HAPPY EASTER!

- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Outdoors

On Sept. 24, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with its 31 Trail Clubs will be launching Family Hiking Day. Family Hiking Day is an opportunity to introduce families to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), and the benefits that come from being active and spending time outdoors.

Family Hiking Day, a program developed by the ATC, is an initiative to get people of all ages and experience levels outside and active. Hiking on the A.T. is a good source of physical exercise that provides a space for exploration of local natural resources and the opportunity to create lasting memories that will encourage long-term appreciation of protected public lands.

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Elk once roamed the southern Appalachian Mountains and elsewhere in the eastern United States. They were eliminated from the region by over-hunting and loss of habitat. By 1900, the population of elk in North America dropped to the point that hunting groups and other conservation organizations became concerned the species was headed for extinction.

In early 2001, the first elk set foot into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park since the turn of the 19th century. This was the beginning of an experiment to see if an elk herd could sustain itself in the area after about a 200- year absence.

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Western Carolina University organizations are co-sponsoring the third annual Citizens Race, a competition for amateur paddlers on a calm section of the Tuckaseigee River on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Participants are timed as they paddle canoes, kayaks or stand-up paddle boards through nine slalom gales, which are plastic poles hung over the water about three feet apart, on a flat section of the river off Old Cullowhee Road. Canoes, life jackets and paddles will be provided for participants who do not have their own equipment.

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The annual prediction from Kathy Mathews, Western Carolina University’s fearless fall foliage forecaster, should make chamber of commerce officials across the Western North Carolina mountains happy this year.

That’s because Mathews is calling for an excellent fall color show, thanks in large part to weather conditions over the spring and summer.

“2011 should prove to be an excellent year for fall color,” said Mathews, WCU associate professor of biology specializing in plant systematics. “While heavy spring rain is generally not a good sign for fall color, records indicate that rainfall was slightly below normal for March, average for April and May, and slightly below normal for June and July, as gardeners struggled to keep their crops watered,” she said. “These conditions actually are promising for good development of leaf color in September and October.”

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published: 10/18/2013
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