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PRESIDENT BLAKE DEMASO b l a ke @ b l u e r i d g e o u t d o o r s . c o m E D I TO R I N C H I E F J E D D F E R R I S jedd@blueridgeoutdoors.com P U B L I S H E R L E A H WO O DY leah@blueridgeoutdoors.com C R E AT I V E D I R E C TO R L AU R E N WO R T H lauren@blueridgeoutdoors.com A S S O C I AT E P U B L I S H E R K AT I E H A R T W E L L katie@blueridgeoutdoors.com E D I TO R I A L & P R O D U C T I O N

CONTENTS MARCH 2020 D E PA R T M E N T S

07 QUICK HITS

Kids on Bikes – Plastic Bottle Ban – Get in Gear Fest – Supreme Court to Decide Future of Appalachian Trail

S E N I O R E D I TO R W I L L H A R L A N will@blueridgeoutdoors.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER AMELIA MCCONNELL amelia@blueridgeoutdoors.com T R AV E L E D I TO R E L L E N K A N Z I N G E R ellen@blueridgeoutdoors.com O U T D O O R N E W S E D I TO R

PERSPECTIVE

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EXPLORE

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THE GOODS

KIM DINAN

C O N T R I B U TO R S M A S O N A DA M S A.K. CLEMMONS DA N I E L D E W I T T WA L LY S M I T H

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D O U G S C H N I T Z S PA H N E R I C J. WA L L AC E R A N DY J O H N S O N N OA H P O U LO S

C O P Y E D I TO R S JULIA GREEN, ROBERT MCGEE

An interview with Jonathan Jarvis, former Director of the National Park Service.

A trip to the Blue Ridge Discovery Center.

Fly Fishing Favorites TA K E A T R I P T O T H E B L U E RIDGE DISCOVERY CENTER.

ADVERTISING & BUSINESS S E N I O R AC C O U N T E X E C U T I V E

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RACE AHEAD

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NEW PLACES TO PLAY

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CHEROKEE CHANGES

Start training and sign up for one of these standout events in the Blue Ridge.

A look at two state parks in development.

MEET THE STREAMSWEEPERS A group intent on cleaning up the Clinch River.

Principal chief Richard Sneed is turning his western North Carolina home into a mecca of outdoor recreation—and he’s doing it using traditional tribal values.

ON THE COVER Casting lines on Virginia's James River. Photo by Sam Dean.

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QUICK HITS

OUTDOOR NEWS

BY KIM DINAN

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK BREAKS VISITOR RECORD IN 2019

The country’s most visited national park keeps getting more popular. In 2019, Great Smoky Mountains National Park saw record visitation numbers, welcoming 12,547,743 visitors. That’s up from a record-breaking year in 2018, which saw 11,421,203 visitors.

BLUE RIDGE NATIVE WINS GOLD AT 2020 X GAMES

Twenty-year-old snowboarder Zeb Powell won gold in Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado in late January. According to Powell’s Red Bull athlete profile, he grew up skiing at Cataloochee Ski Area where he learned to ride with “creativity, flow and style.” His signature blend, states the website, is “of a super-smooth rail game with shifty spins and tweaked-out grabs.”

NORTH CAROLINA COUNTY BANS BOTTLED WATER PURCHASED WITH TAXPAYER MONEY

In a move to reduce the use of single-use plastic water bottles, Durham County has become the first in North Carolina to ban plastic water bottles purchased with county funds. All five commissioners on the Durham County Board of Commissioners voted for the ban. In their place, Durham County departments will use reusable, paper, or biodegradable cups and water pitchers or urns. The new rule specifies all new and replacement drinking fountains must have reusable bottle filling capabilities. The new rule goes into effect July 1—with exceptions only for bottled water needed during emergency situations.

HIKER ATTACKED ON APPALACHIAN TRAIL PLANS TO FINISH THRU-HIKE

Kirby Morril, the hiker who was attacked by a man with a knife while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail last year, revealed that she plans to return to the trail this month. Last May, Morril was camping with three other thru-hikers when she and another hiker, Ron Sanchez, were beaten and stabbed by James Jordan, a hiker with known mental health issues. Sanchez died from his injuries. Morril managed to escape the attacker, hiking three hours to safety. She suffered nine stab wounds and 40 lacerations and has been recovering at her home in New Brunswick, Canada, since the attack. Morril says she plans to head back to Georgia in March to start the Appalachian Trail over again. She told Canada’s CTV News: “I always wanted to do the whole trail from end to end, and I didn’t get to do it.”

SKIING’S FREERIDE WORLD TOUR ANNOUNCES EQUAL PAY FOR MEN AND WOMEN The Freeride World Tour (FWT), which hosts the best freeskiers and snowboard freeriders competing for the title of World Champion, announced that male and female athletes will now

compete for the same cash prize, providing equal pay to all athletes regardless of gender. On their website, the tour says that “it’s a progressive step forward for female freeriding, and the FWT hopes it will elevate the next generation of freeriders.”

GET IN GEAR FEST

Outdoor Gear Builders (OGB), the first gear builder association of its kind, will hold their sixth annual Get in Gear Fest on March 21 in North Carolina. The festival includes gear demos, new gear sneak peeks, opportunities to meet gear makers in person, and a customer appreciation sale; plus music, food trucks, beer, and more. In addition to the activities, the event will host a raffle for OGB member gear prizes to raise money for Pisgah Conservancy. The free, family-friendly festival takes place from 12-5 at the Salvage Station in Asheville. More information: outdoorgearbuilders.com.

