Help Hike 1,175 Miles in One Day

On September 9, 2017, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail need you to collaborate with hundreds of others across North Carolina to hike and paddle the entire 1,175 miles of the MST in one day. Registration is now open for all legs – follow the instructions on mstinaday.org to sign up. MST in a Day commemorates a speech on September 9, 1977 by Howard Lee, then the...

Learn More

Yellowstone Prong, Blue Ridge Parkway

Yellowstone Prong has some of the most rugged terrain in all of the Pisgah Ranger District. Paralleling the Blue Ridge Parkway from Looking Glass Rock Overlook at milepost 417, and climbing the drainage from Skinny Dip Falls to Yellowstone Falls, this hike in, along, and above Yellowstone Prong may be the most challenging mile I have undertaken. You will scramble over...

Learn More

Land, water protection favored by both GOP, Democrats in NC

Apparently protection for forests, parks, family farms land and clean water trumps all when it comes to taking political sides. This is according to a poll released April 4, 2017 that shows residents from all political parties across North Carolina support land and water conservation. Seventy-three percent of the 600 registered voters polled said they would support...

Learn More

Cradle of Forestry 2017 Season Kicks Off April 8

The Cradle of Forestry in America historic site will begin the 2017 season on April 8 with a living history event, “Old Time Plowing and Folkways.” David and Diane Burnette from Haywood County will demonstrate how their Percheron draft horses work the land the old way. Weather permitting, they will plow the Cradle’s vegetable garden along the Biltmore...

Learn More

Franklin Trail Days welcomes A.T. hikers

Franklin Trail Days is here for 2017 in Macon County, North Carolina with a lineup of activities on tap to rejuvenate tired Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and entertain local trail enthusiasts. • The First Baptist Church of Franklin is offering its annual free hiker breakfast seven days per week through April 9. All-you-can-eat pancakes and bacon are on the menu with van...

Learn More

Earliest Spring Wildflowers at Little Bradley Falls – A Photo Essay

Some of the earliest wildflowers of the new season can be found on the Green River Game Lands near the North and South Carolina border. The elevation isn’t quite as high here as it is in most of the mountains of WNC, so the flowers get a little bit of a head start. Look for chickweed, rue anenome, wake robin trillium, blue and Canadian violets, robins plantain and...

Learn More

Indian Creek and Juney Whank Loops at Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Deep Creek is one of many popular recreation areas found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Camping and picnicking are in abundance, as well as plenty of waterways for fishing and tubing. The assorted hiking trails also make it a fun destination for you and me. This hike, a combination of two different small loop trails affords the opportunity to visit the three...

Learn More

Massive camera trapping project goes statewide in NC

Do you ever wonder what animals lurk in the wildest parts of the state? Or in your own backyard? With spring just around the corner, now is a great time for North Carolina residents, particularly those in the central and western parts of the state, to help uncover the secrets of local wildlife. By participating in “NC’s Candid Critters,” a new research project of the...

Learn More

Shut-in Ridge Trail to Ferrin Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway

The Shut-in Ridge Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail are one as they traverse the Blue Ridge from the North Carolina Arboretum to Mt. Pisgah. Along the way, there are several jumping on and off points where you can access this trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway, enabling short day hikes. One of these short sub-sections is along Bent Creek Gap Road at BRP milepost 400....

Learn More

Fonta Flora Trail links foothills, mountains near Asheville

It was a sleepy little town where farmers worked the rich land along the Linville River. The Burke County town of Fonta Flora was also once home to a post office, the Rhyne School and Old Sardis Church of 1838. But starting in 1916 the residents were dispersed and displaced to higher ground as the Catawba and Linville rivers and Paddy’s Creek were dammed to create Lake...

Learn More

New Year’s Eve at Cataloochee – A Photo Essay

Cataloochee Valley in the Smokies is of course most popular during the green seasons. People come from far and wide to experience the wildflowers in Spring, the myriad of hiking trails in Summer, and the exciting elk rut and colorful foliage in Fall. But Winter too has its appeal. Perhaps the best reason to go to Cataloochee in winter is the solitude. The crowds are...

Learn More

The head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality wants states to choose which laws to enforce

The head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump last week, asking him to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency. The letter requests that Trump “return environmental leadership to the states,” “place a moratorium on currently proposed and new federal regulations,” “work with state governors and...

Learn More

Western North Carolina Counties Help Direct Firefighter Donations

Firefighters in western North Carolina greatly appreciate the donations they have received from community members and businesses. The generosity has been overwhelming for volunteer fire departments and Forest Service offices. In an effort to manage donated materials, North Carolina Department of Emergency Management, in cooperation with the Western North Carolina...

Learn More

Hiking 500 Miles in the Smokies

The first time I went to Great Smoky Mountains National Park more than 15 years ago I knew it was someplace special. But it took me nearly 10 more years before I ever set foot on one of her trails. Work kept me busy and I had different recreational interests, but when I got serious about hiking around 2008, you couldn’t hold me back. Most of my early hikes were...

Learn More

Joint Information Center Opens to Provide NC Wildfire Information

A joint information center is now open to provide timely and accurate information about wildfires in western North Carolina and related issues. This one-stop information center will provide the public with updates on wildfires, evacuations and shelters, road and trail closures, air quality, current burning restrictions, and the schedule for public meetings for wildfires....

