18th Annual PUMPKINFEST :: Saturday, October 25 from 9am - 4pm * Downtown Franklin :: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!

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

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Outdoors

A.T. Conservancy is granted $2,000.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has granted $2,000 from its specialty license plate funds to Friends of the Smokies to help reduce black bear access to backpacker food along the Appalachian Trail in the Smokies.

“With more than 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail running along the high ridges of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s only natural for our groups to work together,” said Holly Demuth, North Carolina director of Friends of the Smokies.

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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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