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Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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Cherokee student wins photography contest

A Cherokee student won second place in a photography contest sponsored by Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. 

Acecia Lambert’s entry, “Learning About Canopy,” is a photograph of the fall leaves overhead on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Mingus Creek and earned second in the youth photographer division. 

“In a science program about salamanders, we had to record what the canopy cover was. Now I know what that actually is, I like looking up at the canopy,” Lambert said. 

Lambert’s submission was one of many sent in by classmates in Jessica Metz-Bugg’s Seeking Paths in Nature program, a partnership between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee Central Schools. 

“All those photos, and about a million more, were taken when we gave students digital cameras to use and document their hike and the whole day at the park. It was a great experience for all involved!” Metz-Bugg said.   

A list of winners and a link to the photos is online at


Summer scene wins Highlands contest

When Melanie Ham hiked to the top of Sunset Rock with her son and daughter this summer, she probably had no idea that the photo she would take that beautiful July day would win top honors in an historic photography contest.  

“Brother and Sister in the Clouds” won Best in Show in Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust’s Sunsetennial Photography Contest Amateur Division, which was judged by Sallie Taylor, Executive Director of The Bascom. The contest was held in honor of the Land Trust’s Sunsetennial: 100 Years of Conserving Ravenel Park, home of Sunset and Sunrise Rocks in Highlands. The Land Trust has been celebrating this historic anniversary throughout the year.

In 1914, the Ravenel family donated their family land to be used as a public park for all to enjoy in perpetuity — the HCLT now owns and cares for the park. 

The Amateur Division will be on display at the Hudson Library in Highlands through Jan. 15, 2015.


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


Public input sought on Sandy Mush Game Lands management

Draft management plans for seven game lands across North Carolina, including Sandy Mush Game Land straddling Buncombe and Madison counties, are out. 

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has posted the plans online at and will accept comments through Jan. 16. The plan will guide management of the game lands for the next 10 years. 

Earlier this year, the Wildlife Commission conducted a public input process to develop a management plan for Needmore Game Lands, a 4,800-acre tract located in Macon and Swain counties.

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