Ongoing habitat loss and warming temperatures present an existential threat to Western North Carolina’s only native trout species, the brook trout.
Forest supervisor James Melonas sets priorities for tenure as leader of state’s four national forests.
Appalachian Dowsers members discuss the numerous benefits they find in looking beyond the visible world.
A cooperative effort by Conserving Carolina, state and local governments, other nonprofits and the general public is gradually developing the Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail in and around the rugged terrain that lies just beyond Buncombe County’s southeastern border. In late April, a new 2.5-mile trail section is scheduled to open.
Creation of more than 40 miles of “purpose-built” trail system will serve a diverse range of users from equestrians to walkers.
The charging station program, funded by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality from part of the state’s allocation in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal, partially defrays the cost of installing Level 2 infrastructure, which can recharge electric vehicles up to seven times as quickly as a standard 120-volt outlet.
The new outdoor classroom and garden area, the result of a three-year, $2 million project, features three distinct ponds, a boardwalk, a 20-person teaching shelter and interpretive signage, complete with a frog kiosk that plays different amphibian vocalizations.
The first such effort of its kind in North Carolina, the atlas will break the state into 937 sections of 10 square miles — covering roughly a fifth of its total land area — and ask birders to record all the varieties they see using the online platform eBird.
Interest in cycling has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but funding for bike-friendly roads faces an uphill battle, both in Asheville and across the state.
Increasing heat and stronger storms threaten trout populations dependent on clean, cold, oxygen-rich water. A decline in trout production could hurt farmers and recreational fishermen.
“Many items that are now standard construction practices have been removed from our checklist, while we have added opportunities to gain points for new technologies,” explained Maggie Leslie, the nonprofit’s program director.
An online public hearing to review the draft permit, originally scheduled for Jan. 20, was pushed back to mid-April. For environmentalists, the move may be a blessing in disguise.
The Mortimer Trails project expands access for mountain bikers and hikers to meet increased demand despite limited federal funding for recreation in National Forests.
The Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s work included both valuable wildlife habitats, such as the Wiles Creek and Little Rock Creek preserves, and prime farmland at risk of development. Sandy Hollar Farms in Buncombe County and Bowditch Bottoms in Yancey County were among the agricultural projects completed in 2020.
For many environmental organizations across Western North Carolina, COVID-19 fell like a lightning-struck tree across the path to progress. But like an intrepid hiker, WNC’s activists and organizers have bushwhacked new trails for action in the world of the pandemic.
On Nov. 18, nonprofit Conserving Carolina announced that it had entered a contract to buy an unused 19-mile rail corridor between Brevard and Hendersonville for conversion into a greenway. Backers hope the Ecusta Trail will become a regional draw for running and biking enthusiasts.
As urban dwellers flock to rural counties to get their fix of socially distanced outdoor recreation, local adventure shops are seeing a boom. Those located near trails, rivers and campsites have an added advantage: Close to the action means tailored advice and last-minute purchases.
Hikers and photographers from across the state have formed Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina to care for and protect the natural wonder of waterfalls.
Nancy Mercure East, a retired veterinarian from Waynesville, and her hiking partner, Air Force veteran Chris Ford of Knoxville, Tenn., set a new record for hiking all of the park’s trails on Oct. 3 with a time of 29 days, 10 hours and 12 minutes. The two shattered the previous mark of 33 days set by Knoxville trail runner Jeff Woody.
According to a new study by Filterbuy, an air filter industry website, the median air quality index in the Asheville metropolitan area was 15.3% better over the period from 2015-2019 compared with the period from 2005-2009. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton and Greenville, S.C., metros also showed big improvements.
“We are showing women how to see their land as an asset and how to make it work economically and to see that future,” explains Aimee Tomcho, a Burnsville-based conservation biologist for the National Audubon Society and leader of Western North Carolina’s ForestHer chapter.