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Outdoors

These days, Brendon Voelker’s life revolves around running, but eight years ago the Texas native was still struggling to complete his first mile.   

He was overweight and out of shape back then, and while he could happily spend a day riding around on his road bike, running a mile was out of the question. But after a weight loss journey that left him 80 pounds lighter, Voelker made it a personal goal to get that first mile under his belt. By the end of 2013, he’d completed a nonstop 5K for the first time, and the distances ballooned from there. 

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A grant from the U.S. Forest Service will help the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians expand and connect the Hall Mountain Community Forest to the Little Tennessee River.

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Liz Hall has been selected as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s first emergency manager.

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The popular ArborEvenings after-hours series at the N.C. Arboretum will return this year with a toy-filled twist. 

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A 4-mile hike will offer a crash course on the local trees and woody plants of Haywood County on Saturday, July 18. 

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Help clean up Richland Creek 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 11, at the Waynesville Recreation Park. 

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Back when the trip was a new idea, I don’t think either of us took it seriously. Three weeks on the road, at a time when most American cars were sitting idle in the driveway? Thousands of miles of driving through sand and snow, mountain and desert, far from home? Surely this was just a pie-in-the-sky dream borne from the hunger pangs of quarantine, nothing more. 

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A plan that would create a 150-mile-plus trail network through Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties is now out for public comment. 

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On Saturday, June 20, Grandfather Mountain bid farewell to Gerry the black bear. Gerry was humanely euthanized following a long history of debilitating arthritis. She was 31 years old. In the wild, black bears live into their early 20s, while those in captivity can live up to and beyond 30. 

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According to guidance from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, farmers markets fall under the same classification as grocery stores and are considered an important source of food for local communities. 

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For cycling enthusiasts across the region, warmer weather means one thing — time to start pedaling. With a variety of organized rides underway in the mountains, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the roads and trails with other pedalers. 

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