Outdoors roundupWritten by Admin
Macon library gets kudos from A.T. Conservancy
The Macon County Public Library has been designated an Appalachian Trail Community Supporter by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for its work to bring public awareness to the resources and economic opportunities the trail brings the town of Franklin, which is an A.T. Community. These efforts include an annual two-week “Walking With Spring” program series that corresponds with the thru-hiker season in Franklin and highlights the trail and its hikers, free Internet access to hikers and support of Nantahala Hiking Club programs.
Bears warnings posted for the Smokies
Bear activity in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has some trails and backcountry campsites closed and others tagged with warnings.
Bear closures: Spence Field shelter, backcountry sites 13, 18, 21 and 113.
Bear warnings: Gregory Bald Trail, Wolf Ridge Trail between Parsons Bald and the junction of Gregory Bald Trail, Mollies Ridge Shelter, backcountry site 24, Appalachian Trail from Shuckstack to Doe Knob, Bull Head, Curry Mountain, Rainbow Falls, Twin Creeks and Noah Bud Ogle Nature trails.
Other Trail Closures: Scott Mountain Trail past site six to Schoolhouse Gap. Gunter Fork trail is closed due to a landslide. Chimney Tops Trail will be closed Monday through Thursday through mid-October for repairs.
Aid available for weather-related losses
Growers who have incurred any agriculture-related losses since Oct. 1, 2011, should contact the Farm Service Agency by Aug. 1 for possible assistance. Livestock feed losses, livestock losses, extra feed cost, lost honeybees, Christmas tree or nursery stock loss all apply. The losses could be related but not limited to decreased hay and corn quality and quantity from high rainfall last spring and feed or livestock losses or extra costs due to the hard winter of 2012-13.
Contact your local Farm Service Agency.
Take camp cookery to the next level
Campers will have a chance to learn how to spice up the backcountry menu with a class at 5:30 p.m. July 24 at the Ralph J. Andrews Campground in Glenville in Jackson County.
The class will include instruction on a variety of stoves as well as a section on camp kitchen safety. The registration deadline is July 18 and participation is limited to 12 people.
$6. RSVP to either the Cullowhee or Glenville/Cashiers recreation center.
828.293.3053 or 828.631.2020.
Fracking films screened in WNC
Groups concerned about the possibility of hydraulic fracturing, a form of natural gas extraction known as fracking, are bringing a few free movie screenings to Western North Carolina. The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River, Western North Carolina Alliance, Clean Water for North Carolina and Swain County’s Coalition Against Fracking in WNC have contributed to bring the movies here.
n “Gasland I” will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at the Swain Center for the Performing Arts in Bryson City. Done by filmmaker Josh Fox, the movie looks at communities in the United States affected by fracking.
n “Triple Divide,” a film that follows an 18-month investigation into fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale by independent journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, will have two separate screenings: 7 p.m. July 29 at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City; 6:30 p.m. July 30 at the Mad Batter in Sylva.
n “Gasland II” will be shown 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at Nantahala Brewing in Bryson City. The sequel to Gasland I, the film argues that natural gas is not the clean energy it’s been billed as and criticizes the oil and gas industry as “contaminating our democracy.”
Get your nature ID on
A series of five-day workshops at Highlands Biological Station will help participants master the names of the plants and insects in the forest around them. The station offers these workshops each year to provide in-depth study of special topics relevant to the Southern Appalachians.
• Shrub identification, taught by Larry Mellichamp, will be held July 21-25. Students will learn how to identify common and rare native shrubs and learn about their natural history and the relationships between them.
• Butterfly and moth identification, taught by Dave Alsop, will also be held July 21-25. Students will explore the diversity and identification of members of the Lepidoptera insect order, which includes 179 species of butterflies and 869 of moths in North Carolina alone. Prepared specimens will be available, and Alsop will discuss flight patterns in various families. Afternoon and evening collecting using black lights will also be part of the class.
• Insect identification, taught by Dave Alsop, will be held July 28-Aug. 2. The workshop will explore the most commonly seen insects in the area. Alsop will discuss methods for preserving and identifying insects as well as the environmental constraints that dictate where insects occur. Afternoon and evening black light collecting will demonstrate the diversity of insects around the area.
