Outdoor Journal

No drought about it: River levels are down in much of Western North Carolina as the region moves through what’s shaping up to be a dry year. Storms come, storms go: Boaters who want to know the minute-to-minute conditions of their favorite stretch of river can visit the Asheville Boating Beta Page (www.boatingbeta.com). The site has links to live river gauges, allowing visitors to check levels in real time. Scheduled hydro releases are also shown, making trip planning easier.

Not a bad deal at all: The Carolina Mountain Club is looking for a snappy new slogan describing what the club is all about. Since the 1920s, CMC volunteers have maintained trails, led hikes and encouraged conservation of WNC’s recreation areas and wild spaces. Advice? Be brief. Be catchy. The deadline for submissions is September 30. Send entries via e-mail to backpacker54nc@bellsouth.net, or by snail mail to CMC, PO Box 68, Asheville, NC 28802, Attn: Chip Miller. This ought to get the creative juices flowing: The winning sloganeer gets a $100 gift certificate from Diamond Brand Outdoors.

Bass-ackwards: Before you lop a tasty fillet or two off that lunker, be advised: The state of North Carolina has added largemouth bass to its list of fish at risk of containing high levels of mercury. Time was, mercury advisories pertained only to fish caught east of Interstate 85 – bass, bowfin, chain pickerel and warmouth were the usual suspects – but now, for bass at least, the toxin has gone statewide. For a list of iffy fish and their safe counterparts, visit the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Web site, www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/fish/safefish.html.

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