FIRST WILD EASTERN INDIGO SNAKE IN 60 YEARS SPOTTED IN ALABAMA The first wild Eastern indigo snake in 60 years was documented in Alabama in late January. “This is a monumental benchmark in conservation for Alabama and the southeast region for this

species,” said Traci Wood, the Habitat and Species Conservation Coordinator with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. Eastern indigo snakes are the longest native snake species in the U.S. Alabama has worked to reintroduce captive snakes into the wild, and the recently spotted hatchlingsized snake is proof that the conservation efforts have paid off. The species is listed as threatened in Florida and Georgia and, until recently, officials in Alabama believed the snake was locally extinct.

ENGLISH ADVENTURER BECOMES YOUNGEST WOMAN TO SKI SOLO FROM THE COAST OF ANTARCTICA TO THE SOUTH POLE A 29-year-old adventurer and motivational speaker, Mollie Hughes, set a world record on January 10, when she arrived at the south pole after skiing 702 miles. Her accomplishment makes her the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. Hughes battled severe weather, including a whiteout for eight days in a row, as she pulled a sled

A N E A S T E R N I N D I G O S N A K E WA S SPOTTED IN ALABAMA.

weighing over 230 pounds and skied alone between 10 and 12 hours per day.

LAND PURCHASE WILL PREVENT DRILLING IN FLORIDA EVERGLADES

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says that the state will buy 20,000 acres of land and spend as much as $18 million to prevent drilling in the Everglades. The land will be purchased from Kanter Real Estate LLC, which had obtained approval for exploratory oil wells in the Everglades, reports Gazette Extra. “We will permanently save this land,” DeSantis said at a news conference. “It will be the largest wetlands acquisition in a decade.”

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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QUICK HITS

YOUTH CYCLING IN SCHOOLS

LEARNING TO RIDE

MEET A DEDICATED GROUP FROM NORTH CAROLINA WORKING HARD TO GET BIKES INTO SCHOOLS. BY NOAH POULOS

THE FREEDOM OF THE RIDE

Any one of us who loves to bike had that moment when we took off the training wheels, finally kept our balance, and pedaled forward without ever looking back. Freedom at last. Biking gave me the independence, confidence, and coordination that I so craved for the six years leading up to that moment. While I grew up with my own bike at home, many kids lack access and aren't so fortunate. However, thanks to Outride’s Ride for Focus grants and Strider’s All Kids Bike program, bikes are being incorporated into physical education programs all over the country to give kids that feeling of freedom and confidence that we all need in our youth.

ADVOCACY IN ACTION

Working hard to get bikes in schools in North Carolina is Cathy Matthews, Advocacy Specialist with Spirited Cyclist in Huntersville, near Charlotte. Matthews has helped middle and elementary schools in her community implement the programs that Outride and Strider have to offer. In her first year on the job, Matthews teamed up with Bailey Middle School physical education teacher Stephanie

Ford to apply for the Ride for Focus grant. “The goal of this program is to provide a healthy outlet for kids who are struggling,” Matthews explains. “This helps with their behavior and academic achievements.” Bailey Middle was awarded the grant in 2018 and used the funds to purchase bikes from Spirited Cyclist. “It was very exciting for us at Spirited Cyclist to build and deliver 21 brand new bikes to Bailey Middle school for their new bike program,” Matthews recalls. The impacts of the program have been massive. “[In the past year] the number of suspensions has decreased and grades have increased. I'm sure many factors contribute to this progress, but I feel the Riding for Focus program is one of them,” says Ford. “The other benefits I have seen are tremendous: increased self-confidence, increased social and spatial awareness, increased accountability.” And the benefits aren’t limited just to the fun of riding, Ford explains. “Every student has a job during class such as safety, maintenance, teacher assistant, and technology, which includes wearing a GoPro while riding.” Students at Bailey Middle not only gain cycling skills, but also learn about collaboration and the work that goes into having a safe and fun ride.

S T U D E N T S AT B A I L E Y M I D D L E SCHOOL POSING ON THEIR BRAND NEW SPECIALIZED BIKES.

HONORING A FRIEND

Matthews and the Spirited Cyclist team also helped get bikes into three Charlottearea elementary schools by partnering with Donna Turner, a local who was moved to advocate for bikes in schools after the passing of a close friend who had a deep passion for cycling. “When J [Jeanette Martin] passed following a battle with breast cancer, I wanted to do something to keep her spirit and memory alive, so I started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for bikes [in schools]...” Turner explains. “We heard about the Strider Foundation through Spirited Cyclist... I reached out to [owner] James Good looking for direction on how to use the funds we had raised to honor the passing of [Martin] to bring bikes to kids in the community.” The Strider Foundation is founded upon the belief that cycling should be available to everyone, regardless of their physical, mental, or financial abilities. “[When we learned] the approach and the impact of the foundation, my husband and I were literally moved to tears...it resonated so deeply as a way to honor all that our

friend had embodied,” says Turner. In addition to donating bikes, the Strider Foundation also offers their “Learnto-Ride” curriculum, which equips teachers with the training necessary to make learning how to ride fun, safe, and educational. Between the funds raised through the GoFundMe and the connection to the Strider Foundation, Donna and her husband, Ed, were able to get Strider’s bikes and curriculum into three schools: Bruns Academy, Torrence Elementary, and Endhaven Elementary. Turner explains, “the longevity and impact of the program seemed ideally suited to have [Jeanette’s] passion live on.” After the success of this effort, Turner is just getting started. “We made the decision to try to raise additional funds to sponsor more schools. We’re partnering with Primal Brewery & Spirited Cyclist to host a benefit at Primal Brewery in Huntersville on March 21st,” Turner says.

