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Macon’s best kept secret will soon be serving region’s youth again

For nearly a decade, an adventure camp stowed away in Tessentee in the southern part of Macon County went untouched. Bunk houses were beginning to crumble, the camp's fire ring was swallowed by poison ivy, and a high ropes course built in the ’70s blended in with native pines. What was once a destination for Boy and Girl Scout troops from across the region, had quickly tumbled into an overgrown wasteland with just a few years of neglect.

But all that has changed, and Macon County is well on its way to once again being home to one of western North Carolina's best kept secrets, a prime adventure camp abundant in natural resources.


A new invasive plant species that appears to be poised to be a terrible invasive in moist, nutrient-rich situations across eastern North America has been documented in six counties in North Carolina, three in Tennessee, two in South Carolina and two in Georgia: fig buttercup, also called lesser celandine (Ficaria verna, formerly Ranunculus ficaria).

Fig Buttercup is an early-blooming perennial with origins in Europe and northern Africa. It is sometimes confused with marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). Because of its showy yellow flowers, it has apparently been enjoyed in gardens for many years, mostly in the Northeast. More recently, its behavior is transitioning to that of an aggressive invasive species that threatens bottomlands throughout its adopted range.


Base Camp Cullowhee, Western Carolina University’s outdoor programming organization, will launch a speaker series focused on outdoor adventure with a Tuesday, March 3, presentation featuring Mark Singleton, executive director of American Whitewater.

The program will begin at 7 p.m. in the theater of WCU’s A.K. Hinds University Center. It is free and open to everyone.

The new speaker series is designed to complement and enhance WCU’s reputation as an epicenter of outdoor adventure, said Josh Whitmore, WCU’s associate director for outdoor programs who oversees the operations of Base Camp Cullowhee. Plans are to bring at least one outdoor adventurer to WCU’s campus each semester to talk about his or her experiences in a variety of recreational activities and to discuss the need for outdoor recreation enthusiasts to advocate for the wild places they love, Whitmore said.


The Tuckaseigee River Chapter #373 of Trout Unlimited to meet Tuesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the United Community Bank 1640 E. Main Street in Sylva.

Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. ($5) followed by a chance to win a new fly rod. The four-piece, 7.5 foot, IM-12, 3-4 weight rod was built by fellow chapter member Jim Mills and would make a great addition to any collection. The quality of the rod is very impressive. The rod comes with an aluminum case.

Matt Kulp will update the chapter on some park projects including the Lynn Camp Prong brook trout restoration project, water quality and critical load modelling, brook trout genetic studies, Didymo project and a new park creel survey form. Kulp will be asking the chapter for volunteers to support the new vital signs monitoring efforts on Deep Creek. The project will need a group of folks to help collect water quality data six times a year along the length of the stream, providing a great opportunity to collect some meaningful data, support the park mission of protecting and preserving, as well as get ????????????????????????????????????????????

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