State & National Forest – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:49:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 PROGRAM TO FOCUS ON COUNTY GEOLOGY http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/program-focus-county-geology/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/program-focus-county-geology/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 13:47:04 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6184 Excerpted from an article in The Transylvania Times –  July 27, 2017 “The August “Discover Natural Transylvania” program at the Transylvania County Library will explore the billion-year-old geologic  history of Transylvania County.  Geologist Rick Wooten’s presentation, “The Geology of Transylvania County and Vicinity:  Mountains, Faults, Waterfalls, Landslides and More.” will highlight mountain geology within the…

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Excerpted from an article in The Transylvania Times –  July 27, 2017

“The August “Discover Natural Transylvania” program at the Transylvania County Library will explore the billion-year-old geologic  history of Transylvania County.  Geologist Rick Wooten’s presentation, “The Geology of Transylvania County and Vicinity:  Mountains, Faults, Waterfalls, Landslides and More.” will highlight mountain geology within the framework of plate tectonics on Thursday, August 3, at 6:30 pm. in the Rogow Room.

Wooten will discuss nearby scenic geologic features that help people understand geologic process past and present.  He will also cover the connectivity between landscape, ecosystems, weather, local history and geology.

Wooten has both a B.S. and M.S. in geology from the University of Georgia.  He served as an aircraft maintenance officer in the US Air Force between obtaining the degrees.  He worked as an engineering geologist on the Gifford Pinchot National F in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State from 1980-1990.  Since 1990 he has worked for the NC Geological Survey as the senior geologist for Geohazards and Engineering Geology.  Duties with the NCGS include geologic mapping and landslide research.

The program is approximately one hour and light refreshments are provided.  Discover Natural Transylvania programs are supported by the Friends of the Library.

For additional information, contact Marcy at 828-884-1820 or marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org.”

SOURCE:  The Transylvania Times

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RIVERS ELIGIBLE TO BE “WILD, SCENIC.” ? http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/rivers-eligible-wild-scenic/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/rivers-eligible-wild-scenic/#respond Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:22:50 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6175 Excerpted from an article by Park Baker, Staff Writer for The Transylvania Times “Many local residents will remember the push to save the Horsepasture River from a proposed hydroelectric facility that began in 1984.  The river flows into Transylvania County as it heads towards Lake Jocassee, dropping 1,700 feet over a stretch of four miles. …

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Excerpted from an article by Park Baker, Staff Writer for The Transylvania Times

“Many local residents will remember the push to save the Horsepasture River from a proposed hydroelectric facility that began in 1984.  The river flows into Transylvania County as it heads towards Lake Jocassee, dropping 1,700 feet over a stretch of four miles.  It is filled with spectacular waterfalls and slides that create a micro-climate like no other.  The Horsepasture was given the Wild and Scenic River designation in 1986 after passionate locals read about Carrasan Power Company’s intention to build a hydro station in a public notice in the Transylvania Times and fought for its protection.  Carrasan had planned to sell the power to Duke Power.

Those involved may or may not remember that there were proposed plans for dams on the Thompson and Whitewater Rivers as well.  Both of these rivers are now eligible for Wild and Scenic River designation, per the US Forest Service in its outgoing Pisgah/Nantahala National Forest Plan revision process.

But without the support and fervor of former Congressman Jamie Clark, the Horsepasture River never would have made it past the “eligibility” stage and into a suitability study. (“Congressman Mark Meadows would have to introduce a bill suggesting classifying the rivers as Wild and Scenic…The Times emailed and called Meadows for comment and received no reply as of going to press.”)   That’s one way a river can become a Wild and Scenic River.

In other cases, the land manager, in this case the US Forest Service, identifies eligibility for inclusion in this inventory by checking off certain characteristics and asking the community if the river has any significant cultural, natural or recreational heritage…Some cultural importance near these waters includes cemeteries and home sites.  Recreationally, kayaking, hunting, canyoneering, fishing, waterfall viewing and photography top the list.

One of the (eligibility) characteristics is whether or not the river is “free-flowing”…Some other factors that contribute to a river’s eligibility include wildlife and their habitat located within the river’s corridor, including the fish.

Geology is also a consideration.  Planners at the Forest Service ask if the river contains unique geologic formations – erosional, volcanic or glacial.

