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The North Carolina state parks system has been named one of four finalists for the 2011 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation announced today.

As a finalist, North Carolina advances to the next round of consideration along with state parks systems in Florida, Missouri and Michigan, with a winner to be announced in October.

The National Gold Medal Award, which is administered by the National Recreation and Parks Association, is the most prestigious award a parks and recreation agency can receive and recognizes service excellence. The Gold Medal Award honors communities and states in the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and agency recognition. Each agency is judged on its ability to address the needs of those it serves through the collective energies of visitors, staff and elected officials.


Falling branches posing safety risk to hikers

The Wasilik Poplar, the second largest yellow poplar tree in the United States, started its decline over a decade ago. Falling branches from the now dead tree are a safety hazard to hikers. The tree is located off Forest Service road 415, Lee Creek Road, in the Ash Flats of the Nantahala Ranger District. Danger signs have been posted on the trail to warn the public to stay away from the tree. Visitors should view the tree from a distance of at least 50 feet to avoid falling branches.



The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is the primary fundraiser and trusted steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In this current economic climate with shrinking Federal budgets, the Foundation rises to the occasion and provides more support for the Parkway than ever before, providing $500,000 in funding for needed projects and programs.

“The staff of the Parkway and I are very grateful to the Foundation for their very generous contribution to fund a variety of important needs that we have this year. Without their support, we would not be able to fund projects and programs that help us serve Parkway visitors, educate young people, and protect the Parkway for future generations,” said Phil Francis, Superintendent of the Parkway.


Pensacola man vies for oldest AT thru-hiker record

Mike Caetano admits he’s always been competitive. Growing up in Rhode Island, he competed in cross-country and was eventually part of a cross-country team at Rhode Island University which won the national championship.

Many years later, he has found himself feeling that old competitive urge once again, this time to become the oldest to have ever completely hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) from end-to-end in one season. In hiker parlance, such a feat is called a “thru-hike,” a worthy accomplishment even for a young person. Caetano is 88.


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published: 10/18/2013
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