The Blue Ridge Parkway could see devastating budget cuts.
Your outdoor news for March 18, 2013:
Smoky Mountain Blaze
A large fire swept through resort rental cabins outside Pigeon Forge, Tenn., just north of Gatlinburg and the northern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What started as a house fire on Sunday evening quickly spread to neighboring homes and engulfed 5o or so large cabins in the Black Bear Resort and Trappers Ridge, forcing the evacuation of several hundred people. At its peak, the fire covered 140 acres and fire departments on the ground say the blaze is contained, but not controlled, though they have called in the National Guard to bring in some water-dropping Black Hawks. Luckily, no one was injured, but the amount of property destroyed is significant. There is an interesting debate going on on our Facebook page about the blaze and whether it is a result of too much development and not enough space. Either way, firefighters are working hard to keep it from spreading into the surrounding woods and possibly even the national park, so we thank them for that.
In It to Win It
From the “I didn’t know you could compete in that…” file comes this profile from the Smoky Mountain News on North Carolina’s competitive fly fishing team. The article takes a look at the rise of WNC fly fishermen on the national competitive fly fishing scene, which has come a long way in the past few years. Usually comprised of anglers from traditional western states, the U.S. team now how two members from N.C. and the state team is the top team in the country. This is an interesting sub-culture of fly fishing, and one few probably know that much about. While most utilize fly fishing as a way to get out in nature and relax – essentially the opposite of competing – this is America and if you can quantify it, you can win, and if you can win, I’ll beat you.
National Parks in Trouble
There is lots of talk about the Sequestration and its predicted affect on the already slashed and burned National Parks budget. From closed campgrounds and visitors centers to discontinued ranger programs, the news gets more and more depressing every day. Hoping to raise awareness while possibly keeping panic at bay, the National Parks Conservation Association released The Top Five Myths about the Sequester and National Parks, which explains a little of what is happening on a national level. If you would like to help, check out the second annual Plates for the Parkway event June 10-13 to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Like the parkway itself the event aims to link restaurants up and down the BRP in places like Asheville, Roanoke, and Hickory, in an effort to raise funds. Participating restaurants will donate a minimum of 10 percent of proceeds to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
In other National Parks news, the town of Culpeper, Va. has joined Madison County in its fight to bring a public entrance to Shenandoah National Park to its county. Apparently, President Hoover promised them an entrance when he built Rapidan Camp, but never made good on it – typical Hoover.