…Both the Thompson and Whitewater are part of the Jocassee Gorges area, named by National Geographic magazine in 2014 as “one of the last 50 greatest places on Earth.”  The 40,000-acre area includes destinations such as Gorges State Park and the Toxaway Game Lands.  More rain falls on this escarpment than anywhere east of the Mississippi River.

Local resident Bill Thomas was a key figure in the conservation of the Horsepasture River…Thomas’ book “Dam It, No.” chronicles the work done to save the river from damming, and explains the process…”A congressman would have to be dedicated…if he wants it to go through.”  The Thompson is just as spectacular as the Horsepasture.  The Whitewater is different in that there’s the big upper falls, and then a long section of fairly quiet river. Then it drops over the lower Whitewater Falls, which is pretty nice.  It’s not as exciting as the Horsepasture, but still, it’s a beautiful country.  Inclusion in the Wild and Scenic Inventory would be two more jewels in Transylvania County’s crown.”

The Whitewater River is the location of Upper Whitewater Falls, the tallest falls east of the Mississippi River.  The Falls drop about 420 feet…just over the state line in SC, the Lower Whitewater Falls drops another 400 feet.  The entrance to the falls, located on NC 281, reopened this year after last autumn’s fires destroyed the stairs leading down to the viewing platform.

Putting these rivers in the public eye is concerning to some (local) folks such as David Whitmire…who grew up exploring and living off these lands, driving down the locally infamous Auger Hole Road and often staying for several nights with friends….I think the Thompson and Whitewater are both good candidates, and I would support asking Congressman Mark Meadows to back this initiative….

…Whitmire said the Davidson River has been eligible for Wild and Scenic River designation since the last (Forest Service) management plan was written.   While he considers the (Davidson)river beautiful, he does not consider it “wild and scenic.”  Whitmire said he is also concerned with doing riparian restoration work, using the plight of the  hemlock as an example, and said he hopes any designation will not hinder any kind of restoration efforts…”

SOURCE:  Park Baker for The Transylvania Times (Brevard, NC)  IMAGE:  Thompson River – rootsrated.com

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NC TROUT FISHING NETS HUGE HAUL http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/nc-trout-fishing-nets-huge-haul/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/nc-trout-fishing-nets-huge-haul/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:46:31 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6113 Source:  Karen Chavez for the Asheville Citizen-Times “This is no big fish tale!  Rather it’s the reality that trout fishing creates big business for Western North Carolina. A study released recently, conducted by Responsive Management and Southwick Associates for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, found that in 2014 nearly 149,000 trout anglers fished approximately 1.6…

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Source:  Karen Chavez for the Asheville Citizen-Times

“This is no big fish tale!  Rather it’s the reality that trout fishing creates big business for Western North Carolina.

A study released recently, conducted by Responsive Management and Southwick Associates for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, found that in 2014 nearly 149,000 trout anglers fished approximately 1.6 million days.  These anglers gave the state’s economy an estimated $383 million boost in direct spending on items such as fishing equipment, food, gas and lodging, and secondary spending by fly-fishing outfitters and other businesses associated with trout angling and their employees…also found that money spent on trout fishing in 2014 supported approximately 3,600 jobs…

Kevin Howell gave up life as an engineer to take over Davidson River Outfitters in 1998.  The shop and guide business sits on the banks of the Davidson River in Brevard, in Translyvania County.  His father was one of the premier fly tiers of his generation and  Howell followed in  his footsteps.

When Howell began, he had one other guide who worked three days a week.  Now he has 11 guides who  work seven days a week.  The shop also offers classes from rod building and repair to fly-tying classes, casting and fishing and intensive two-day “schools.”

A day on the river for two people ranges from $375 – $500, including all gear, except state fishing license.  “”People love the solitude and peacefulness of fly fishing.  It’s a great way to escape, to get your mind off work, and get outdoors.  The saying goes that catching a fish is second – and being outdoors is first, Howell said.  It’s about a lifestyle, and getting outdoors and not feeling the pressures that society puts on us.””

