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The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT) presented Land Conservationist of the Year and Volunteer of the Year Awards during LTLT's annual Fall Celebration on Nov. 3.

John Gladden received the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award. Gladden has been active in LTLT’s aquatic biomonitoring and land stewardship programs and has also assisted with youth education activities.

Gladden lives with his wife, Sandy, in southern Macon County.


After recognizing the economic impact the Appalachian Trail has on the Franklin community, David and Bonnie Pickartz with Goshen Timber Frames donated a trail shelter on the Long Branch portion of the trail in Macon County.

Earlier this month, community volunteers and members of the Nantahala Hiking Club joined together to erect the timber frame skeleton and begin the work on the shelter, which is anticipated to be finished by the end of the year.


One of the most unique leaf-looking experiences in the United States will soon be lumbering into view.

The “Shadow of the Bear,” located in southern Jackson County near Cashiers, is visible for about 30 minutes daily between 5:30 and 6 p.m. from mid-October through early November.

During this period, the bear-like shadow comes out of hibernation as the autumnal sun sets behind Whiteside Mountain.


Visitors to Western North Carolina’s mountains can look forward to a good display of color this autumn, although some areas will enjoy brighter hues than others, predicts Kathy Mathews, Western Carolina University’s fearless fall foliage forecaster.

The intensity of the color show will vary depending on where leaf-peepers are looking because of fluctuations in the amount of rainfall received across the region this spring and summer, said Mathews. An associate professor of biology at WCU who specializes in plant systematics, she bases her annual prediction in part on weather conditions, including rainfall, during the spring and summer growing season.


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