PARKWAY PRESERVATION: A total of 5,329 acres in the area of Waterrock Knob will be conserved, the largest addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway in 60 years.  Photo courtesy of the Blue Ridge Parkway/National Park Service

Waterrock Knob expansion brings together stakeholde­rs, public

The highest peak in the Plott Balsam Mountains, Waterrock Knob encompasses a unique ecosystem. The Blue Ridge Parkway will now conserve 5,329 acres of this irreplaceable landscape thanks to recent land and financial gifts by a network of conservation groups and private donors. The public is invited to weigh in on plans for the area through Feb. 25.

Nonprofit agencies will make their case for funding from Buncombe County's upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2018. A total of 46 nonprofits are asking for an aggregate of almost $11 million.

Buncombe Commission­ers to discuss parkway preservati­on, historical art project, air quality concerns

The Tuesday, May 5 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting might be one for the books, as the board will discuss a new art, culture and history project that may result in the addition of a new landmark on the horizon. The board will discuss this, as well as a few environmental interests.

Take a good long look: The Cullowhee Native Plants Conference, running from July 15 through July 19, encourages enthusiasts to really 'dig in' to their love of native plants. Photo by Ashley Evans, courtesy of WCU.

Video: Plant enthusiast­s assemble for the Native Plants Conference

Brace yourselves — the plant enthusiasts are coming. From Tuesday, July 15 through Saturday, July 19, Western North Carolina will once again play host to the Cullowhee Native Plants Conference, an annual event with workshops and field trips exploring many aspects of native plants. Get a feel for the conference with a video tour of the plants of Black Balsam Ridge.