It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for water-lovers in Western North Carolina.
After more than a decade of hydropower relicensing negotiations and years more of permitting and construction, Duke Energy is finishing a slate of river accesses that will make the Tuckasegee one of the most accessible rivers in the Southeast. At the same time, a collective effort to create an interactive map showing where and how to recreate on Western North Carolina waterways — using a tool called Smoky Mountain Blueways — is wrapping up, further boosting WNC’s future as a Mecca for outdoors lovers of all skill levels.
A community museum and learning center at Fontana Village along Fontana Lake will commemorate the 70th anniversary of power production at Fontana Dam, thanks to an alliance between Proctor Revival Organization, Fontana Village Resort, Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team and Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center.
A three-year stream-mapping project in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now complete, revealing new information about the park’s water resources.
Using a combination of aircraft-mounted scanners and a Global Positioning System verification system, scientists determined that the park holds 2,900 miles of stream, 1,073 miles of which are large enough to support fish. That’s a considerable jump from the previous estimate of 2,000 miles of stream in the park.