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It’s the kind of work convicts once did on chain gangs.

Getting dirty is guaranteed.

A group of local retirees relish the opportunity to experience much of the same hard work chain gangs experienced, even sometimes smashing a few rocks.

The group gathers Wednesday mornings and arm themselves with rakes, sling blades, cross cut saws, double bit axes, mauls and shovels. The same tools chain gangs became intimately familiar with. But no ball and chain holds this crowd together. They can go home anytime they want.


Workshops promote backyard landscaping for wildlife.

Friends of Rickman Store (FORS) has joined an effort through National Wildlife Federation to certify backyards as “wildlife habitats” by meeting some simple, but important goals. The components for certification are to provide adequate water, food, cover, places to raise young and sustainable gardening practices.

To begin the Gardening for Wildlife Series, FORS has planned a series of workshops and certified property visits this summer and fall to support residents interested in joining the effort. You do not have to certify your yard to participate in the programs.


The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust recently honored its conservation land donors of 2010 and 2011. The event was held at Wade Hampton and was attended by more than 60 members of the Land Trust.

At the event, The Land Trust celebrated the past years’ successes including land and conservation easement donors. Tommy and Vickie Chambers were honored for their donation of .78 acres along the historic Kelsey Trail and an easement that has allowed the Land Trust and the Highlands Plateau Greenway to connect Bear Pen Road to the Kelsey Trail.


Work on recreation and habitat enhancements on the way

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued two of six new federal hydro licenses to Duke Energy for Nantahala Area hydro stations, which kickstarts processes for a variety of public recreation and aquatic habitat enhancements in the Tuckasegee River watershed.

The licenses issued today cover hydro developments on the East Fork (Tanasee Creek, Bear Creek and Cedar Cliff hydro stations) and West Fork (Thorpe and Tuckasegee hydro stations) of the Tuckasegee River. Licenses for hydro stations on the Nantahala River watershed and others are expected soon.


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