ANYONE CAN DO IT Bikes offer kids the opportunity to exercise, learn, and gain a sense of

freedom and confidence, regardless of their home life or background. “Bikes are independence, confidence and fun all rolled into one,” Turner says. “We’ve seen how quickly the confidence grows, and how much fun a kid can have doing something [many of us] were blessed to have taken for granted. We’d love to see every kid have the opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time.” Matthews, Ford, and Turner all have shown that with some serious dedication and collaboration, getting bikes and cycling curriculum into schools is possible. With organizations like Strider and Outride working hard to team up with schools, bike shops, and everyday people, we could be looking at a future where all kids have access to ride a bike. If you’re interested in advocating for bikes in schools, reach out to your nearest bike shop. Many bike shops have the information on grants and programs that make bikes more accessible. For more information on Strider Foundation and Outride visit: stridereducationfoundation.org outridebike.org/ridingforfocus

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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QUICK HITS

PUBLIC LANDS

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASE IMPACTING APPALACHIAN TRAIL BY KIM DINAN

WINDING ITS WAY FROM GEORGIA TO MAINE, the

Appalachian Trail welcomes over two million hikers each year, who enjoy the beloved footpath’s scenic seclusion. But currently, power companies spearheading two controversial natural gas pipelines, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), are fighting for permission to cross the A.T., and the debate over whether the Forest Service has authority to issue the permits required for the pipeline’s construction has made its way to the Supreme Court. The high court’s decision could change the future of how the trail is managed.

A TIMELINE OF APPALACHIAN TRAIL PIPELINE PROJECTS

In 2018, developers of both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline were granted permits by the U.S. Forest Service under the Mineral Leasing Act authorizing both pipelines to cross the

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BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS

A.T. on national forest lands. Construction on the $7.5 billion ACP began in May 2018 in West Virginia. If the ACP is finished, it will carry natural gas 600 miles between West Virginia and eastern North Carolina and cross the Appalachian Trail near the Three Ridges Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Nelson County, Va. The path of the proposed MVP is 300 miles long, running from southern Virginia to northwestern West Virginia and crossing the A.T. within a quarter mile of Virginia’s Peters Mountain Wilderness. In December 2018, Cowpasture River Preservation Association, et al. v. United States Forest Service was brought to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit contended that the U.S. Forest Service did not have the authority to issue the special use permits that gave the ACP and MVP authority to cross the trail. Upon hearing the case, the Fourth Circuit vacated the permit, determining that the Forest Service did not have the legal authority required to issue a permit under the Mineral Leasing Act. Under the National Trail System Act, the Appalachian Trail is administered as part

of the National Park Service. The court concluded that only the National Park Service could issue a permit under the Mineral Leasing Act. Because federal law dictates that it takes an Act of Congress to grant the Park Service the authority to issue such a permit, the Fourth Circuit determined that it is not legally possible for a natural gas pipeline to be permitted on federal land within the Fourth Circuit (Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.) The decision put a major kink in the construction plans of the pipelines. Unhappy with the decision by the Fourth Circuit, on June 25, 2019, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC filed for a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court to review the case. A writ of certiorari directs the record of a lower court, in this case the Fourth Circuit, to be delivered to a higher court for review. It’s quite rare for the Supreme Court to issue writs of certiorari, usually only doing so if the case is determined to be of critical national importance; legal novelty; or in order to solve a disagreement between federal Circuit Courts. On October 4, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decision, agreeing to hear the Cowpasture case in 2020.

PIPELINE IMPACTS

Unsurprisingly, siting a natural gas pipeline across the Appalachian Trail has major physical impacts on the trail. “We are already seeing more visual impacts from Mountain Valley Pipeline than were identified in the environmental review process,” says Andrew

Downs, Central and Southwest Regional Director at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. One example, says Downs, is when MVP subcontractors drove four wheelers up and down the trail. “You can imagine it’s someone’s lifelong dream to hike the A.T. They get to this backcountry setting and it’s the first time they see West Virginia and it’s beautiful—and then to have teams of four wheelers driving up and down [the trail] will really destroy the experience. You never forget when you have that tranquility interrupted,” says Downs. The physical impacts to the trail are troublesome, but Downs says that one of the long-lasting implications will be the determination of whether or not the National Forest Service has the authority to issue the permits. Should the court find that the NFS does not have authority, it could change the way the entire trail is managed.

LASTING IMPLICATIONS

“We were surprised that the Cowpasture case said that the Forest Service couldn’t authorize the permit,” says Downs. “It was our understanding, and still is, that while we disagreed with the decision that the Forest Service made, that they had the authority to issue the permits.” Management of the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail is “incredibly complex,” adds Downs. The trail is managed and governed by a cooperative management system based on local authority. There are 87 different land management agencies that collectively

protect and manage the A.T. “You can imagine it very similar to the A.T. clubs that do management along the trail,” Downs explains. “They are all local people who know the A.T. really well because it is in their backyard and can manage it best.” The cooperative management system among agencies, explains Downs, works the same way and has been successful protecting the trail for the past 50 years. “We have always felt that the Forest Service, and all of the local land management agencies, has the responsibility to manage the A.T. across their land.” If the management system changes, it could be a slippery slope. “One of the concerns we have is that Cowpasture would change the calculus,” says Downs. “When you make even a small tweak to a vastly complicated system you can have really big impacts.” The Supreme Court’s decision over whether the National Forest Service has the authority to issue permits allowing infrastructure to cross the trail on land that they manage is yet to be seen. Slated to hear the case in mid-February (when this issue went to press), the court could impact the A.T. significantly. “There are physical impacts which I think are very significant and unprecedented,” said Downs, “but there are also impacts to the management structure of the trail and those will have longer lasting negative outcomes for all national scenic trails.”


