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Wednesday, 21 January 2015 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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Beef up your beef quality

Beef producers will have a chance to learn about how quality beef production and economic gains can go hand-in-hand with a Beef Quality Assurance training at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the Jackson County Extension Center in Sylva. 

The beef quality program was created in 1987 to help beef producers raise, feed and harvest high-quality beef with a focus on practices that farmers can implement to up their beef quality while earning greater profits from healthy cattle.

Robert Hawk, 828.586.4009 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Suit up for the Lake J Polar Plunge

Daredevils will congregate along Lake Junaluska on Saturday, Jan. 31, to take the chilly plunge into the lake, all in support of youth environmental education.

Plungers can also opt to make a mad dash into the lake from the beach in lieu of a deep-water jump off the dock. Costumes are encouraged — as are spectators to witness the third annual Polar Plunge.

Hosted by Haywood Waterways Association and Lake Junaluska Assembly, the event raises money for Kids in the Creek, a hands-on learning experience for all middle-schoolers in Haywood County to get up close and personal with the Pigeon River. The program has reached over 11,000 students since its inception.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. at the Lake Junaluska beach near Waynesville and festivities start at 11:30 a.m. $25 or free by raising sponsorships, with 100 percent of proceeds going toward Haywood Waterways’ youth education programs. or mail in the registration form at Walk-ups welcome. 


Calling campground hosts to Lake Glenville

Onsite campground hosts are needed to oversee Ralph J. Andrews Park, located on Lake Glenville in Jackson County, for the 2015 camping season.

Beginning in May, campground hosts will start up their duties, including welcoming guests, collecting fees and performing some light housekeeping duties. In exchange, hosts will receive a free campsite and utilities for their camper or RV during the entire camping season. The campground is owned and operated by Jackson County.

Jennifer Bennett, 828.293.3053 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 


Brookie license plate ready to order

With more than 50 years of angling under his belt, Western Carolina University art professor Jon Jicha believes caring for the environment is a “self-evident responsibility.”

Several years ago he started wondering why, of all the myriad special interest license plates in North Carolina, none depicted the state’s two most celebrated fish. He asked N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, to sponsor a bill advocating for a native brook trout specialty plate. 

The state OK’d the specialty plates – one for brook trout and one for red drum, native to Eastern North Carolina.

“Fish are transformative animals that offer us a vehicle to a mysterious world, and the brook trout and red drum are magnificent,” he said. “And North Carolina is very fortunate to have both as native residents.”

And Jicha got to be the one to design them. 

Other than looking good on your bumper, the plates reinforce the necessity of maintaining the state’s natural resources — especially those that tend to get caught and eaten in large numbers — and to raise money to conserve them through plate sales. 

“With these plates,” Jicha added, “It was an opportunity to inject awareness and fundraising for two of our most important agencies – N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources – and their ongoing efforts to maintain our natural resources.”

Plates can be ordered at local Department of Motor Vehicles offices or online at


Call out for Clean Water grant applications

The 2015 grant cycle for the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund is underway, with applications being accepted through Feb. 2 for projects that would address North Carolina’s natural resource needs. 

In the last grant cycle, counties in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area landed $2 million in funding, including $1 million for a conservation easement by The Conservation Fund to protect 570 acres near Maggie Valley. 

For the first time, all applications will be submitted online rather than on paper. Forms are available at Grants are awarded once per year, and recipients will be announced by Aug. 26, 2015.


RV camping club calls for members

Vagabonds, a small RV camping club, is looking for new members to join for the 2015 season. 

The schedule runs April through November, with one weekend of camping planned per month, usually within 100 miles of Franklin. The 2015 schedule will go out in February. 

Outings feature campfires, potluck dinners, outdoor enjoyment and good conversation with no structured activities. No dues and all ages are welcome. 

Lillian, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.369.6669

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