A recently completed study, commissioned by the French Broad River Partnership in 2019 and led by economist Steve Ha of Western Carolina University, sets the total economic value of the French Broad and its tributaries at $3.8 billion per year. By comparison, the Blue Ridge Parkway that also runs through Asheville creates about $1.3 billion in economic output per year.
Kelly Bruce, a certified Forest Therapy Guide with Natural Wanders and Asheville Wellness Tours, speaks with Xpress about her approach to the work and what people can expect from a bath in the forest.
When Tropical Depression Fred tore through Western North Carolina in August, among the casualties was the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s executive board has moved to close and demolish the facility, replacing it with an expansion to the adjacent Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery.
White nose syndrome, a fungal disease first seen in Western North Carolina in 2011, has reduced some local bat populations by as much as 95%. And climate change poses a long-term challenge to their habitats and survival.
A staffing shortage across North Carolina’s prisons led to the temporary closing of a wing at Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in late August and the relocation of several dozen prisoners and staff. The wing has since been reopened, but it’s unclear if or when the inmates who were transferred out will return.