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QUICK HITS

Q&A WITH JONATHAN JARVIS

CALL OF DUTY FORMER NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DIRECTOR JONATHAN JARVIS IS STILL FIGHTING FOR PUBLIC LANDS. BY HART FOWLER

IN 2016 JONATHAN JARVIS SERVED HIS 40TH YEAR IN THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,

where he began as an entrylevel ranger and ended as President Obama’s appointed director. That year the NPS celebrated its 100th anniversary managing 85 million acres that constitute America’s 419 parks. There were 330 million visits to the scenic spots overseen by the federal organization, a record. That’s more than professional baseball, football, basketball, NASCAR, and the Disney amusement park visits combined. But three years after Jarvis’ retirement he’s discouraged by the widely reported systematic dismantling of the NPS and a blatant general disregard for conservation by the Trump Administration. At 66, Jarvis could have spent his golden years fly fishing but ultimately decided this was no time to relax. He’s become an outspoken critic of current environmental policies in opeds and interviews, and he co-wrote the book The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Waters with Gary Machlis. He is also a part of the group that filed a brief earlier this year with the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to protect the Appalachian Trail from pipeline development. 22

BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS

A Virginia native, Jarvis spoke with BRO at his new home in Berkeley, where he was chosen by the University of California, Berkeley to be the inaugural executive director of the Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity, where he will work on pressing issues facing parks, including climate change and equitable access. How did growing up in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley shape your life and future career? I grew up right off the confluence of the Maury and James Rivers. It was home to my father’s family for many generations. We lived on the edge of my uncle’s farm, backed up against the Jefferson National Forest. I was basically what you would call a ‘Free-Range Kid.’ I ran the hills and mountains and streams, hunting and fishing, very much an outdoor lifestyle. I was always interested in what was going on in the natural world, and I knew my career was going to have something to do with the outdoors. Last August you wrote a piece for Politico called “A Step too Far for the Appalachian Trail,” opposing Dominion Energy’s contentious, proposed project to build a natural gas pipeline on national forest land that would cross the A.T. Where do you see this headed? They don’t have the authority to build it. What’s interesting is that under current law, even the current Security of the Interior, David Bernhardt, doesn’t have the authority to allow a utility right of way across a national park system; that authority comes exclusively from Congress, and Congress was wise to withhold that authority. They did that because they felt political pressures could come at some point to put a

pipeline or high-tension line across the park system. The only alternative they now have is for Congress to specifically authorize [the pipeline], otherwise they need to find another route. What I worry about is, aside from the current distractions going on in Congress, is that somebody will stick a rider on a bill which has nothing to do with the pipeline. I don’t think a bill like this would stand on its own and go through committee and hearings, particularly with a Democratic house, but there could be a rider and that’s something we have to watch out for. There is so much political upheaval now that allows little things to stay underneath the radar in national media. With your 40 years in the service, I imagine you still follow the agency pretty closely. Can you describe some of the things that you’ve seen happen with this administration? First, there’s no director of the Park Service. They have not filled my position, and that’s unprecedented. They brought in a political person, Danny Smith (who’s since retired), to serve as Acting Director. They moved every senior director in the NPS to different positions so they’d have to move, which forced many to retire. All the most experienced managers at Yosemite, Teton, Grand Canyon, and others were reassigned, which is hard on their families, causing a significant number to retire. With these unfilled positions, you have this void which causes the political

JARVIS CO-WROTE THE BOOK THE FUTURE OF C O N S E R VAT I O N I N AMERICA: A CHART FOR R O U G H WAT E R S .

leadership to exercise control. They’ve opened up old bike paths to e-bikes, opened up roads in Utah to ATVs, rescinded policies I put into place about climate change and climate adaptation. They’ve issued a memo to all park superintendents that they are not to speak publicly or to the media on issues related to anything adjacent to their park, a muzzle. They’ve also rewritten reports on climate change forcing employees with elimination of their jobs or their funding if they don’t take out any contribution in the reports of attributing climate change to humans. All of these things are easy to see by me or others who closely watch conservation in our parks, but there’s a bigger noise going on in Washington that overwhelms. You had a four-decade career with the Park Service. What's your broad take on the general public’s attitude towards conservation? With the Boomer generation, from roughly 1964 to 1972,

we experienced a time of extraordinary environmental activism; most of the big conservation groups got their start during that time, and we had legislation passed we use today: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Outdoor Recreation Act, the Wilderness Act. I think there’s been a wane since, and there needs to be a transition to this next generation, in terms of [fostering] a conservation leadership that is diverse, young, and uses technology and brings in things like inclusion, diversity, and environmental justice. I see a transition happening, and I’m excited about it, but it’s got to be accelerated. There are too many issues: climate change, destruction of the Amazon, loss of water systems, fires; all these things are happening and we need the next generation to step up. It's incumbent on my generation to help that transition, help inspire. Let’s do a hand off.


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HATCHES SPRING OF

Five Stellar Fisheries To Get Your Dry Fly Fix

P H O T O B Y K AT H E R I N E H A N L O N

BY NICK CARTER

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BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS


F

rom blizzard caddis hatches and spinner falls to the emergence of every mayfly known to the East, this is the time of year to be a dry fly snob. Sure, 90 percent of a trout’s diet might come from below the surface, but there’s nothing in fishing that satisfies like solving the puzzle during a hatch. In honor of the bugs of spring, BRO tracked down expert anglers and came up with a list of fisheries with some of the best dry fly action in the region. Leave the beadheads at home and pack an economy-sized bottle of Gink, because there’s no need to look below the surface at these places.

