Chestnut Mountain entrance

Green in brief: Chestnut Mountain Nature Park opens to public

About 35 acres of the nearly 450-acre tract — purchased by the nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in 2020 and recently transferred to the town of Canton — are now open, including the Berm Park mountain bike skills course and a mixed-use hiking/biking trail.

Kylie Barnes, water quality administrator for MountainTrue

Green in brief: MountainTr­ue seeks ban on single-use plastics

A study conducted by MountainTrue found an average of 19 microplastic particles — pieces smaller than 5 millimeters, formed by the breakdown of larger plastics — per liter of water in local river systems. Exposure to microplastics has been tied to allergic reactions and other health impacts in humans, as well as negative effects on fish.

Meagan Gosiewski and family

WNC teens face additional struggles during COVID

While the overall number of emergency department visits was lower in 2020 than in 2019, potentially due to people avoiding hospitals out of COVID-19 concerns, the proportion of visits by teens with thoughts of suicide increased. Among North Carolina kids age 10 to 14, suicidal ideation visits accounted for 3.5% of all ED visits in 2020, up from 2.4% in 2019.