Members and guests of The Bartram Trail conference will meet at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center on Scaly Mountain on Oct. 11-13 to learn more of the mountains that William Bartram, in his 1775 exploration, called "The Cherokee Mountains."
On the evening of Friday, Oct. 11, three Cherokee artists will demonstrate traditional crafts. Ramona Lossie will show river cane basket making, Mary Thompson will display the art of stamped pottery, and Sonny Ledford will demonstrate moccasin making and the use of the blowgun.
Tom Belt, Elder-in-Residence and Cherokee Language Instructor at Western Carolina University leads off the Saturday morning session with a unique presentation entitled "A Cherokee Looks at William Bartram." In addition, Dan Pittillo will lead a panel discussion of how the botany of the southern Appalachians has changed since the time of Bartram. Lamar Marshall, who has traced hundreds of miles of Cherokee trading paths and trails, will show the results of his study.
On Saturday afternoon, Tyler Howe, Historic Preservation Specialist with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee will speak on "The Cowee Townsite and Cherokee History" and Lamar Marshall will lead a driving tour through the portions of Macon County that Bartram called "the Vale of Cowee," ending with a visit to the Cowee Mound.
Sunday's activities include a morning hike to Scaly Mountain on the Bartram Trail, followed by a guided tour of the Bartram Garden at Highlands Biological Station.
The Bartram Trail Conference is a nationwide organization established in 1976 as part of America's Bicentennial observance to locate and mark the route of the pioneering Philadelphia naturalist William Bartram (1739-1823) through eight southern states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and louisiana.
The BTC works to promote interest in developing public access recreational trails and botanical gardens within the corridor of Bartram's route through in the individual states and to coordinate a regionally unified effort toward that end. It uses a "string of pearls" concept by highlighting significant natural areas and culturally significant locations along Bartram's route.
Additionally, the conference works to encourage the study, preservation and interpretation of the William Bartram heritage. It hosts biennial meetings of members at locations along the Bartram trail corridor as well as other activities.
The North Carolina Bartram Trail Society, which built and maintains the 75 miles of the Bartram Trail from the Georgia line to Cheoah Bald, is cosponsoring the conference.