Workshops meet 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are located at Highlands Biological Station. Open to all skill levels. $350 for a full week; $300 for members at the Sagee level or above. Housing available for an additional fee.
www.highlandsbiological.org/summer-2014 or 828.526.2602.
Biking association seeks new blood
Hike and picnic with Haywood Waterways
A hike to explore the newly renovated Graveyard Fields area of the Blue Ridge Parkway will accompany Haywood Waterways Association’s annual summer picnic on Saturday, July 19.
The picnic, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be held at Rivers Edge Park on Thickety Road in Clyde. Food and drink are provided, though it’s always OK to bring something to share. Musical instruments have also been known to appear, and there’s a walking trail, two playgrounds, horseshoe pits and a boat launch to enjoy as well.
After the picnic, Haywood Waterways will carpool to Graveyard Fields for a hike. The site just underwent a major renovation, so the group will explore the new facilities and talk about the headwaters found there. A large portion of Haywood County water originates from the Graveyard Fields area. Carpool from Clyde, or meet at Music Box Junction in Bethel at 2:30 p.m., or meet at Graveyard Fields parking area at 3:15 p.m.
Volunteers needed for Lake Logan races
The Lake Logan Multisport Festival is expanding its race offerings this year, and it’s calling on the community to supply the volunteers to make that happen.
More than 1,300 athletes are expected to flock to Haywood County the first weekend in August as the Lake Logan multi-sport event continues its rise in popularity and prominence. The race has been a magnet for multisport athletes nationwide since its inception in 2006.
The Lake Logan races, held Aug. 2-3, have grown in their lineup over the years to include various combinations:
• a traditional swim-bike-run triathlon
• a swim-run race known as the aquathon
• a swim-bike race aptly called the aquabike.
This year, the triathlon lineup will not only include a sprint distance and international distance, but also a half-iron distance. That race will consist of a 1.2-mile swim, 52-mile bike and 13.1-mile run.
“The addition of the Half to the Lake Logan schedule is a natural progression of the event,” says Glory Hound Events president, Greg Duff. “The half-iron distance has become very popular and our position on the race calendar makes this a perfect prep race for those racing longer distances in the fall. It will bring a different type of athlete to Lake Logan and enhance the other four races as well.”
Breakaway bikes the Blue Ridge
Registration is open for Blue Ridge Breakaway, an annual cycling event based in Haywood County, held on Aug. 16.
There are four rides of varying lengths and difficulty levels. The Blue Ridge Breakaway is put on by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce as a way of showcasing the county as a road biking destination.
The ride begins at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, and routes designed for beginners and avid cyclists alike provide an adrenaline-pumping ride down country lanes and scenic byways, over mountain passes through valleys and past forests, farms and rivers. The Hawk and Trout rides, which are 105.8 and 75 miles respectively, include the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Panther and Rabbit rides, 50.8 and 26.5 miles, have less total elevation gain.
Space is limited, and early registrants get a discount. Registration ranges from $40 to $55, with jerseys available for an additional $65.
Smokies Sunday programs focus on elk
Sunday afternoons are all about the elk at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A weekly summer program at 3 p.m. on Sundays through Aug. 3 on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the main entrance to the park on U.S. 441 will share the story of the return of the elk to the park, which disappeared for more than a century before their reintroduction. The 45-minute program is called “Welcome Home.”
At 5:30 p.m. on Sundays through Aug. 3, a junior ranger program at the Palmer House in Cataloochee Valley will teach young people about the connection and balance necessary in nature to ensure survival for elk and other species. Learn about elk history through show and tell activities. The 45-minute program will end with an invitation to stay and watch elk come into the fields.
Volunteers wanted for Smokies backcountry trail work weeks
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is looking for volunteers to join its Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail Crew for the 2014 season. The SWEAT Crew is a mobile group that maintains trails in the heart of the Smokies. Volunteers should be experienced hikers who love to work hard and experience the backcountry with others who share the same love for it. Each session lasts six days, with food, lodging, training, equipment and transportation to and from the work site provided.
Upcoming sessions are: July 16-21; July 26-30; Aug. 13-1 and Aug. 22-26.