Xpress contributor Mark Barrett shares his pick of lesser-known Western North Carolina hikes with opportunities to take in the region’s autumn splendor.
“In Pisgah [National Forest] or the Smokies, it’s very difficult to know exactly who owned the land before it became public. With DuPont, it’s not,” explains author Danny Bernstein. “You can trace all of the land to somebody who sold it or gave it away to the state.”
Together, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County approved over $11 million in funding to install roughly 7 megawatts of solar power at public facilities and area schools. The projects are anticipated to save the governments and local schools roughly $650,000 in electricity costs in the first year and more than $27 million over the installations’ 30-year operational life.
Four nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Buncombe County are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, announced Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, the county’s interim health director, at a May 18 press conference. The county has not yet disclosed the names of two of the facilities reporting outbreaks.
The DuPont Forest Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, has been a long time in the making. The chemical conglomerate DuPont’s initial 1956 purchase of land for a silicon manufacturing plant in Cedar Mountain proved the beginning of a journey that would preserve one of Western North Carolina’s most treasured natural places for the future.
Until last summer, famished visitors to the forest, which is halfway between Brevard and Hendersonville, had to resort to gas station snacks and roadside boiled peanuts before or after exploring the 80 miles of trails and points of interest.