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The Appalachian Trail Community Committee met in Franklin Town Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The committee, chaired by Bill Van Horn, is gearing up for another busy season welcoming Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who visit Franklin. The AT Community designation simply means the Franklin is a hiker-friendly town on the 2,100-plus mile trail from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Katahdin, Me.

The meeting focused on the upcoming Appalachian Trail Celebration events for 2015. These events will run from the first day of spring (Friday, March 20) thru Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22).

During this celebration, the Nantahala Hiking Club will sponsor a Thru-hiker Chow down on Saturday, March 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will provide lunch for thru-hikers featuring chilidogs and homemade sweets at the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company located at 188 W. Main Street, Franklin. For additional information, call Sharon Van Horn at (828)369-1983.


The crew of Appalachian Tree Services of Franklin helped remove several large trees and brush debris from the Monteith Farmstead in Dillsboro, N.C. The firm generously offered their labor and equipment to support the efforts of the Appalachian Women’s Museum (AWM). Over the past several months the AWM has worked to improve the grounds of the farmstead in a number of ways with support from members of the Jackson County Golf Club and other volunteers.

The Appalachian Women’s Museum is a recognized 501c(3) non-profit organization whose goal is to create a museum that will chronicle the rich and diverse history of Southern Appalachian women.


Shed those winter layers and get on the trail with Friends of the Smokies for the first Classic Hike of the season and discover Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On Tuesday, March 10, hike the Smokemont Loop Trail led by hiking guide and author Danny Bernstein.

The Smokemont Loop Trail is 6.2 miles in length with a total elevation gain of 1,400 feet and is moderately difficult. Hikers will visit the historic Lufty Baptist Church and the secluded Bradley Cemetery named after a family that settled in the region in the early 19th century.



The impact of successful festivals and events on the economy of the 26 westernmost counties of North Carolina will be the subject of a daylong tourism industry conference Tuesday, April 21, presented by the Western Carolina University College of Business.

Titled LEAD:Tourism, the conference is expected to attract elected and appointed government officials, representatives of tourism and economic development organizations and chambers of commerce, and owners and operators of private sector businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry.

The focus on planning festivals and events designed to lure visitors to Western North Carolina arose during last year’s inaugural tourism conference, said Steve Morse, director of WCU’s Hospitality and Tourism Program.


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