Environment

Are you drinking coal ash?

By Dan DeWitt | 18 Sep 18
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LouAnn Watkins just wants drinking water without cancer-causing toxins. A 2016 test of her home’s well water found levels of a potent carcinogen, hexavalent chromium, more than four times the level that had recently prompted “do not drink” warnings from the state. The culprit? Watkins and other residents suspect the network of ash ponds at…

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‘I don’t know how you can ignore that call.’ Neighbors join together to protect their water

By Hart Fowler | 15 Sep 18
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The Mountain Valley Watch, which began with one neighbor asking another what can be done, has brought a sophisticated vigilance in the monitoring of malfeasance by the pipeline.

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Underwater Rainbow: Can the Candy Darter Survive the MVP?

By Lauren Bowman Clontz | 10 Sep 18
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the rare and elusive candy darter may face near extinction if the Mountain Valley Pipeline proceeds.

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Quick Hits: Hawk Eyes

By Brian Cooke | 31 Aug 18
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Scan The Skies This September If Vic Laubach doesn’t have to work and the rain holds off, he is probably at Rockfish Gap, Milepost 0 on the Blue Ridge Parkway counting birds of prey. “When raptors migrate,” explains Laubach, Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch Coordinator, “they all follow common paths, and we can get good population…

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Quick Hits: The Snorkeler

By Phil Morgan | 31 Aug 18
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Kevin Merrill is changing the way we see rivers. Kevin Merrill is happiest in a clear, flowing stream, poking around an eddy with a diver’s mask sucked tight against his face. He’ll lie perfectly still, sometimes for over an hour, until the fish get comfortable and swim right up to him. Merrill is founder of…

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This Is a Death Sentence for Red Wolves.

By Dan DeWitt | 30 Aug 18
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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service guts protections for the last red wolves in the wild. Ron Sutherland drove for hours through the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, alternately inching forward and braking to scan swaths of cropland as long as jetliner runways. He was determined to make a good stab at seeing a red…

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Quick Hits: A Second Chance

By Rachel Hicks | 29 Aug 18
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Appalachian Bear Rescue has helped hundreds of orphaned cubs return to the wild An orphaned bear cub from Kentucky—rescued by wildlife officials—recently joined Appalachian Bear Rescue, where she will recover until she’s ready to join the wild again. She is one of over 250 bears that the center has rescued. Dana Dodd, president of the…

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These Drainage Nets From Western Australia Could Help Our Waterways

By Justin Forrest | 28 Aug 18
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wastewater drainage nets

In a trial run, over 800 pounds of garbage has been retained, recycled, and composted. Trash is, unfortunately, an all to common sight across our region. Whether you’re hiking a remote backwoods river or fishing a local stream, it follows us everywhere. Bottles, bags, fishing line, wrappers, you name it, it’s everywhere. All we can…

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The Death And Life Of A Trail

By Wally Smith | 27 Aug 18
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Appalachia, Va. Rebuilds A Footpath and an Identity Skip Skinner still remembers hiking up to Lost Camp as a kid. The “camp” was Skinner’s name for a spot nestled up a hiking trail above the town of Appalachia, Va., where a hand-built log shelter had been erected against the base of a cliff. The steep…

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Project 2018: Grassroots Groups Partner To Build Trails

By Dan DeWitt | 21 Aug 18
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Several local and regional outdoor organizations have worked closely with the Pisgah Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service to unveil Project 2018. The project will add new backcountry mountain biking loops and a hiking/biking path to a popular trailhead, and it will also upgrade and reroute unsustainable trails. Much of the trail work will…

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Kids Rally for Pisgah: Over 100 Kids Spoke. Was the Forest Service listening?

By BRO Staff | 18 Aug 18
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Over 100 kids speak for the trees in a rally for Pisgah National Forest. Will their voices be heard by the Forest Service?

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Canary In The Coal Mine

By BRO Admin | 14 Aug 18
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By Katarina Zimmer and Elise Hansen Or, warbler near a fracking well. If you’re hiking near small streams in the forests of central Appalachia, you might spot a small brown-greyish bird with a spotted belly, flitting around and chirping near the water. If its tail is bobbing up and down, it’s likely to be the…

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East Vs. West: Which side of the Smokies is best?

By Alison Murtagh | 12 Aug 18
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Stretching between Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country, attracting more than twice as many visitors as the Grand Canyon every year. The park’s 522,427 acres create the perfect spot for hiking, backpacking, wildlife observation, and other outdoor activities. But with the park split…

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DO YOU HEART PISGAH? Join the I Heart Pisgah Coalition. We did.

By BRO Staff | 11 Aug 18
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I Heart Pisgah Coalition

Thousands of citizens and dozens of businesses and organizations—including Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine—have joined together to help protect Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest.

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Return of the Ghost Cat

By Ryan Wichelns | 30 Jul 18
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Two mountain lion sightings have been confirmed in Tennessee. Another mountain lion was killed on a Connecticut highway. Are these elusive cats prowling the East once again? The photo is black and white. It’s 8:02 p.m., according to the timestamp at the bottom of the image. The flash of the game camera extends to a…

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