Consider one of these trips led by local guides for your next adventure in WNC (and eastern Tennessee).
A pop-up exhibit of work by a legendary TV animator comes to Asheville. Plus, Sew Co. hosts a makers market in the RAD, a photographer spotlights the Blue Ridge Parkway in new book and ARTSVILLE Collective presents a show featuring 10 artists.
“The tourism fund could be used to provide paying jobs for locals to be out in the parks and forests making sure visitors practice “leave no trace”; park only where they are supposed to; do trail work; and prevent mapless tourists from getting lost in the woods.”
On September 9, 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived in Knoxville, Tenn. He and his team traversed the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on their way to Asheville, where the commander-in-chief delivered a speech to a crowd of 20,000 people at McCormick Field.
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.
In 1926, North Carolina and Tennessee needed to raise $1 million as part of a federal prerequisite for the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As the deadline approached, the outlook did not look promising for the Tar Heel State.
“National parks in North Carolina need $459 million for infrastructure repairs. Crumbling historic markers, outdated electrical systems and deteriorating trails and roads are now common.”
At least 35 bears have been struck and killed since May 2018 in the 28-mile stretch of I-40 between the Maggie Valley exit and the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. The Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Connectivity Project, a joint effort of at least 19 governmental and nonprofit groups, is working to bring that death rate down.
Unto These Hills debuted July 1, 1950, at the newly constructed Mountainside Theatre in Cherokee. Anticipation for the production was apparent throughout the spring and summer leading up to opening night.
“This spring, National Audubon Society scientists teamed up with the National Park Service to release a peer-reviewed study, which revealed that climate change is likely to have significant impacts on birds in over 270 national parks, including our own Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”
We all need friends, and public lands in Western North Carolina increasingly receive care in the form of “Friends” nonprofit groups. In an era of shrinking federal budgets for parks and forests, these organizations are stepping up to preserve and maintain public spaces.
A new 700-page book, Cemeteries of the Smokies, published by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, serves as an exhaustive guide to graves in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Through photographs, oral histories and scholarship, the tome also sheds light on the unique world of Appalachian burial lore and traditions.
When you think about the Great Smoky Mountains, your thoughts might not immediately jump to death and destruction. But that is exactly what adventure travel writer David Brill of Morgan County, Tenn., dives into with his new book, “Into the Mist: Tales of Death and Disaster, Mishaps and Misdeeds, Misfortune and Mayhem in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”
Ben Anderson, author of Smokies Chronicle, recommends two hikes that offer exceptional vantage points within the path of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
In 2016, local writer Ben Anderson decided to examine the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a fresh perspective. To mark the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, he completed 40 day hikes, which he documented in his first book,
Smokies Chronicle: A Year of Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Community, by UNC Asheville history professor Daniel Pierce, explores the complex history of the so-called “Road to Nowhere” and the people it was meant to serve. Released in April, the book details the multifaceted and often overlooked story of the ill-fated town of Proctor and its inhabitants.
“Let their mysterious glow enchant you. And as you enjoy the spectacle, learn to think like a firefly: Imagine that every artificial light interferes with your ability to serenade a mate. Make friends with the darkness.”
“This is a remarkable environmental success story! Many agencies and organizations can be proud of their contributions to this. Together, they’ve demonstrated that bold action at many different levels can successfully address serious environmental issues.”
“These efforts really are about protecting places for all Americans and for future generations,” notes Brent Martin of The Wilderness Society. The leaders of the national parks movement, he maintains, “all saw a much bigger picture, not only for all human beings, but for all living things.”
Biologists at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have confirmed that both a tricolored and a little brown bat found in a park cave tested positive for white-nose syndrome.
Author (and regular Xpress contributor) Danny Bernstein will present her new book on April 7 at Diamond Brand, and donate some of the proceeds to Trails Forever, a fundraising initiative for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And you can get the latest Dolly Parton CD.