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Outdoors

Franklin will again celebrate its appreciation of Appalachian trail hikers with the town’s first festival of 2014, April Fools Trail Days, on Saturday, March 29. This day-long event will take place in Historic Downtown Franklin and bring together AT hikers, locals and visitors for a great event featuring informative and educational workshops, hiking related vendors and exhibits.

“April Fools Trail Days was conceived in part by our designation as an Appalachian Trail Gateway Community,” said Linda Schlott, Franklin Main Street Program executive director. “We encourage everyone to come out and support the hiking community that makes such an impact on our town each year.”

Franklin was the first town to receive this designation along the 2,181-mile trail stretching from Georgia to Maine. 2013 marks the fifth year for April Fools Trail Days in Franklin.

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Macon County Public Library will present its 4th Walking with Spring series of programs in conjunction with downtown Franklin's April Fools Trail Day festival. All events are free and open to the public.

– Tuesday, March 25, 7 p.m. in the Program Room of the Macon County Public Library, "A Journey Through Time" with Doug Woodward. Woodward will recount his recent month-long Grand Canyon adventure in an evening slideshow. Woodard and his son Forest paddled an 18-foot raft, 280 miles down the rapids of the Colorado River.

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The Macon County Cooperative Extension office is an arm of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension based at N.C. State University and serves as the school's largest outreach program. The program began in 1914 when county, state and federal governments joined together to make knowledge more accessible to citizens through educational programming in sustaining agriculture and forestry, protecting the environment, maintaining viable communities, developing responsible youth, and developing strong, healthy and safe families.

Since sustaining frequent budget cuts over the last 13 years, officials have begun to develop a strategic plan to maintain an effective program while anticipating budget decreases. In last week's edition of The Macon County News, an overview of the program was given along with the steps being taken to develop the Strategic Vision and Planning Initiative for the Cooperative Extension. This week, we want to take a look at the way the local office impacts the people of Macon County.

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Grandfather Mountain's otter habitat closed temporarily this week for renovations — and an important acclimation process for the Mountain's newest otter.

Work on the habitat is expected to begin in mid- to late March and should take only three to four weeks if weather conditions allow.

The renovations will not affect visitor access to the bear, deer, cougar and eagle habitats.

During initial construction of the otter habitat in 1996, a water-resistant membrane was punctured, allowing rain to seep through the upper portion toward the underwater viewing area structure.

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published: 10/18/2013
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