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Seven maintainers from the Nantahala Hiking Club (NHC), the Franklin based Appalachian Trail (A.T.) maintaining club, received certification training on the use of the cross cut saw on June 13 and 14. The NHC maintains 59 miles of the A.T. and more than 30 miles of “blue blaze” trails leading to it. More than 12 miles of the A.T. that the NHC maintains are located in the federally designated Southern Nantahala Wilderness Area. Federally designated Wilderness Areas offer the highest level of land protection we, as citizens, can provide. Power tools (chain saws) are not allowed for trail maintenance. Maintenance in wilderness areas must be done by hand tools such as cross cut saws and axes.


Dangling 20 stories above the ground, higher than the tallest tree can be an exhilarating experience for anyone. But when you are connected to a cable that spans the link of five football fields zipping at about 35 miles an hour, the rush you get is indescribable.

Nestled just off the highway, Highlands Aerial Park provides guests with adrenaline rich mountain canopy tours day in and day out. The park’s owner, George Powell, said that since he first opened the zip lining course, his customer base has continued to grow and has now reached the corners of the globe.


The Highlands Biological Foundation (HBF) hosts free evening lectures on Thursdays throughout the summer focused on the theme of natural history and conservation, a popular tradition that began in the 1930s. Today, these lectures are known as the Zahner Conservation Lecture Series, which are presented by well-known regional scientists, historians, conservationists, artists, and writers. This year’s series will run through Sept. 4.

On Thursday, July 10, Jay Erskine Leutze will give a lecture titled, “Stand Up That Mountain: the Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail.” was raised in Chapel Hill, N.C., and lives in the southern Appalachian Mountains on the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Trained as an attorney, he has become a leading voice for state and federal conservation funding for investment in public lands. He is a trustee for Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, one of the nation's most established land trusts. Leutze has won numerous awards, including The Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center.

On Thursday, July 17, Mary Pat Matheson will lecture on “The Art and Science of Botanical Gardens: Connecting People to Science and Nature.” Matheson is the president and CEO of the Atlanta Botanical Garden.


Editor’s note: In the economically challenging times in which we live, vacations have often become “staycations” or minivacations where one doesn’t spend the night away from home. Also known as “day trips” this area features many interesting places to visit for the price of a picnic lunch and a little gas in the tank. Contributing Writer Harry Taylor heads north for this week’s adventure.

Do you ever want to get away from home for a day of fun and adventure and still be sleeping in your own bed when the sun sets? Franklin, N.C., just happens to be in the center of literally hundreds of such day trip excursions. Pick a direction, jump in the car and head out. The trip may not even get you outside Macon County. It could start out in Franklin, ending up in one of the adjacent North Carolina counties, north Georgia, Tennessee, or South Carolina. Exploring nearby destinations can be a rewarding experience, discovering little known but intriguing attractions.


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