Penns Creek, Pennsylvania

No discussion of hatches is complete without mention of Penns Creek, Pennsylvania. This venerable stream is one of the best dry fly fisheries in the country, boasting what may be the most famous green drake hatch in the East. The focal point of Penns Creek for fly fishers is the stretch of water from Coburn downstream to Glen Iron. There are roughly 20 miles of “Class A Wild Trout Stream,” and much of it is accessible only on foot through central Pennsylvania’s Bald Eagle State Forest. With limestone and freestone influences, Penns Creek supports an incredible amount of insect life. Guide George Costa, with TCO Outdoors, said things pick up in April when blue-winged olives, Hendricksons, and grannoms appear and lead into a riot of bug activity in May. “Sulphurs, March browns, caddis, blue quill, olives, pretty much everything under the sun is hatching in May,” said Costa. “It can be massive, and all at once.” These insects are a precursor to the main event, which is 10 days in late May and early June when big meaty green drake mayflies conduct their courtship. The hatches move progressively upstream with warming water temperatures, and big size 8 to 10 patterns match the adult stage of this mayfly. Of course, all the other bugs will be on the water at the same time, so it’s wise for anglers to keep options open. Costa said the best pattern during a drake hatch is a size 16 sulphur. Penns Creek brown trout seem to prefer the flavor of the smaller pale yellow sulphur mayflies. Every fish in the river takes part in this annual spring smorgasbord. Brown trout are the dominant species, a few rainbows show up, and native brook trout enter the flow from tributaries. At Penns Creek, there’s a chance to catch tiger trout, which are a brown trout/brook trout crossbreed. Fish size is good, too. Costa said they average 13 to 16 inches, and there’s potential to encounter fish 20 inches and longer. Adventurous anglers who want to target large fish with dry flies should pack a headlamp. In the final stage of the green drake lifecycle, they molt into big white coffin flies. They lay their eggs and then die en masse, falling to the river in an event known as a spinner fall. Most of the action takes place after dark. The angler listens for fish slurping spinners off the surface and then casts a big size 6 or 8 pattern to the unseen target. The largest fish in the river feed during the spinner fall.

Go Fish: Get on the water with TCO Outdoors; tcoflyfishing.com

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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Native brook trout definitely aren’t selective feeders. If it looks buggy, they will eat it. That’s why brookies are so much fun with dry flies, and there may be no better place to drift drys for them than Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Second Creek, West Virginia

In the mountains of rural eastern West Virginia, Second Creek has gained a reputation for large sometimes difficult brown trout. It is a hatcherysupported, spring-fed tributary to the Greenbrier River that runs the Monroe/Greenbrier county line and features a mile and a half regulated for catchand-release fly fishing only. That’s not a whole lot of water to fish, and it does receive pressure, yet the allure of large cagey browns—as well as a few rainbows—rising to dry flies is enough to warrant a trip to this out-of-the-way gem south of Ronceverte. “That stream is a bug factory, and it’s different day to day and pool to pool,” said Jacob Ott of Otters Guide Service. “If you’re looking to throw dry flies, and if the water conditions are fishable, something will be rising.” Whether it’s terrestrials like Japanese beetles in summer or tiny midges in winter, bugs bring fish to the surface year-round in clear, mostly shallow water. Black stoneflies, blue-winged olives, sulphurs, March browns, and others will be present in spatterings at different times of year. But the black caddis hatch is a highlight. From roughly April

into July, Ott said mid-morning brings them on like clockwork. “When it hits, it’s on. It’s a full-bore, blizzard caddis hatch,” he explained. “Once it starts, it will happen at pretty much the same time every day until it ends.” These are small black caddis. Ott throws a simple size 16 or 18 CDC caddis pattern. He’ll hedge his bet by dropping a soft hackle or a Fox’s Pupae—or both—beneath the dry fly. “You’ve got to be on your A game. It’s smaller, clear water that gets pressure from some good anglers,” Ott warned. “By the end of the season, we’re fishing 7x and 8x tippet and long 12-foot leaders. It’s technical fishing that requires accurate casts, good drifts, and stealthy wading.”

Go Fish: Reach Otters Guide Service at ottersguide.com.

Dry River, Virginia

Native brook trout definitely aren’t selective feeders. If it looks buggy, they will eat it. That’s why brookies are so much fun with dry flies, and there may be no better place to drift drys for them than Virginia’s

D A N H E R R I C K W I T H A B I G H I G H - WAT E R R A I N B O W C A U G H T AT S E C O N D C R E E K , W E S T V I R G I N I A . P H O T O B Y J A C O B O T T.

Shenandoah Valley. A stronghold for our region’s only native salmonid, Shenandoah National Park draws a lot of angler attention. Over on the other side of the valley, a little farther from the big cities, Dry River flies under the radar as one of the best brook trout fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic. It has the highest population density of native brook trout in Virginia. Owned by the City of Harrisonburg and running through George Washington National Forest, Dry River is a large stream by brook trout standards. It is a wide flat freestone with well over 10 miles of easily accessible water; closer to 20 miles when tributaries like Skidmore Fork and Switzer Lake are thrown in. “You can catch all you want with a size 16 yellow Stimulator or a size 14 Parachute Adams,” said Colby Trow, co-owner of Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Harrisonburg. “They’re brookies. If you make a decent presentation, they’re going to eat it.” Of course, drys work better when there are bugs on the water, and Trow said Dry River offers the MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

27


standard Shenandoah Valley assortment, with quill Gordons kicking the party off in mid-March. Just ahead of Memorial Day each year, Dry River also hosts one of the best green drake hatches in the state. It lasts about two weeks, and it’s spectacular. “You’ll see tremendous hatches that blanket the river with bugs the size of hummingbirds,” said Trow. But don’t worry if you miss it. Through the summer, yellow stoneflies and terrestrials are enough to keep trout looking up, and an attractor pattern is the best brook trout fly, anyway. Trow said to fish bushy Catskill-style flies when the river is high and turbulent and parachutes when the water is low and clear. Dry River has been fishing really well with the wet weather and high waters of the last few years. “There have been some good 12 to 13 inchers caught out there,” Trow said. “It’s not just population density, it pumps out some big fish, too.”

