25th Annual Leaf Lookers GEMBOREE :: Friday, October 17 - Sunday, October 19 at the Macon County Community Building

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Outdoors

In January 2012, the national forests in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia issued decisions to allow boating above the Highway 28 bridge on the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River. This section of the river is not a place for most boaters – floating in this area at high, fast flows is dangerous for people who don’t have specialized skills and experience.

In January the US Forest Service, which is part of the US Department of Agriculture, issued an administrative decision notice which effectively brought to a conclusion twelve years of appeals and lawsuits between the Forest Service and white water paddlers trying to gain access to the upper Chattooga River.

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The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and Friends of the Greenway, in celebration of N.C. Invasive Plant Awareness Week, hosted an educational event on the Franklin Greenway about the identification, control, and prevention of exotic invasive plants and animals. Experts from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River, Western North Carolina Alliance and others hosted educational displays, give brief presentations and answer questions about exotic invasive plants, insects, mammals, fish, and aquatic invertebrates. Weed-eating goats will also be on the Greenway to demonstrate a natural method for removing exotic invasive plants. Additional topicsthat were covered included the importance of streamside buffers for water quality; methods of native habitat restoration; and the benefits of healthy forest soils.

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Last Saturday, Appalachian Trail hikers and supporters from throughout the area came together at the Fourth Annual April Fool's Trail Days Festival, held along Main Street in historic downtown Franklin.The Trail Days Festival, along with the Annual Hiker Bash, celebrates Franklin’s appreciation for the thousands of Appalachian Trail hikers that pass through the area each year, and for the Appalachian Trail culture.

The Festival also serves to kick off the spring hiking season for thru-hikers. Traditionally April 1 is recognized as the beginning of the hiking season, as temperatures warm and the weather improves.

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On Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25, the best canoe and kayak racers from around the United States met on the Nantahala River in western North Carolina to decide who wins and who loses in the last big white water race of the season, the U.S. Open Canoe and Kayak Championships, sponsored by Bank of America.

Although this is one of a series of regional races, it was a very important race because it was the last race before the U.S. Olympic Team Trials held April 12-15 in Charlotte, N.C. Competitors used the U.S. Open to judge their chances at the Olympic Trials and to assess the competition.

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