Ray Fleming of Augusta, South Carolina, a retired health physicist, started fishing with Davidson River Outfitters in Pisgah Forest six years ago at age 70.  He now comes several times a year.  He said he loves to explore new places where fish hide, and to improve his casting and catching skills.  “”I just love being outdoors.  I’m not a beach person.  I love the mountains.  I love standing in the streams…I was out early one  morning.  I looked downstream and there was a canopy of trees on both sides of the river and the sun was shining through on the rippling water.  I thought – How lucky am I?””

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez for The Asheville Citizen Times    

IMAGE:  carolinasportsman.com

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PANTHERTOWN GROWS WITH A LOT OF HELP FROM ITS FRIENDS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/panthertown-grows-lot-help-friends/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/panthertown-grows-lot-help-friends/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 14:18:10 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6051 SOURCE:  Karen Chavez, Columnist for Asheville Citizen-Times “…It’s amazing what a little help from your friends can accomplish.  Case in point – the rugged, forested, exceptionally pretty area of Panthertown (near Cashiers, NC) found a lot of friends from all kinds of places who helped to buy a little chunk of land that will make…

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SOURCE:  Karen Chavez, Columnist for Asheville Citizen-Times

“…It’s amazing what a little help from your friends can accomplish.  Case in point – the rugged, forested, exceptionally pretty area of Panthertown (near Cashiers, NC) found a lot of friends from all kinds of places who helped to buy a little chunk of land that will make a big impact.   The Friends of Panthertown and Mainspring Conservation Trust, both non-profits, teamed up to raise enough money to buy 16 acres of private property that borders the western entrance to Panthertown Valley and Salt Rock Gap in Jackson County.  Panthertown is part of the Nantahala National Forest, consisting of more than 10,000 acres of protected land with clifftop views, at least eight major waterfalls, trout streams, rare plants and diverse habitat for wildlife…open to hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding and mountain biking.

Trails are NOT well marked (if marked at all), so you have to have a sense of adventure, a nose for finding true north and a good map and knowledge of compass reading.  But once you get out on a rock face, you can feel content in the world, savoring the rolling mountain views of evergreens that will stay exactly that way – forever green.  Saving these special places for posterity is not the easiest task in a land that for centuries has been privately owned.  People responded to the fund raising project, raising more than $82,.000 from groups and individuals of the $195,000 needed for the purchase from a private landowner.

…While the piece of land might sound small – 16 acres is roughly the size of 12 football fields – among the 10,000 acres of Panthertown and the half-million acres of Nantahala National Forest.  There are two main entrances to Panthertown – the Salt Rock on the west and at Cold Mo0untain Gap on the east.  Salt Rock access has no parking, so visitors must park on the shoulder of the side of Breedlove Road.

…Pantherotwn was nicknamed the “Yosemite of the East” decades ago by scientist and educator, Dan Pitillo, because of the geology of the rocks.

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez for Asheville Citizen-Times  IMAGE:  romanticasheville.com

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THE CRADLE WILL ROCK http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/cradle-will-rock/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/cradle-will-rock/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 13:53:28 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6048 Excerpted from an article by Robert Beanblossom for the Asheville Citizen-Times. “FORESTRY SITE IN PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST IS STEEPED IN WNC HISTORY… …Nestled in a mountainous valley know as the Pink Beds (for its dense rhododendron growth) is the Cradle of Forestry in America, a national historic site.  This  spot in the heart of the…

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Excerpted from an article by Robert Beanblossom for the Asheville Citizen-Times.

“FORESTRY SITE IN PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST IS STEEPED IN WNC HISTORY…

…Nestled in a mountainous valley know as the Pink Beds (for its dense rhododendron growth) is the Cradle of Forestry in America, a national historic site.  This  spot in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina is aptly named for it is the birthplace of scientific forestry in the U.S.

The intriguing story begins in early 1888, when a very wealthy young man, George Washington Vanderbilt, came to Asheville with his mother, who sought relief form malaria-like symptoms.  Dr. S. Westray Battle provided Mrs. Vanderbilt’s medical treatment while she and her son stayed at the posh Battery Park Hotel.  The clean air, scenic mountains and natural beauty of the area quickly captivated Vanderbilt, a widely-traveled individual who considered  himself a poet at heart.  He fell in love with this land and immediately decided to building a luxurious mansion – he later named Biltmore – and to purchase property.