Learn More

Highly Skilled Firefighters Use Blasting to Remove Hazard Trees

Bug kill and severe drought conditions have weakened and killed trees throughout the southeastern US, including North Carolina. On the Boteler Fire, in Clay County, a tiny invasive insect—the hemlock wooley adelgid—has had a devastating effect on established stands of the magnificent eastern hemlock. Some of these trees are 20 to 30 inches in diameter and up to 100 feet...

Learn More

TOTAL FIRE BAN in effect for Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina are implementing a TOTAL FIRE BAN due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. Beginning on November 10, 2016, the following restrictions are in place for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests until further notice: Building, maintaining,...

Learn More

Buck Spring to Pilot Rock, Pisgah National Forest

Starting at the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Pisgah, this hike crosses the summit of Little Bald Mountain before dropping down the watershed to Pilot Rock, one of the many plutons found within the Pisgah Ranger District. The high country is home to thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron, while various maples, oaks and...

Learn More

Forest farming can bring economic, environmental benefits to WNC

Farming: For most of us, the word conjures images of geometric rows of vegetables, cows contentedly grazing in well-mown pastures, and carefully pruned and tended orchards bearing grocery-store-bin fruit. In Western North Carolina, however, that traditional image of farming is being met with an alternate view: of the cultivation of ginseng and other medicinal native...

Learn More

Why the heck are there pig farms in the path of hurricanes?

Some 2 million chickens and at least 4,800 pigs drowned after Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina earlier this month. The storm inundated massive pools of hog feces and piles of chicken manure, spreading pollution from North Carolina’s thriving pork and poultry industry into the surrounding woods, rivers, and swamps. “I’m seeing a lot of devastation out there,” said...

Learn More

Fall Foliage Time on the Blue Ridge Parkway – A Photo Essay

There aren’t many places in Western North Carolina better for Autumn leaf peeping than the Blue Ridge Parkway. On Monday, October 17, 2016 I set out to demonstrate that by taking a little tour between mileposts 410 and 420. But first I had to get there. I went up the Pisgah Ridge on Scenic Hwy 276, passing the Cradle of Forestry along the way. I arrived at the Cold...

Learn More

North Carolina’s record floods could have unexpected environmental consequences

Hurricane Matthew swept across the southeastern seaboard of the United States this weekend, bringing intense rainfall to North Carolina and triggering record flooding across much of the state. But as the rains subside and clearer weather rolls in, some environmentalists are raising alarm bells about the potential for yet another environmental disaster. Over the weekend,...

Learn More

FWS decision dooms North Carolina’s red wolves

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its plan for the future of the red wolf recovery program in North Carolina. Rather than confront the real challenges facing the effort to recover the world’s most endangered wolf species, FWS instead presented a roadmap for a disastrous retreat, announcing that it was going to try to save red wolves by pulling them out of...

Learn More

Balsam Mountain Trail to Laurel Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This remote corner of the Smokies isn’t easy to get to, but your efforts will be rewarded with solitude, quiet, peaceful 2nd growth forest, and a pensive wandering. The Cherokee lived on one side of the ridge. The Cataloochee settlers on the other. They met in the middle to graze their cattle on “The Ledge” between the two. The bald knobs are reforested...

Learn More

Construction starting on Mountains-to-Sea Trail bridge in Price Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway

On Wednesday, August 24, 2016 construction began on a new 80-foot pedestrian bridge for North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Boone and Blowing Rock. The bridge, in the popular Price Lake Picnic Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway, will allow hikers to avoid a knee-deep wade across Boone Fork as they walk from the Boone Fork Trail over to Shulls Mill Road,...

Learn More

Long Bunk Trail at Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The forest north of Cataloochee Valley in the Mt. Sterling watershed has recovered nicely from logging activities a century ago. It is dense, rich and diverse… a verdant testimony to Nature’s ability to reinvigorate herself. This hike starts at the north end of Little Cataloochee on Mt. Sterling Road and meets Long Bunk Trail a mile later. Long Bunk is a near...

Learn More

Foggy Morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway – A Photo Essay

Every couple weeks or so during the green seasons I travel up to milepost 413 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Friends of the BRP has a volunteer program called Adopt-an-Overlook that I have participated in for six years. I am responsible for keeping Pounding Mill Overlook clean and green, trash free, and desirable for the tourists. Saturday, August 13, 2016 was one of those...

Learn More

What to do and see in Bat Cave, Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, N.C.

Travelers heading east on I-26 in North Carolina have surely shaken their heads a bit after passing exit 49. In fact, it might inspire a flashback to a classic TV show about a dynamic duo. The exit, like it says, leads to Bat Cave, but people hoping to catch a glimpse of Batman might instead have to settle for the community’s dynamic setting with...

Learn More

DISMANTLED — The North Carolina Government’s Attack on Environmental Protections

After decades of protecting North Carolina’s natural resources as well as its economy, over the past six years the North Carolina General Assembly and executive branch have begun to systematically dismantle the longstanding, sensible policies that make North Carolina a great place to visit, live, and do business. Attacks on our environment include: Slashing by 40% the...

Learn More

Appalachian Trail from Clingmans Dome to Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina can get pretty warm and muggy in mid-summer. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not exempt from that. So when I hike in July and August I like to head for the high country… and there’s nowhere higher in the Smokies than Clingmans Dome. In fact, it’s the third highest peak in the East and the highest point...

Learn More
Page 1 of 2012320Last »