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First WNC OutdoorAthlon festival goers get in on outdoor action

It was all outdoor fun last weekend, as the first annual WNC OutdoorAthlon made its debut at Cullasaja Park in Franklin.

Four months in the making, the Athlon showcased Franklin’s outdoor resources and culture by holding an event exhibiting a number of outdoor activities such as free fly-fishing, kayaking and rock climbing lessons, as well as introductory lessons on biking, hiking, disc golf, and pilates. The Oct. 8 and 9 event was held under clear skies and warm autumn weather.


The Nantahala Hiking Club, the Franklin based Appalachian Trail (AT) maintaining club, raised the roof at Rock Gap shelter Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Using two, six-ton jacks and cribbing, five members from the weekly maintenance crew raised the corner of the shelter-attached cooking/eating area 21 inches and replaced the four-inch diameter locust post with a 4in x 6in pressure treated post.

Over several years the locust post had rotted and sunk into the ground.

The rest of the crew worked on clearing the area for a new shelter.

The “Long Branch shelter” will replace the present Big Spring shelter and be located about half way between Albert Mountain and Rock Gap Shelter.


Students and faculty of Southwestern Community College’s Outdoor Leadership program placed in the 36th Annual Outdoorsman Triathlon held near Bryson City recently. The Outdoorsman Triathlon is the nation’s oldest continuous triathlon and consists of a 1-mile swim, four-mile run and an eight-mile paddle down the Little Tennessee River.

The SCC faculty team of Paul Wolf, Stephan Hart and Jimmy Leithauser won the Men’s Master division. “But more importantly, we beat out all four of the student SCC teams to win this year’s bragging rights in the annual faculty versus students unofficial contest,” said ODL instructor Wolf.


The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks Program has received a $701,000 Grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNCF) to expand the program into North Carolina’s state, county, and municipal parks as well as launch a National Technical Training and Resource Center for Kids in Parks.

In 2008, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Blue Ridge Parkway partnered with BCBSNCF to form the Kids in Parks initiative. With the initial investment of $204,000 by BCBSNCF, the Kids in Parks program has been able to install nine TRACK Trails, bring more than 35 partners together (including multiple state, federal and local agencies), and link public lands to each other and to the kids and families of the surrounding communities.


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