By 1895, he could claim ownership of more than 125,000 acres of forest land – much of it heavily damaged by fire, grazing and poor logging practices. But there were virgin stands of high quality trees, especially in the coves and on north and east slopes of his holdings.  Vanderbilt employed the foremost architect of the day, Richard Morris Hunt, to design his 255-room mansion, but also hired an equally famous landscape architect, Fredrick Law Olmsted, to design the grounds of the estate.  And – he hired one of the only two foresters in the country at the time, a 27-year-old Pennsylvanian named Gifford Pinchot.

Stands not adequately stocked with trees were planted with hardwoods and pine.  Thus, Biltmore because the beginning of practical forestry in America.   It was the first piece of woodland to be put under a regular system of forest management whose object was to pay the owner while improving the forest.  Pinchot was employed at Biltmore for three years, eventually serving as the first chief of the US Forest Service, and later was elected Governor of Pennsylvania.

Pinchot recommended his successor, Dr. Carl A. Schenck, a German forester who knew little of American tree species or forestry of Appalachian mountain culture.  Schenck urged the construction of permanent forest roads to facilitate management activities, took steps to improve water sheds, and created a tree nursery.  He undertook several projects to improve game and fish populations on Vanderbilt’s lands.  Eventually he was approached to teach the new concept call “forestry.”  He opened a forest school in 1898 on a site 100 yards from the present-day Cradle of Forestry in America’s Forest Discovery Center, the first forestry school in the nation.  His 12-month curriculum was intense.  Mixed in with his forestry lectures were lessons in art, music, history, literature –  and life.  Classes included silviculture, surveying, forest protection, logging, tree and plant identification, forest mensuration, forest policy and forest management to name a few.

The Biltmore Forest School closed in 1913.  Out of more than 365 students, 300 completed the coursework and over half went into forestry.

Vanderbilt’s widow, Edith, sold the 87,500-acre Pink Beds tract to the Forest Service in 1914. It ultimately became part of the Pisgah National Forest.  Congress carved out a designated 6,500 acres as a national historic site in 1968.  Today this historic site is jointly managed by the Forest Service in a cooperative partnership with the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, a nonprofit foundation, and is open to visitors from mid-April to early November.  Visitors can explore the past, present and future of environmental sustainability and stewardship – brought to visitors through paved interpretive trails, interactive exhibits, film,. music, drama, guided tours, nature programs, craft demonstrations and special events.

The Cradle Of Forestry is located four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway, along the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway (Route 276).  The surrounding Pisgah National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hundreds of miles of hiking and bicycling trails, waterfalls, scenic overlooks and camping.

This historic site is truly a national treasure and a must for anyone with an appreciation of our outdoor heritage.

SOURCE:  Robert Beanblossom for the Asheville Citizen Times.

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MAGAZINE: BREVARD IN TOP 8 OUTDOORSY RETIREMENT CHOICES! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/magazine-brevard-in-top-8-outdoorsy-retirement-choices/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/magazine-brevard-in-top-8-outdoorsy-retirement-choices/#respond Wed, 12 Apr 2017 14:44:33 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5991 Excerpted from an article by Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times “Brevard, North Carolina, has been selected a top retirement destination by Where To Retire, a magazine geared toward helping people with retirement relocation decisions.  Brevard is profiled in a feature titled “8 Invigorating Outdoorsy Towns” in the May/June 2017 issue, available nationwide April 11. Where…

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Excerpted from an article by Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times

“Brevard, North Carolina, has been selected a top retirement destination by Where To Retire, a magazine geared toward helping people with retirement relocation decisions.  Brevard is profiled in a feature titled “8 Invigorating Outdoorsy Towns” in the May/June 2017 issue, available nationwide April 11.

Where To Retire editor Annette Fuller said many relocating retirees choose a destination based on its proximity to outdoor adventure opportunities.  “Most people spend their careers inside a building with walls,” she said. “Retirees revel in throwing open the doors and heading out into the light of day, where they can hike through scenic national parks, fish secluded rivers and lakes, bike along winding paths and more.  We found that these eight cities, including Brevard, have a lovely, multi-faceted outdoor life that complements many other amenities that appeal to retirees.”

Each year, an estimated 700,000 Americans relocate to new towns to retire. Generally, relocating retirees are healthier, better educated and more affluent than those who choose to not relocate, according to the magazine.

