Hiker missing for a week in Arkansas mountains is found alive

A man who went missing after embarking on a solo hike to celebrate his 38th birthday has been found alive. Josh McClatchy set out to hike Arkansas’ Buckeye Trail but soon texted his mother that he was lost. For the following six days, his friends and family worked alongside rescue agencies to search for McClatchy in a rugged and remote area of Arkansas. A rescue helicopter eventually spotted the hiker, who had wandered four miles off of the trail. It took rescuers 3.5 hours to carry McClatchy off of the mountain and back to the trailhead where he was transferred to a hospital and reunited with his family. The hiker was severely dehydrated but otherwise in good condition. His mother told ABC that it was her son’s first time hiking alone.

Film about people who have protected southern rivers to make world debut June 20

WNC’s History and Documentary Film Center, the Center for Cultural Preservation, will soon release a new film about the ordinary people who did extraordinary things to protect southern rivers and streams. The film, titled Guardians of Our Troubled Waters, is the center’s sixth feature film. The film chronicles early and remarkable river stewards who stood up against the destruction of rivers and wetlands in Western North Carolina, East Tennessee and South Florida and those who carry on the fight today.

The world premiere of the film takes place on June 20 at 7 pm at Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium. The film will also play June 22 at 7:30 pm at the NC Arboretum and June 23 at 7:30 pm at White Horse Black Mountain. Tickets are $15 and reservations can be made online at www.saveculture.org.

Tourism to national parks in southern WV creates nearly $70 million in economic benefit

A newly released National Park Service report shows that more than 1.36 million visitors to the New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River, and Gauley River National Recreation Area in southern West Virginia spent over $60 million in communities surrounding the three parks in 2018. The spending supported nearly 850 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of almost $70 million.

The report also shows that, throughout the country, 318 million park visitors spent over $20 billion in communities within 60 miles of national parks. The National Park Service reports that national park tourism is a significant economic driver, bringing in $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.