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Outdoors

The Macon County Public Library’s “Walking with Spring” series in partnership with the Nantahala Hiking Club and the Franklin Appalachian Trail Community corresponds with thru-hiker season in Franklin and highlights the A.T., hikers, and some of the other great outdoor activities and opportunities in the area.

Programs are scheduled in the library meeting room from the first day of Spring through Earth Day.

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Whether Spring’s “official arrival” this week is the real deal or just practice, the warmer weather spurs thoughts of gardening.

To jump-start the growing season, the Macon County Master Gardener Association offers a public workshop this Saturday, March 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Environmental Resource Center.

Guest presenter Ellen Averill, from Catalula, Ga., will share her knowledge and experience in the “Ready, Set, Plant” workshop, taking participants from testing the soil to finding and preparing the right site for the right plant.

The workshop offers a special opportunity for both seasoned gardeners and those new to the area to be successful with their plantings. Handouts will be provided and refreshments will be served.

Topics will include soil composition, pH, amendments, types of gardens, and site factors. Averill also will discuss varied garden requirements such as light, water, nutrients, drainage, tilling, compost, mulch, frost date and digging the right hole for vegetables, annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.

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March 14-April 11
Free Hiker Breakfast sponsored by First Baptist Church. All you can eat pancakes from 7:30 to 8:30 am. For more information call (828)369-9559.

March 27-28
11th Annual Hiker Bash at the Sapphire Inn. For more information go to www.hikerfoolbash.com or call Ronnie Haven at (828)524-4431.

March 28
Anniversary Celebration/A.T. Appreciation at Three Eagles Outfitters. For more information, call (828)524-9061.

March 28
A.T. a Local Treasure, learn about the different trail systems in Macon County and plan your next hike with your friends / family. At Outdoor 76, 12-2 p.m., for more information call (828)349-7676.

March 28
Thru hiker Chow Down sponsored by the Nantahala Hiking Club and the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company (LHBC). 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the LHBC for more information call (828)369-1983 www.lazyhikerbrewing.com.

April 4
Thru hiker Appreciation at Outdoor 76.Come rub shoulders with hikers as they prepare to hit the trail and journey over 2000 miles to Maine. For more information, call (828)349-7676.

Easter on the Trail sponsored by the Nantahala Hiking Club. For more information call (828)369-8915.

April 11
Trunk Sale sponsored by the Friends of the Greenway to support the Franklin Greenway and the Appalachian Trail. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Big Bear Park. For more information, call (828)369-8488.

April 25
Gear Swap & Community Cookout at Outdoor 76. Bring your new gear, used gear or forgotten gear and swap it out for your next adventure, starts at 10 a.m. Live music from 12-4 p.m. with breweries on hand for beer tastings. For more information, call (828)349-7676 or visit www.outdoor76.com.

Rebounding from one of the most vexing years in the organization’s history, Great Smoky Mountains Association officials announced details of its contributions to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 2014 and previewed plans for 2015 funding.

“What a difference a year can make,” GSMA Executive Director Terry Maddox said about the organization’s effort in 2014, which resulted in a $2.6 million contribution to the national park. “As bad as 2013 proved to be, 2014 was a year filled with superlatives.”

The trend toward a better year began early in the season, Maddox said. “As soon as the weather broke in early spring, it was clear the mood of the visitor was upbeat. Both visitation and sales confirmed this to be the case for the remainder of 2014.”

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