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coverThe woods are quiet on a cool Saturday morning in late March. There’s no wind swaying the still-bare trees or the rhododendrons clustered along streambeds. In this, one of the most remote trails of the Shining Rock Wilderness of Pisgah National Forest, the only sound comes from the occasional squirrel plowing through the bed of fallen leaves or bird sounding its call through the woods. 

But then a soft buzz begins to float through the air. It pauses briefly, replaced by the sound of voices. A group of three is clustered around a fallen log, probably 2 or 3 feet in diameter, that’s lying across the faint path of the East Fork Trail. They analyze its position on the mountainside, its angle of contact with another trunk below the trail and the severity of the slope. Finally, trail crew volunteers Scotty Bowen and Richard Evans start up again with the crosscut saw, and the buzzing resumes.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:07

A boon for bears

out itsabarBear management will get a boost in the Smokies with $4,000 in Appalachian Trail license plate sales to go toward repairing damaged cables in the cable-and-pulley systems installed at each backcountry campsite and shelter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

out richlandVolunteers are needed to help Haywood Waterways root the invasive plants out of Richland Creek’s banks at Vance Street Park in Waynesville. From 2 to 5 p.m. April 29, the group will remove Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet, Chinese privet and Japanese honeysuckle.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:05

Skatepark closed for repairs

out skateparkThe Waynesville Skate Park will be closed from April 28 to May 2 for repairs. The park will reopen May 3.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:03

Smokies celebrate Junior Ranger Day

out jrrangerNational Junior Ranger Day will spur festivities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 26 at Oconaluftee, Sugarlands and Cades Cove visitor centers.