Gap will begin Aug. 4 and last through Sept. 30, Monday through Thursday during normal business hours. The monument and comfort stations will remain open. 


Golf for veterans

A golf tournament beginning 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 4, sponsored by Mountaintop Rotary of Highlands will benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundations. Registration is due July 30, with the $150 fee including a round of golf, hors d’oeuvres and prizes. Call Bill Zoeller at 828.787.2323 for registration information. 


5K to benefit brain cancer research

Cataloochee Ranch will honor the grandson of its founders at the first annual Richard’s Run on Aug. 16, a 5K mountain trail run to benefit brain cancer research.

Maggie Valley resident Richard Coker lost his long and hard-fought battle with brain cancer in December 2013. Coker, 55, was the grandson of Cataloochee Ranch founders “Mr. Tom” and “Miss Judy” Alexander and an active member of the present-day ranch family.

The run begins at 10 a.m. and will cross the mile-high ranch grounds through open meadows, across creeks and along wooded trails, with Hemphill Bald — one of Richard Coker’s favorite places — as a dramatic backdrop.

The $25 entry fee includes a race T-shirt, water, beer, hot dogs and fruit at the finish line. There will be first-place trophies for males and females in various age categories. The day’s events will also include prize drawings and a performance by Waynesville bluegrass band Eddie Rose and Highway Forty.

Full details can be found at


Sandy Mush Butterfly count seeks volunteers

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the North American Butterfly Association are looking for volunteers to help with the fifth annual NABA Butterfly Count, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 4 on the Sandy Mush Game Land.

Volunteers will help count butterflies on the 2,600-acre property, which straddles Buncombe and Madison counties, a butterfly hotspot. 

“Daily species counts in previous years have exceeded 50, with 66 species seen over the last four years,” said Doug Johnston, count coordinator. “We’ve seen very common species, such as Eastern tiger swallowtails, Horace’s duskywings and Carolina satyrs, and we’ve also seen less common species, such as Delaware skippers.”

Meet at the kiosk parking lot in front of Cedar Hill Baptist Church, 474 Cedar Hill Rd. in Alexander. Rain date is Aug. 8. 

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Local educator receives national training scholarship

Marsha LaFontaine, teacher at Summit Charter School in Cashiers, is in the midst of a five-day session of workshops, speakers and field trips for environmental educators thanks to a scholarship from national and local Audubon Societies. The award paid tuition for a full week of Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine. 

LaFontaine was selected due to her professionalism, leadership and dedication as a teacher.

“She has partnered with Audubon in the past few years in several ways and has an amazing gift to inspire students to become life-long learners,” said Michelle Styring of the Highlands Audubon Society.

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