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Outdoors roundup

Learn about the state of clean air in N.C.

Get the lowdown on the state of air quality in North Carolina during a webinar slated for 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30. 

The annual State of our Air Briefing and Press Conference is typically held in Asheville each year. Speakers at the new virtual event will include the director of the N.C. Division of Air Quality, the director of the WNC Air Quality Agency and the WNC District manager for Duke Energy. 

New this year will be a presentation from a meteorologist with the N.C. Department of Air Quality who will speak about changes to air quality forecasting in the mountains as well as a talk from a representative of the Blue Horizons Project who will discuss cost-effective actions to reduce energy demand and emissions. 

Registration is required at


Start Zumba

A new Zumba class will start up 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Waynesville Recreation Center. 

This 60-minute class is open to all ages and genders featuring a whole-body workout with easy choreographies and rhythms from around the world. 

Class size is limited to 10 people including the instructor. Daily admission or membership required to attend, with a mask required to enter the building. Masks may be removed during class, however. 

Register with Tom Plowman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.456.2030.


Help out Panthertown

Friends of Panthertown is hosting a series of trail workdays this fall, and all are invited to come pitch in. 

Scheduled workdays are Thursday, Oct. 29; Wednesday, Nov. 4; Thursday, Nov. 12; Saturday, Nov. 21; Saturday, Nov. 28; Wednesday, Dec. 2; Friday, Dec. 11; Saturday, Dec. 12; Saturday, Dec. 19. 

No previous trail work experience is necessary. Participants will get a guided tour of the valley and meet others who also love Panthertown. 

To sign up, visit


Clean up Fontana

A three-day cleanup will culminate the statewide Trees4Trash Neighborhood Tree Challenge taking place Oct. 31-Nov. 7.

Cleanup sessions at Fontana will be held 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 6, and Saturday, Nov. 7; as well as 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, at Fontana Dam. The cleanup is part of a slate of events hosted by the N.C. Wildlife Federation that stretches across the state and includes plantings, cleanups and giveaways.

During the cleanup events, volunteers will collect trash and return it to the event leader for weighing, and each person who turns in a 25-pound bag of trash will receive one tree or shrub to plant. The goal over the course of the week is to remove 3,000 pounds of trash in North Carolina and plant 500 native trees and shrubs in underserved communities and areas near water. 

Due to COVID-19 protocols and space limitations, participants must register online at


Be BearWise

With temperatures falling, bear activity is increasing, and biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are reminding people to protect themselves and bears by following the six BearWise(r) Basics to reduce potential conflicts.

• Never feed or approach bears. 

• Secure food, garbage and recycling.

• Remove bird feeders when bears are active. 

• Never leave pet food outdoors. 

• Clean and store grills. 

• Alert neighbors to bear activity. 

Bears’ appetites are biologically programmed to go into hyperdrive in the fall because they need to put on a thick layer of life-sustaining fat before they turn in for the winter. During this time, bears must consume 10 times as many calories as they need during the spring and summer, which means finding 20,000 calories a day or more. To find those extra calories, bears will often forage outside of their normal ranges, venturing near homes, campgrounds and trails, and trying to cross busy highways to find food.

Learn more at


Venture into the Arctic 

A display of 50 powerful paintings showcasing the most remote and wild corners of the Canadian Arctic is on display through Jan. 3 at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville. 

“Into the Arctic” is a project from Canadian painter Cory Trépanier, who completed four purposeful expeditions over a decade in order to paint the scenes. This traveling exhibit is a time capsule of some of the planet’s most spectacular yet fragile landscapes. Traveling only with a pack full of painting, filming and camping gear, Trépanier traversed more than 40,000 kilometers, through six Arctic National Parks and 16 Arctic communities, to a biosphere so remote and untouched that most of its vast landscape has never been painted before. 

Trépanier is a recipient of the Stefansson Medal, the highest award of The Explorers Club of Canada, and is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Entrance to the exhibit is free with the arboretum’s standard $16 parking fee. Face coverings are required for visitors age 5 and older.


Panther Top Fire Tower will remain closed this fall

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Panther Top Fire Tower on the Tusquitee Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest will not open this fall.


Buy national forest passes online

A new online platform allows visitors to the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests to pay day use fees online at at no additional cost. 

Digital passes are available for Cheoah Point Beach, Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, Whitewater Falls, Jackrabbit Mountain Beach and Roan Mountain. 

Because many areas of the national forest have limited cell reception, it’s best to buy passes before heading to the destination. Passes can be printed and placed on the dashboard, but this is not required because rangers can use license plates to validate passholders. 

To purchase a pass online go to or search “National Forests in North Carolina Digital Passes” at the homepage.


Donate to the Power of Pink

The 14th annual Power of Pink 5K is canceled due to COVID-19, but funds are still needed to help low-income people in Haywood County pay for breast cancer screenings, the cause that event proceeds typically support. 

To contribute to the Power of Pink, call 828.452.8343 or visit

Next year’s race will take place on Sept. 25, 2021. 

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