Thursday, October 23, 2014

Smokies Offers Reward for Information on Cataloochee Artifact Theft

Great Smoky Mountains NationalPark officials are offering a reward for information regarding the recent theft of artifacts from the Palmer House in Cataloochee, NC. The missing artifacts, including a trowel, mill pick, and a coffee mill, were taken from locked display cases in the Palmer House where historical information and exhibits are provided for park visitors.

"While these items have some market value as mere antiques, their associative value with individual families and with the community of Cataloochee is immeasurable," said Acting Superintendent Clay Jordan. "These values make them truly irreplaceable."

Park officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the theft. The unique, wall mounted coffee mill was donated to the park in 1935 by a Cataloochee resident. The trowel and mill pick, which was used to cut and sharpen millstone grooves, were also part of the park's permanent archival collection.

It is unlawful to disturb or deface historic resources within the park. Perpetrators may be sentenced up to 6 months in jail and or fined up to $5,000. Anyone with information as to the possible identity of the individuals responsible for the theft is encouraged to call the tip hotline at 865-436-1580.


Vandalism Reported in 10 National Parks

The National Park Service is currently investigating reports of vandalism in at least 10 national parks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Utah.

While the NPS can’t discuss details of a case under investigation, officials emphasize that they take the issue of vandalism seriously. National parks exist to preserve and protect our nation’s natural, cultural and historic heritage for both current and future generations. Vandalism is not only a violation of the law but it also damages and sometimes destroys often irreplaceable treasures that belong to all Americans.

The NPS also emphasizes that there are forums for artistic expression in national parks because national parks inspire artistic creativity. These images are outside that forum and outside the law.

Parks affected (awaiting confirmation) include: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; Yosemite National Park, California; Death Valley National Park, California; Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California; Joshua Tree National Park, California; Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado; Crater Lake National Park, Oregon; Bryce National Park, Utah; Zion National Park, Utah; and Canyonlands National Park, Utah.


'Kick Your Boots Off' with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy During Trail Celebration

Celebrate the iconic Appalachian Trail (A.T.) with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) on Thursday, Nov. 6 and show your support for the hikers and the thousands of volunteers that the organization serves regionally in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. The fundraising event “Kick Your Boots Off,” hosted at the Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in Asheville, begins at 6 p.m., with music starting at 7 p.m.

“Kick Your Boots Off” will feature fun A.T.-themed activities, an adventure-based giveaway and live music from the bands Pleasure Chest as well as Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks. Attendees are encouraged to dress for comfort and style, as there will be prizes for the best dressed among the hiker chic.

“This fun event will offer a great chance for members of the outdoor community to connect with one another,” said Morgan Sommerville, the ATC’s regional director. “Come meet regional Appalachian Trail Conservancy staff and volunteers all while learning more about our efforts to protect the world’s most famous long-distance hiking trail!”

Event Overview:
“Kick Your Boots Off” fundraiser
Date: Thursday, Nov. 6
Time: Doors open at 6 p.m.; music begins at 7 p.m.
Location: Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC
Cost: $15 in advance

Tickets for the event are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and $65 for VIP admission, and can be purchased here.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shenandoah National Park to Implement Night Closures of Skyline Drive During Hunting Season

Park Superintendent Jim Northup announced today that portions of the Skyline Drive, the famed mountain road through Shenandoah National Park, will be closed at night during hunting season. He noted that this is the thirty-fourth year that this closure has been undertaken and stressed its importance in reducing illegal hunting activity within the park during the Commonwealth of Virginia hunting season outside the park.

Beginning Monday, November 10, 2014, and ending Sunday, January 4, 2015, the Skyline Drive between Front Royal (Mile 0 at U.S. Highway 340) and Thornton Gap (Mile 31 at U.S. Highway 211) and between Swift Run Gap (Mile 65 at U.S. Highway 33) and Rockfish Gap (Mile 105 at U.S. Highway 250) will be closed daily between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. The central portion of the Drive, between Thornton Gap and Swift Run Gap, will remain open for overnight access to the Skyland Resort until that facility closes on November 30. Beginning Monday, December 1, 2014, and ending Sunday, January 4, 2015, the entire length of the Skyline Drive will be closed daily from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m.