Go Fish: For more info contact Mossy Creek Fly Fishing at mossycreekflyfishing.com.

CRAIG MILLER WORKS THE SWINGING BRIDGE RUN AT S E C O N D C R E E K , W E S T VIRGINIA. PHOTO BY J A C O B O T T.

Tuckasegee River, North Carolina

The delayed harvest sections of the Tuckasegee River, at Sylva and Bryson City, N.C., are some of the most famous fisheries in the Southeast. With regular stockings and catch-and-release regulations through the cool months, the Tuck holds incredible numbers of healthy rainbow, brown, and brook trout.


Because it fishes so well, it sees a ton of fishing pressure, but Shannon Messer, of Tuckaseegee Fly Shop, has noticed an interesting pattern from the anglers. “In April and May, almost every day from about 5 p.m. until dark, fish are rising all over the river. Most people miss the best part of it because they’re off getting a burger and a beer,” he said. “For people who want to experience dry fly fishing and casting to rising fish, that’s the place to be and the time to be there.” The Tuckasegee is a tailwater, wide and flat, with bedrock ledges and shoals that channel water into obvious holding water. The caddis hatches can be huge, and trout line up in lanes to feed on the surface. Casting to individual rising fish is a challenge dry fly anglers relish on the Tuck. Early spring brings on enormous black caddis hatches, which give way to tan and then olive caddis as the season progresses. Messer likes a beefy Corn Fed Caddis or a simple Elk Hair Caddis in sizes 12 to 16 to match what he sees on the river. There will also be mayflies and midges mixed in, so a double dry fly rig is a good idea. Try trailing a Blue Dun, size 14 or 16, or a size 18 Griffith’s Gnat behind the caddis. One thing about having so many bugs on the water is fish become finicky. The trick is to make them choose your fly over all the real ones. Good presentation is paramount, and Messer recommends long 9- to 12-foot leaders to cut down on micro drag that leads to refusals. Another trick if you notice your caddis being snubbed is to trim the

hackle so it floats lower in the water.

Go Fish: Reach out to Tuckaseegee

Fly Shop at www.tuckflyshop.com for additional details.

Hiwassee River, Tennessee

All that bug life makes blind drifting dry flies an effective way to prospect, even in stretches where you don’t see fish rising or much bug activity. Stranahan suggested an olive or tan Elk Hair Caddis, in size 14 or 16, with some sort of mayfly trailed behind it. The Hiwassee sees both light and dark Hendricksons, matched with size 14 or 16, so parachute and dun patterns of either are a good choice. But sometimes the fish will key on blue-winged olives. A bushy caddis is a great lead fly to help you stay in visual contact with a tiny BWO pattern. These mixed hatches are best during the warm afternoons of spring and will carry on into early summer. The Hiwassee’s headliner hatches occur in July, when Isonychia Bicolor mayflies show up in heavy spurts. These slate drakes are big, size 8 to 12, and provide good action on big attractor patterns all summer long.

One thing about having so many bugs on the water is fish become finicky. The trick is to make them choose your fly over all the real ones. Good presentation is paramount.

Fed through a pipe by cold waters of North Carolina’s Appalachia Lake, the stretch of the Hiwassee River where it rolls into east Tennessee is a fantastic tailwater trout fishery. Centered on the town of Reliance, it is hatchery supported, and holdover fish grow large. The Hiwassee is known for year-round dry fly fishing, and guide Bill Stranahan, with Southeastern Anglers, said the river was fishing lights out during the October through February catch-and-release season. Midges and blue-winged olives keep the fish looking up in winter, and Stranahan is almost giddy about the insect activity that ramps up in March. First, the grannom caddis show up, and they are followed closely by Hendricksons and a bevy of other mayflies. “They blend together, and it goes back and forth,” Stranahan said. “It’s not a blanket hatch by any means. You’ll find them all over the river here and there, and you may come into an area where they’re really pouring off.”

Go Fish: For more info contact Southeastern Anglers at southeasternanglers.com.

Nick Carter is the author of “Flyfisher’s Guide to North Carolina & Georgia.” The guide is available on Amazon.com, and autographed copies are available by emailing the author at nsc8957@gmail.com.


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Race Ahead A LOOK AT 11 WILD (AND A LITTLE WEIRD) RIDES, RUNS, PADDLING ADVENTURES, AND CLIMBING COMPS TAKING PLACE ACROSS THE BLUE RIDGE IN 2020 BY ELLEN KANZINGER

SPRING IS ON THE HORIZON. That means it’s time to gear up and get your race calendar in order. The Blue Ridge is full of classic marathons and cycling centuries, but the region also holds events that add twists or themes to your favorite adventures. If you’re up for a new challenge, here’s a look at some of the most interesting competitions taking place in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic in 2020. Running The Widow Maker Ultra Thomaston, Ga. • March 28 Race against the sun at this sunrise to sunset race on the Widowmaker Trail. At this growing ultra, competitors see how many times they can complete the 5.5-mile out-and-back trail between 7:30 a.m. and 7:55 p.m. Whoever runs the most loops by the time the sun goes down is declared the winner. If ultras are a bit too long, they also offer a 5K option that takes you by an old whiskey still. KEY DETAILS: The event takes place at Sprewell Bluff Park, featuring the meandering Flint River and rocky bluffs. Proceeds benefit the park. Wambaw Swamp Stomp Cordesville, S.C. • May 2 The new legend of the Wambaw Swamp Creature goes back to just 2011, when several people reported seeing a large, lizard-like creature in the swamps around Cordesville, S.C. While ultimately unresolved what was actually spotted, what remains in commemoration is a long-lasting ultrarun through the marshy woods of the Francis Marion National Forest. KEY DETAILS: The Wambaw Swamp Stomp’s out-and-back course runs along the Swamp Fox Passage, part of the cross-state Palmetto Trail, and features both 50-mile and 50K options. Racers can also lean on friends to run through the muggy swamplands, competing as a relay team. There is a 14-hour cut off for the 50 miler and 10-hour cutoff for the 50K to be considered a finisher. Dirty Dog 15K Charleston, W. Va. • May 16

