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Duke Energy has completed all the major work at the new Barkers Creek and Locust Creek access areas on the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County. They are free to the public.

The Barkers Creek access area, located on Hwy. 74 at River Mile 26.8, near Whittier, N.C., includes a boat ramp suitable for launching canoes, kayaks and small drift boats.

Duke Energy incorporated vegetated rain gardens into the site, which filter storm water runoff prior to entering the river to help maintain water quality.


State and federal wildlife officials in North Carolina and Georgia announced last week an undercover operation that involved about 80 wildlife violators and some 980 violations.

Primary violations documented by Operation Something Bruin stem from illegal bear hunting but include an array of state wildlife and game law charges. Some suspects could also face federal charges.

The four-year investigation, the largest of its kind in recent years, targeted poachers in North Carolina and Georgia, with work in some adjacent states.

Operation Something Bruin partners also included the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.


A $35,000 grant from The Community Foundation’s Food and Farming Focus Area will support a major expansion of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s (ASAP) Appalachian Grown regional food branding and certification program. Appalachian Grown labels and promotes locallygrown farm products in the marketplace to enable consumers to easily identify and act on their desire to support local food and farmers.

ASAP launched the Local Food Campaign in 2000 to build markets for locally-grown food. With increasing demand in 2006, ASAP launched the Appalachian Grown program to engage larger-scale markets in the region and increase distribution and availability. In 2012, sales of Appalachian Grown certified products exceeded $100 million.


Logging long stretches in the backcountry of the Cataloochee Valley area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Western Carolina University biology graduate student Elizabeth Hillard is performing research that will help park personnel manage resources in regard to the park’s growing population of elk.

Hillard’s research project has taken place over approximately 50 square miles of park land as part of an ambitious project to improve understanding of how the animals use park resources, including what they eat and their preferred shelter.


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