Hiking in the Season of Thunderstorms

  • July 13, 2018

In the Smokies, Pisgah, and all throughout the mountainous region known as the Blue Ridge Province, summer is the season of the thunderstorm. It's not unusual for a pattern to set in: at about 3 pm on an otherwise bright…

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For Urban Birding, Head to Atlanta

  • June 29, 2018

Where might you go in Atlanta to find a cedar waxwing? What about an indigo bunting, a tufted titmouse, or an osprey? If you’re not an amateur ornithologist, you might not even recognize these exotic-sounding names. But if you’re a…

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Will You Visit Lake Fontana This Summer?

  • June 15, 2018

It’s here—the summer solstice is upon us. And during these warm days we count ourselves particularly fortunate that our offices are located so close to Fontana Lake. At closing time it’s not uncommon for us to jump in the car…

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In Pisgah, Rain Comes In Many Forms

  • May 24, 2018

Over the course of the last decade I’ve spent part of each summer leading biking and hiking trips into the popular Pisgah District of the Pisgah National Forest. Most folks around here just refer to this area as Pisgah, but…

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Keeping the Chattooga River Wild & Scenic

  • May 1, 2018

In the outdoor recreation world, perhaps no river has had a greater impact on the Southern Appalachians than the Chattooga. If you appreciate the treasure of this historic river and what it brings to the region, now is your time…

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Dogwood Winter and Other Seasons

  • April 20, 2018

What is Dogwood Winter? What is Blackberry Winter? Spring will come eventually, but this year it's hard to tell when. With temperatures yo-yoing throughout the late winter (a frigid January followed by a warm February), now in late April we're…

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Wildflowers and Wildfires

  • April 5, 2018

In the final months of 2016, parts of western North Carolina were in flames. It took weeks for firefighters to control the wildfires that raged through the dry woods. Many people evacuated thier homes, still more were on alert and…

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Wildflower Walks & Hikes in the NC Mountains

  • March 22, 2018

It took outdoor writer Jim Parham eight years to produce his latest guidebook, Wildflower Walks & Hikes: North Carolina Mountains. Perhaps that's because the region covers a lot of territory: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, DuPont State Forest,…

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Trailing Arbutus: First Flower of the Pilgrims

  • March 8, 2018

Yesterday we woke to snow. In the afternoon, we saw trailing arbutus in bloom. This fragile-looking early wildflower is much hardier than it appears. Growing up in Vermont in the 1960s, I learned early that trailing arbutus was an endangered species…

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The Winter Wildflower of the Red Maple

  • February 28, 2018

When we think of maple trees, we typically think of autumn. That’s when maples shine, adding their brilliant reds and golds to the riot of fall color in the Southern Appalachians each October. Little do most of us know that…

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