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BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS


It Pays to Stretch

THREE YOGA POSES FOR RUNNING RECOVERY by Danielle Sangita Rottenberg

R I D E R S L I N E U P AT T H E S TA R T O F G R U S K . P H O T O B Y E VA B L A K A L O VA M O R R I S

Virginia’s Kanawha State Forest. Avid trail runner Gary Smith admits he was initially apprehensive to take his dog Logan on crowded singletrack trails with upwards of 60 other dogs and says the experience differs from the typical off-road run. “You need to be aware of what the dog’s doing,” said Smith, who’s now completed the Dirty Dog with Logan multiple times. “Sometimes you need to run a little slower so that you’re not just dragging her. Other times, she might be trying to drag me. Dogs are going to be running at your feet so you have to be aware of the fact that, not just your dog, but somebody else’s dog could be running right beside you or in front of you.” Smith also suggests building up a dog’s endurance like any runner would and paying attention to the weather. Extreme heat and snow can be harmful for the dogs. KEY DETAILS: The Dirty Dog course features mostly singletrack trails with nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. There are several creek crossings and all of the aid stations have water bowls for the dogs to drink. Every dog that enters gets their own swag bag with homemade dog treats and part of the entry proceeds help support the local Humane Society.

Biking Underwater Bike Race Beaufort, N.C. • July 4 Strap on your SCUBA gear for the annual Underwater Bike Race held off the coast of North Carolina with Discovery Diving. You can pedal, swim, push, or drag your bike

to get it across the finish line. Whatever it takes to get it moving through the water without a motor. The race takes place in the sand next to the USS Indra, located 60 feet underwater. The Indra, a landing craft repair ship, was sunk in 1992 as part of an artificial reef program. You will see a variety of species around the wreck, including sea urchins, tropical fish, octopi, and potentially a shark. KEY DETAILS: The event starts on land with a bike decorating contest. A dive boat then takes divers with their equipment and bikes out to the USS Indra, about 12 miles off the coast, where they will dive down to the starboard side of the ship for the start. Gravel Race Up Spruce Knob (GRUSK) Circleville, W.Va. • July 10-12 Before GRUSK was an official event, it started as a group of friends cycling to the top of Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia at 4,863 feet. In 2016, Travis Olson made things official and opened up registration to the public. “There’s just something about that big, open meadow up on top of a high mountain with views for 50 miles that is just so captivating,” he said. As the event grew, Olson added longer distances for riders of all abilities to challenge themselves at the adventure cycling race that offers multiple gravelroad routes to the highest peak in the Mountain State. In 2020, options range from a 27-mile trek to the summit to a 212mile, multi-day backpacking adventure. Cyndi Janetzko has participated in GRUSK every year it has run. As new routes are added each year, she has

continued to go for the longer distances. “West Virginia and the roads around GRUSK are amazing,” Janetzko said. “You just want to be out for as long as you can. You just want to keep riding your bike. There’s really something for everybody there, even if you’re a total gravel newbie.” For an event like this, Janetzko recommends getting used to being on your bike for hour after hour and just enjoying the ride. “Make sure your gear is in great order because some of it is really remote,” she said. “There is no cell phone service out there. You've got to be able to fix your bike if you are between aid stations and have a mechanical issue. GRUSK has a lot of climbing and a lot of descending on what can be very rough gravel.” KEY DETAILS: 90 to 95 percent of this race takes place on gravel roads up to Spruce Knob. Riders can choose from a variety of adventures, including 27, 50, 82, 140, and 212 miles, over the course of the three-day event. Experience Learning’s campus on the shoulder of Spruce Knob serves as the base camp for the weekend event. 3M Bike Challenge Cumberland, Md. • September 12 It’s man vs. machine vs. mountain at the 3M Bike Challenge. Riders race against the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad 501 Diesel Engine to see who can climb Mount Savage from Cumberland to Frostburg faster. The timed race follows the Great Allegheny Passage, which parallels the railroad tracks along this stretch, for 15.6

If you’re training for a 10K or marathon, stretching can make a big difference in your recovery and ultimately your progress towards a race-day goal. After a rigorous run, stretching helps bring the heartbeat back to normal and also breaks down the lactic acid in the muscles to speed recovery time. Post-run stretching will also help you regain your range of motion and prevent pain by elongating the muscle fibers and fascia. Fortunately, you don’t have to take an hour-long yoga class to stretch out—just 5-15 minutes can make all the difference. Try these three stretches following runs to optimize recovery.

Downward facing dog

This pose is great for lengthening your spine and back after that long distance jaunt. It is a wonderful way to stretch the calves, hamstrings, hips, and Achilles.

Crescent lunge

Holy hip flexor stretch! Your hip flexors shorten and contract every time you pick up your feet during a run, and for marathoners that is a whole lot of hip flexor shortening. This stretch can help get the knee joint moving around after some hearty pavement pounding. It feels great on quads too.

Supine figure four stretch

This is one of the best for getting a hamstring release and IT (Iliotibial) band stretch. As a massage therapist and yoga teacher practicing for over 11 years, I suggest this one often for my clients, and when they try it you can hear the exhalation of happiness. •

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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DiscoverBath.com · 540-839-7202 · #MadeInBathVA


miles and features more than 1,500 feet of climbing. The team(s) or individual(s) who have a faster climb time than the engine will receive prizes in addition to bragging rights over the machine. KEY DETAILS: Riders can choose to take on the train on their own or put together a team of up to six riders. Spectators can purchase a train ticket to meet racers at the end of the course. Funds raised go towards helping to maintain the Maryland portion of the Great Allegheny Passage for future visitors.