Where To Retire magazine, founded nearly 25 years, is published six times a year with a reported national circulation of 200,000, available at book & media stores including at many Barnes & Noble bookstores.  To learn more, visit WhereToRetire.com.”

SOURCE:  Asheville Citizen-Times

Connestee Falls is located in an area famous worldwide for its natural beauty and variety of plant and animal species.  It’s all right within a few minutes to an hour drive of our community…The Blue Ridge Parkway, Smoky Mountains National Park (about 1.5 – 2 hr. drive), the Appalachian Trail, Pisgah National Forest, Natahala National Forest, Holmes State Educational Forest, the French Broad River, DuPont State Park (the most visited state park in NC), Gorges State Park – among others.  And… our Connestee Falls community offers an incredible variety of outdoor (and indoor) amenities, in addition to its location in the midst of one of the most beautiful natural areas in the US.  Call us today to learn more!  828-885-2015

 

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MORE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE EVENTS PLANNED FOR WNC! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/more-total-solar-eclipse-events-planned-for-wnc/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/more-total-solar-eclipse-events-planned-for-wnc/#respond Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:18:49 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5986 Excerpted from an article by Karen Chavez for Asheville Citizen-Times. “It’s still five months away, but August 21 has Western North Carolina buzzing, and busy making plans. This is the date of the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse, a rare astronomical event in which the Earth, moon and sun line up so that the moon completely…

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Excerpted from an article by Karen Chavez for Asheville Citizen-Times.

“It’s still five months away, but August 21 has Western North Carolina buzzing, and busy making plans.

This is the date of the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse, a rare astronomical event in which the Earth, moon and sun line up so that the moon completely obscures the sun, revealing the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, and plunging places along its path into complete darkness.

The eclipse will only be seen in the US, starting on the Pacific Oregon coast, darkening a southeastern path to the Atlantic Ocean out of South Carolina.

Parts of Westenr North Carolina will get a front row view to the celestial extravaganza, including Brevard and Rosman in Transylvania County, Sylva and Cullowhee in Jackson County, Robbinsville In Graham County and part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This will be the first total eclipse seen exclusively in the US since before the nation’s founding in 1776.

Brevard College will open the campus to the public August 21, with activities geared toward a fun day for students before classes start, and a chance for the public to snag a prime viewing spot.  The eclipse in Brevard will start at 2:30 p.m.

The last time there was a total solar eclipse in Brevard was 1865. The next one will be in 2153.  So unless people plan a cryopreservation, this is the chance to see it.  It becomes night in the middle of the day…birds stop singing.

The college plans to give out special eclipse viewing glasses that everyone must wear to protect damage to their eyes.  Entry is free.  At least 1,400 people are expected.  The Brevard Music Center is planning a special concert with a “big name performer” yet to be named.

Another serendipitous occurrence is that the eclipse will pass directly over the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in Transylvania County.  It will be home to two NASA research teams during the eclipse, hundreds of amateur astronomers and visitors lucky enough to snag tickets.

Gorges State Park in Sapphire, Transylvania County is also planning a three-day slate of eclipse festivities called “The Eclipse at Gorges.”  Gorges is the only state park in North Carolina that will be in the zone of totality, pouring on the pressure to throw a great party.  There will be guided hikes by rangers, exhibitors, food trucks, music and face painting.  There will be free admissions for the first 1,400 cars – the limit of the parking lots.

Lodging is already booking up in Transylvania County and Jackson counties, so making reservations now is a smart move.

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez for the Asheville Citizen-Times   IMAGE: addins.kwwl.com

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TAKE A WINTER HIKE THIS HOLIDAY http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/take-a-winter-hike-this-holiday/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/take-a-winter-hike-this-holiday/#respond Mon, 26 Dec 2016 15:12:05 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5893 Excerpted from an article by Karen Chavez for Asheville Citizen-Times “WNC STATE PARKS ARE NOW OPEN AGAIN AFTER FIRES… “…During November and early December, it seemed like all the Western North Carolina forests were on fire…at different times, all the state parks in WNC were closed due to fires…many trails throughout the Nantahala National Forest…

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gorgesstateparkrainbowExcerpted from an article by Karen Chavez for Asheville Citizen-Times

