Outdoor Journal

They’ve got legs, they know how to use them: The Carolina Mountain Club has announced its calendar of early 2008 hikes. If you can bear to pull yourself away from season eight of America’s Next Top Model, you might consider joining club members for a ramble up the slopes of Butter Gap or “the other” Cold Mountain, near Panthertown. Individual memberships with the group are $20; family memberships cost a very do-able $30.

Pilot study: Next time you’re in the Winston-Salem area, you might consider a jog north to Pilot Mountain, whose exposed rock faces just beg to be scaled. A new climbing guide to the Surry County landmark has just been published, and is available for free (free!) online at the Carolina Climbers Coalition Web site (www.carolinaclimbers.org).

Routes ranging from “My Husband is Going to Kill Me” to “Cow Patty Bingo” get a healthy going-over in the booklet, titled “A Climber’s Guide to Pilot Mountain State Park,” along with photos and tips on etiquette and local regulations.

Their gills thank you: Conservation groups have heralded the recent barring of off-road vehicles from trails in the Nantahala National Forest’s Tellico area as a modest victory for trout and other creatures who depend on clear water.

Last month, under pressure from organizations including Trout Unlimited and the Southern Environmental Law Center, the U.S. Forest Service announced it would close ORV trails in the Tellico area for the winter, when wet weather hastens the movement of silt into streams.

Trout Unlimited rates the Tellico watershed as “one of the last, best strongholds” for the fetching native trout. Unfortunately for the brookie, the Tellico also counts as one of the largest and most heavily used ORV destinations on public lands in the Southeast.

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