Rains cause wastewater spills in Haywood
Beginning Jan. 14, and due to the heavy rains, Waynesville had several wastewater overflows. One took place at a manhole adjacent to Richland Creek at Howell Mill Road. An estimated 600,000 gallons spilled out until Jan. 20 when the flow was stopped. Other such flows happened near the county fairgrounds, where 400,000 gallons spilled out and flowed into Richland Creek, and near the Hazelwood Town Hall where an estimated 100,000 gallons left the sewer system.
Smokies to start charging backpackers
Changes to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park backcountry reservation and permit system will officially take effect on Feb. 13. Backcountry camping was previously free, but will now cost $4 per person, per night.
A new advance reservation system will also be put in place, allowing backcountry campers to make reservations and obtain permits online, up to 30 days in advance. The new site is www.smokiespermits.nps.gov.
Backcountry camping in the Smokies is allowed at designated sites only. While the number of people at a given site on a given night is limited, the former permit system didn’t ensure that. Do-it-yourself permit stations were mounted on posts at remote trailheads, allowing backpackers to self-register by slipping a form in a drop box, which were collected later by rangers.
For sites in high demand, backpackers had to call in and make reservations in advance, but the backcountry desk had limited days and hours of operation.
The park plans to staff an expanded backcountry trip planning desk and increase its backcountry ranger presence.
Jump on the 4-H bandwagon in Haywood
Haywood County 4-H will host a kick-off on Monday, Feb. 4, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Haywood Cooperative Extension Center in Waynesville. The event is geared toward existing and new members, and will serve as a brainstorming session to plan the coming year’s activities and projects.
The evening’s festivities will include teambuilding activities, a teen leadership council meeting, an electrical workshop and a talk about environmental issues pertaining to water, wildlife, forestry, soils and land use. There will also be pizza, drinks and other activities.
Learn to be a lifeguard
The aquatics area of the Midwest Health & Fitness Center in Haywood County will hold an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training certification course Feb. 21-24.
Classes will last between five and nine hours each day. Completion earns a two-year lifeguard and CPR certification, suitable for employment at pools across the country. The course costs $235 for MedWest Health and Fitness Center members, and $255 for non-members.
HCC offers boating safety course
A boating safety course will be held from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m on Jan. 28 and 29 at Haywood Community College.
The course, put on by the HCC’s Natural Resources Division and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, will result in a boater safety certification. Free, but pre-registration required.