“WNC STATE PARKS ARE NOW OPEN AGAIN AFTER FIRES…

“…During November and early December, it seemed like all the Western North Carolina forests were on fire…at different times, all the state parks in WNC were closed due to fires…many trails throughout the Nantahala National Forest and sections of the Appalachian Trail were closed, as were many trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Then the rains came, and the fires died and…(the parks) are open and welcoming visitors once again.  Just in time for the Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s holiday to get out  of the house and burn all that sugar on a hike…

  • Gorges State Park, in Transylvania County is open daily.  Superintendent Steve Pagano will lead the First Day Hike January 1.  It will be a moderate, 2-mile hike from the park visitor center to the Bearwallow Overlook and then down to the Upper Bearwallow Falls observation deck.  It is considered suitable for all ages.  Hikers will get to see several great views, a waterfall, the park’s new picnic shelter and restroom as well as the park’s LEED-certified Visitor Center.  The hike will start at 10- am from the Visitor Center Fireplace, where  hot cocoa will be available compliments of the Friends of Gorges State Park.  Gorges is in the town of Sapphire, approximately 45 miles southwest of Asheville.  Take NC 280 west to Brevard.  Follow US 64 west out of Brevard until you reach Sapphire, then turn left on NC 281 south.  The park entrance is 0.7 miles on the left.  The Visitor Center is a half-mile inside the park on Grassy Ridge Road.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway.  Most of the hundreds of miles that crisscross the parkway, which runs right through Asheville, are open every day, including Christmas, and are always free.  Be aware that the parkway is closed from Milepost 367.5 north of Asheville to Milepost 355 for snow and ice, debris and fallen trees.  For up to date road and weather conditons, visit www. nps.gov/blri.

Some other places to get out and hike over the holidays.

  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • Lake James State Park
  • Mount Mitchell State Park
  • The North Carolina Arboretum

For up-to-date information on all state parks, which all offer First Day hikes, visit www. ncparks.gov and click  on “Find a Park”.

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez for The Asheville Citizen-Times

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SMOKIES’ “MISSING LINK” IS NEARING COMPLETION http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/smokies-missing-link-is-nearing-completion/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/smokies-missing-link-is-nearing-completion/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:24:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5840 Excerpted from an article by Erik Schelzig for the Associated Press. “Walland, Tennesee – Efforts to extend a serpentine ridge-top road with soaring views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been thwarted for decades as engineers have grappled with how to complete a 1.6-mile stretch known as the missing link.  A $35 million…

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foothillsparkwayExcerpted from an article by Erik Schelzig for the Associated Press.

“Walland, Tennesee – Efforts to extend a serpentine ridge-top road with soaring views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been thwarted for decades as engineers have grappled with how to complete a 1.6-mile stretch known as the missing link.  A $35 million commitment this summer by the federal government, the National Park Service and the state of Tennessee means the 10-bridge stretch can finally be completed, thrilling supporters who say it will open up one of the most scenic areas of the Foothills Parkway – but concerning those who say the project has gotten too expensive and poses a threat to the environment.  Sen. Lamar Alexander, former two-term Governor of Tennessee says that visitors would be able to take what he calls one of the most picturesque drives in our country with a view of the most-visited national park in America.

The new segment is scheduled to open within two years.  Work was halted in 1989 after retaining walls failed and contractors exposed pyrite, a mineral better known as “fool’s gold”, which forms sulfuric acid when it comes into contact with rain.  The toxic brew dissolves metals in bedrock and can wash into streams and rivers, choking off plants and wildlife and coating streambeds with iron hydroxide, tinting water yellow, red or orange.  Along with the engineering and environmental problems, escalating costs kept the missing link on the back burner until the late 2000s, when the federal government agreed to pay for the longest part of it – an  800-ft, S-shaped bridge designed to disturb as little earth as possible and costing $25 million – the money being provided through the 2009 Recovery Act, the federal response to the Great Recession.

Even after the bridges are built, half of the proposed 72-mile long Foothills Parkway will remain unfinished.  Land has been acquired, but no work has yet been done.

