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The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with its Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Community™ partners and 31 Trail maintaining clubs, invite families to take a hike on the A.T. during the fourth annual Family Hiking Day on Saturday, Sept. 27. Held trail-wide on National Public Lands Day, Family Hiking Day is a program developed by the ATC to introduce and welcome families to the A.T. and all of the benefits that come from spending time outdoors.

With studies showing that children are spending less time outdoors each year, the ATC developed this program to help get kids, youth, families and trailside neighbors outside and active. Hiking the A.T. is not only a good source of physical exercise, it also provides an opportunity to create lasting memories and long-term appreciation for protected public lands.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to host Family Hiking Day for the fourth year,” said Ron Tipton, executive director/CEO of the ATC. “It’s a great opportunity to engage families with the outdoors, promote physical exercise and encourage people to explore their natural and cultural heritage on the Appalachian Trail.”


Growing up in a military family is never easy. Often times it involves a lot of moving around, being away from a parent for long periods of time, and living a lifestyle that a lot of people don’t understand. The one thing that can make all of that even harder, is when you lose someone you love as a casualty of war.

To help children who lose loved ones in combat, Major Kent Solheim, a special operations service member who lost his right leg when he was seriously wounded in combat in Iraq in 2007, created the Gold Star Teen Adventures summer program.

Realizing that if he would have not survived his accident in 2007 he would have still wanted his two children to know the brotherhood of the special operations community, Solheim created Gold Star Teen Adventures.


Resolution being submitted to reflect opposition.

From corner to corner, 46 percent of Macon County is covered by the Nantahala National Forest. With nearly half of the county being national forest land, how that land can be utilized is closely restricted by the United States Department of Agriculture and the department is currently revising a plan to further restrict access to national forest (NF) land.

The United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service is currently in the process of revising the 1987 Land and Resource Management Plan under which the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are managed. The revision highlights several changes on utilization of the NF lands including the additional designation of wilderness areas within the forests.


Southwestern Community College officials are taking measures to remove lead and to prevent the potential for new contamination upon receiving results of recent water and soil testing at the college’s firing range in Dillsboro.

Though no lead concentrations were detected in surface water samples taken uphill and downhill of the firing range, the results received this week show an elevated level of lead concentration in soil roughly 15-20 feet downhill of the shotgun range.

The steps SCC is taking now include more testing farther downhill of the first samples and the installation of erosion control fabric. These were recommended Tuesday by Robin Proctor, western area environmental chemist with the NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR).


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