Issue 2: June 2002



An Interview With Mystery Author Sharyn McCrumb

New York Times best-selling author Sharyn McCrumb says she “grew up in a swirl of tales.” She has put that training to good use, publishing essays, short stories and 16 novels based on the stories she grew up with. Nearly all of her work is set in the Southern Appalachians, the place she still calls […]


Doe River Gorge(ous)

Hampton, Tennessee, is not known as a beauty spot. It’s a wide place in the road, a rough and tumble mountain intersection near Watauga Lake where U.S. 321 meets U.S. 19E — a place to buy beer and a bag of chips before passing on to more attractive surroundings. Yet barely a mile away, just […]


Slickrock, Waterfalls, Great Trails: Dupont Has It All

A couple of years ago word began to spread like wildfire about the great mountain biking at DuPont State Forest. Intriguing reports of a tumbling river and slickrock trails fanned the flames even higher. Over time the stories proved to be true, and judging from the number of vehicles now filling the parking lots every […]


Hemlock-Killing Insect Pest Discovered in Smokies

Biologists at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have confirmed the Park’s first-recorded infestation with the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a tiny aphid-like insect that attacks and kills hemlock trees. The first outbreak was confirmed last week about 3 miles north of Fontana Dam in the Swain County, NC portion of the Park and a second infestation […]


Wapiti Wonderland

It was a glittery, chilly mid-May morning, the sky brilliant blue, the trees fully leafed out in the electric green of early spring. A northwest wind herded puffy white clouds eastward as I crested the Cataloochee Divide to begin the serpentine crawl into Cataloochee Valley. I was on my way to visit Jennifer Murrow, […]


The Musical Mecca Of Floyd Still Drawing Crowds

Scrape, snap, scrape. The steel taps of clogging shoes hit the floor. It sounds like the cocking and firing of a rifle. “Yeah, get it now,” somebody says. Feet pound the floorboards – in sandals and boots and dress shoes, too. But shoulders and hips are eerily still. They sway only slightly, side to side […]


Grundy, Va. Picks Up And Moves To Higher Ground

“We’re just moving a town,” says Grundy Town Manager Chuck Crabtree. Experts call it a one-of-a-kind project. The funding scheme is unique, the partnerships are unheard of, and the change to the landscape will be significant. When the Grundy floodproofing and revitalization project is finished in 8-10 years, supporters say a town will be transformed […]


Wilderness Effort Hits Snag

North Carolina Congressman Cass Ballenger’s office has expressed an interest in reintroducing a bill to designate two wilderness study areas just south of Grandfather Mountain as official wilderness. But in Avery County, where 10,000 of the 13,000 total acres are located, a resolution is before the county commissioners that could deal a severe blow to […]


The True Costs of Coal: New Study Adds Them Up

As the Bush administration touts their Energy Plan and pushes for increases in domestic energy production, conservationists across the Southern Appalachians are today calling their emphasis on coal into question for both economic and environmental reasons. At the heart of the Bush Energy Plan is “clean coal technology,” an oxymoron to most conservationists but […]


How Our Native Strawberry Became World-Famous

One day as 18th-century botanist William Bartram traveled on horseback through the southern mountains, he discovered he had entered a field so thick with strawberry plants that the crushed berries had dyed his horse’s legs deep red. At one point he rode for two miles across an area he described as “strawberry plains.” The scattered […]


Clutch Move

Long before racecar driver Ward Burton crossed the finish line to win this year’s prestigious Daytona 500 and pocketed $1.4 million dollars, he lived in a shack, in the woods, with no electricity and no running water. Such would ordinarily be the basis for a rags-to-riches story. In fact, what follows is a story […]