The Foothills Parkway was approved by Congress in 1944 as a companion  to other National Parkway routes such as the Blue Ridge Parkway and Natchez Trace…developed as part of the New Deal to help bring the economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930’s…”

SOURCE:  Erik Schelzig/Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times

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CATCH FALL IN THE SMOKIES http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/catch-fall-in-the-smokies/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/catch-fall-in-the-smokies/#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 15:11:35 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5836 Excerpted from an article by Karen Chavez for Asheville Citizen-Times “If a lifetime love affair could be adequately expressed, it would include fascination and respect, thousands of miles by air, car and foot, and a package of notes and photos delivered from the heart (and several years of exhaustive research).  Such is the affection Tim…

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fallinsmokiesExcerpted from an article by Karen Chavez for Asheville Citizen-Times

“If a lifetime love affair could be adequately expressed, it would include fascination and respect, thousands of miles by air, car and foot, and a package of notes and photos delivered from the heart (and several years of exhaustive research).  Such is the affection Tim Barnwell, Asheville photographer and author, has for the Smokies – all wrapped up in his visually-stunning book “Great Smoky Mountains Vistas: A Guide with Mountain Peak Identifications, for What to See and Do In and Around the National Park.”   The book has been released just in time for the centennial of the National Park Service, and serves as a companion to his “Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas”, released in 2014.

The timing is perfect for the rush of fall leaf-peepers, already flooding the Smokies, the most visited national park, with 107 million visitors last year.  The two books answer most-asked questions from visitors – and locals – in stunning photographs taken from key overlooks as well as from the air, especially, “What mountain is that?”

…Barnwell, who grew up in Bryson City, was up for the challenge of the books.  He spent a childhood camping in the park, and spent his honeymoon camping in Cades Cove, where he and wife Kathryn return each anniversary.  The part has deep meaning for Barnwell, and he wanted to return the favor….In the Smokies book, he identifies peaks and landmarks from places within the park, such as Newfound Gap Road/US 441, Cataloochee, and Clingmans Dome, from the ground and the air, but also identified places in the Smokies from outside the park, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Max Patch in Madison County, and the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee, that have views into the Smokies.  Barnwell also includes history, tips for photographs and safe driving, places to camp and picnic, waterfalls and old homesteads, and other places of interest and things to do in the Smokies.

Where to go:  Picks from “Smoky Mountains Vistas” for enjoying a color-draped outing this fall:

  • Smokemont Campground.  Barnwell calls this his favorite place…it is on Newfound Gap Road (Milepost 27.2 coming form Gatlinburg, or Milepost 4.4 coming from Cherokee) on the North Carolina side.
  • Greenbrier Cove. A secluded and less visited area of the park, accessed on the northern boundary from Hwy 321, about 6 miles east of Gatlinburg.  There is a 3.9 miles drive through the woods along the Little Pigeon River, and a strenuous 8 mile trail to the 100-foot Ramsey Cascades waterfall.
  • Cataloochee.  Elk were reintroduced in the Cataloochee Valley, after being exterminated through over-hunting centuries before.  From Asheville, take I-40 West to Exit 20 onto Jonathan Creek Road/US 276. After 0.2  miles, turn onto Cove Creek Road and go 1.2 miles. Stay right at the Smoky Mountains Park sign. After 5 miles the road turns to gravel.  The road  is steep and narrow – watch for elk in the valley and hiking trails.
  • Bryson City.  This Smokies gateway town in Swain County is a perfect jumping off point to the national park.  Catch a leaf-peeping tour on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, visit shops and restaurants. Drive north 3 miles to Deep Creek in the Smokies, where there is a campground, picnic, area, ranger station and three waterfalls. (Downtown Bryson City is also the starting point for travel on the locally-famous “Road To Nowhere” running along the north shore of Fontana Lake.  Google “Road To Nowhere” for history and further information.  It’s a lovely drive of just a few miles to its terminus, and fall colors should be about peak right now.)
  • Max Patch.  One of the best places to view fall colors in the Smokies is from outside the park, at Max Patch.  Looking west from the mountain bald you can see such Smokies landmarks as Mt. Sterling, Mt. Guyot and Mt. Cammerer.  The 360-panaoranic view is depicted in a six-page spread, with all the visible peaks pointed out. (Max Patch is one of the most loved spots on the Appalachian Trail, and can be accessed from the main highway running between Waynesville and Hot Springs, NC).

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez for the Asheville Citizen-Times

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