The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation, the regional coordinating body for economic development and cultural heritage tourism, released a new logo and tourism map for Southwest Virginia in October. The new brand is intended to help boost community and economic development in the region. — Tristin Van Ord
On Nov. 20, the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition and the Stay Together Appalachian Youth Project hosted the first Just Transition Youth Assembly at the Boone Youth Drop-In Center in Whitesburg, Ky. Approximately 20 individuals gathered to map local and regional resources in their communities, learn about solutions already in motion and discuss solutions that would facilitate a sustainable, healthy future for all people in Appalachia. The assembly was the first in a series. Find the STAY Project and KSEC on Facebook for information about the next Just Transition forum. — Lou Murrey
The U.S. Forest Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy have acquired 20 acres near Watauga Lake in Tennessee and can now relocate a roughly one mile section of the Appalachian Trail near Hampton, Tenn.
The proposed reroute will allow the Appalachian Trail to cross U.S. Highway 321 at a safer place.
In 2014, the Conservation Fund purchased the land and recently transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. — Tristin Van Ord
A bull elk was spotted in Pickens County, S.C., in October. The Pickens County Sentinel reports that the elk was tranquilized and transported to a secluded area in the South Carolina mountains.
Elk were native to the Palmetto State until the 18th century, but there is no current population in the area.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, over 30 species of snakes are now susceptible to snake fungal disease across 20 states in the Eastern United States.
The USGS reports that the disease causes blisters, thickened skin, ulcers and thinning in snakes. The outbreak could threaten certain species with extinction.