Superintendent Northup said, "Closing portions of the Skyline Drive enables rangers to concentrate patrols on problem areas and to increase contacts along the park boundary."

Superintendent Northup also reminded the public that the park has a reward program to assist in combating illegal hunting in the park." A reward will be paid to anyone who furnishes information which leads to the conviction of any person who hunts, transports, or attempts to transport illegally taken wildlife within the park," said Northup. Anyone with information about such activities should call the park (toll free 1-800-732-0911; or 540-999-2227). The identity of persons furnishing information will be kept strictly confidential, and a person does not have to reveal his or her name.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Announcing Launch of New Hiking Website

Today we’re proud to announce the official launch of our brand new hiking website for Grand Teton National Park. The new site provides details on more than 40 hikes in the Grand Tetons, and is organized similarly to our, and websites. The URL for our new site is:

In addition to being a great resource for trail information, we designed the site to be an excellent tool for vacation planning as well. We’ve included a lot of travel information that will be helpful while planning your vacation.

Even if you have no plans on traveling to the Grand Tetons, I hope that you might enjoy some of the photographs on the site. If you know of anyone planning a trip to Grand Teton National Park, or any hikers in general that may be interested, please feel free to forward the website onto them.

Thanks again for all of your support! We would also love to hear any feedback you might have.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Temporary Parkway Closure at Milepost 95-106

Over a two week period in November, Blue Ridge Parkway maintenance personnel will be conducting large –scale trimming operations along the roadside from Milepost 95 to Milepost 106 (between Highways 43 at Bearwallow Gap and U.S. 460). During the periods of Wednesday to Friday, November 12-14, 2014, and Monday to Friday, November 17 - 21, 2014, both lanes of the Parkway in the work zone, during the work day, will be closed to all activity (cars, bicycles, and hikers) to ensure the safety of maintenance workers as well as Parkway visitors. No work will occur on weekends and the motor road will be open on Saturday and Sunday during this period.

Annually, Blue Ridge Parkway maintenance and resource management staff conduct maintenance activities that help control invasive vegetation growth along the Parkway, as well as insuring safe sight distances and a clear right-of-way areas for motorists. This work requires using a large tractor with a cutting head on a long arm, or boom, which must remain in the travel lanes during operation to properly trim the banks and road shoulders. The boom axe also allows access to clear areas behind guardrails and other roadside features.

Affected sections will close at approximately 7:45 a.m. each weekday and re-open daily about 5:00 p.m. EST from Wednesday to Friday, November 12-14, 2014, and from Monday to Friday, November 17 - 21, 2014. Those who normally commute on the Parkway on Monday through Friday will need to find alternate routes.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Camper Attacked by Dogs Needs Help

Today I received an email from a reader asking for help with regards to her being attacked by a group of hunting dogs while camping in the Snowbird Wilderness area earlier this week. Her fear is that these dogs may still be loose in the area, and could pose a danger to families and pets who may be recreating in the greater Smoky Mountains area. Here's her story:
On Monday, October 13, 2014 Kadie Anderson was camping with her two dogs in the Snowbird Wilderness area in Graham County North Carolina. She was breaking her camp and preparing to head home when a group of six hunting hounds ran into the camp site and began to attack her and her two dogs. Kadie was taken by surprise and was unable to get to her pepper spray and instead was forced to fend the hounds off with sticks and a tent stake. She fought the dogs off for 45 minutes, sustaining multiple bite wounds to her hands and legs. One of Kadie’s dogs was nearly killed in the attack and the other remains in guarded condition as she recovers from a serious abdominal injury. When the hounds men arrived, they had difficulty calling off their dogs. Kadie finished packing up her camp with a great deal of difficulty (her hands were badly shredded) and requested that the hunters hold their hounds until she and her dogs were safely back in her car. They did not; the dogs were released again before Kadie was able to safely leave the site. Despite the seriousness of the injuries and the fact that Kadie was alone, none of the hounds men offered further assistance; not even to help her get back into town safely.

We are requesting anybody with any information about these men to contact the Graham County Sheriff’s Department before these dogs hurt somebody else.

Hiking in the Smokies