Great Smoky Mountains National Park hires first female chief ranger to oversee law enforcement

Lisa Hendy, a 26-year National Park Service veteran, has become the first female chief ranger in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hendy will oversee law enforcement duties, emergency medical services, wildland fire operations, search and rescue, backcountry operations, and the emergency communications center. A Chattanooga, TN native, Hendy is currently chief ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas, but has worked at Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Arches and Rocky Mountains national parks. She has served in a number of national leadership roles and won awards for her service, including the prestigious Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award, one of the highest recognitions a park ranger can receive.

Public climbing wall coming to Atlanta, GA this summer

As part of its Walls Are Meant for Climbing campaign, The North Face, through a partnership with the Trust for Public Land, is building public climbing walls across the country. The first was built in Denver, CO and Atlanta will be the second city to receive a climbing wall, followed by Chicago and Brooklyn. The wall in Atlanta will resemble the local rock at Horse Pen, a nearby climbing area, and was designed by kids from the YMCA and other Atlanta non-profits. The wall will be a part of the 16-acre Rodney Cook Sr. Park, which is currently under construction on the west side of Atlanta.

Western North Carolina non-profits join forces for Earth Month

Non-profits, universities and businesses in Western North Carolina have teamed up to celebrate Earth Month, calling the collective effort WNC for the Planet. During the month of April, the partnership will host environmental service and education opportunities and community events for people of all ages and walks of life across WNC. Events will include trail workdays in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, French Broad River cleanups; trail building in the Highlands of Roan and native habitat restoration. To learn more, join the kickoff party on Sunday, March 31 from noon-2pm at New Belgium brewery in Asheville or visit the online community calendar at WNCfortheplanet.org.