Paddling Great Falls Race Potomac, Md. • August 14-15 Although this event is only open to experts, everyone is invited to watch paddlers take on the treacherous Class V+ rapids at Great Falls Park. Now in its 32nd year, participants will compete in a sub60 sprint down the Potomac River, dropping almost 60 feet down the falls. There are viewing spots on the Maryland and Virginia sides of the river. KEY DETAILS: Paddlers can compete in the classic downriver race or slalom category. Racers must be able to prove their Class V paddling experience and be familiar with the lines on Great Falls to enter. This year, the Association of Whitewater Professionals selected this event as the 2020 Extreme Kayak American Championship. Lake Murray Paddle Classic Chapin, S.C. • September 26 This family-friendly flatwater paddling race takes place on scenic Lake Murray and is part of the Southern Stoke Race Series happening throughout the Southeast. Although the race only covers a portion of the lake, there are more than 600 miles of shoreline to explore by land and water when you’re done. KEY DETAILS: Choose your challenge with a one, 3.5, or seven-mile paddle with categories for elites, first timers, kids, and SUP pups. Proceeds from the event benefit the South Carolina Special Olympics. Chattajack 31 Chattanooga, Tenn. • October 24 At the time Ben Friberg started Chattajack in 2012, the average paddling race was around six miles. Living in Chattanooga, he saw the Tennessee River as the perfect location to put on something longer. Depending on how you take the corners, the growing race offers plenty of time on the water, running between 31 and 33 miles through the Tennessee River Gorge. “It’s a pretty unique place where the Tennessee River, which is a massive watershed, cuts through the Cumberland Plateau,” Friberg said. “So, you have this really unique geographic feature. On top of that, there’s almost 30,000 acres of protected property. When you’re paddling through there, it’s a pretty amazing feeling looking at these big canyon walls, trees, and sandstone cliffs.” Paddlers at Chattajack can compete in a number of different categories: standup paddleboard, kayak, surfski, and prone. Bruce Poacher, who has

A C L I M B E R D R O P S I N T O T H E WAT E R D U R I N G T H E D E E P WAT E R S O L O C O M P E T I T I O N AT T U C K F E S T. P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F T H E U . S . N AT I O N A L W H I T E WAT E R C E N T E R

competed as a solo paddler and part of a tandem, said competing as part of a team increases the social aspect of the race. “We’ve got shared experiences,” he said. “Whatever happens to you happens to the guy sitting in the boat with you. There’s always someone to talk to. In a race of that distance and time, you don’t have constant energy throughout. You have times when you’re feeling stronger and less strong. It just helps to have someone else in the boat with you to share the load.” Just don’t expect to ride the current to the finish line. “You’re definitely going to have to work for it,” Friberg added. KEY DETAILS: Be on the lookout for race registration, opening at midnight on May 1. The race has sold out in less than 24 hours the last three years. As one of the last races of the paddling season, be prepared for cooler fall temperatures. Also, participate five continuous years in a row to earn a coveted Chattajack belt buckle.

Climbing Aqua Rock and Dynomite Charlotte, N.C. • August 29 and September 19 With climbing coming to the Olympics this summer, test your own skills at the U.S. Whitewater Center’s open citizens competitions. At Aqua Rock, you can compete on the center’s deep water solo walls, where climbers race head-to-head to the top of walls between 25 to 45 feet with a 20-foot deep pool below to catch them. Meagan Martin, a professional climber and winner of last year’s invitation-only deep

water competition at Tuck Fest, said it’s different than other forms of climbing. “It’s kind of like a combination of bouldering and sport climbing,” she said. “You don’t have a rope, but you’re climbing longer and taller things over water. You’re head-to-head racing. I think, for an audience, it’s unique because it’s pretty obvious who is winning.” KEY DETAILS: If bouldering is more your style, Dynomite in September features bouldering problems for every skill level. Points are awarded based on difficulty and attempts. The expansive U.S. Whitewater Center also features additional climbing events, festivals, and adventure races throughout the year. Triple Crown Bouldering Series N.C., Tenn., and Ala. • October 3 and 17, and November 21 Take your bouldering to the next level at three of the Southeast’s premier boulderfields. The series starts at Hound Ears in Boone, N.C. This site is only open to the public one day a year, exclusively for the Triple Crown. Then make your way to Stone Fort in Chattanooga, Tenn., for some of the best sandstone bouldering in the Southeast. The final event in the series takes place at Horse Pens 40 in Steele, Ala., a nature park and campground situated on top of Chandler Mountain. KEY DETAILS: Register for one competition or send classic Southern problems at all three. The events raise funds for the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and the Carolina Climbers Coalition to help maintain access for climbers throughout the region. MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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NEW PLACES TO PLAY A LOOK AT TWO STATE PARKS IN DEVELOPMENT BY ELLEN KANZINGER

A

lthough they are just in the beginning phases, two new state parks are coming to the region. We’ve got the latest updates on these future public spaces.

landscape,” Leutze said. “It’s either going to turn into a high-end subdivision gated community. Or, if we have an opportunity, can put the package together, and have sufficient public interest, we can try to open it to the public and create a new park. The state wouldn’t have moved forward if we couldn’t identify support in the local community for the project.” With a project of this magnitude, a variety When looking at protecting tracts of land, of private donors, government agencies, and conservationists consider the size organizations like SAHC came of the property and its proximity to together to buy the property for a other protected lands. With Pisgah state park. “It’s just a few miles future View Ranch, they found both. An agreement with the Cogburn from Asheville, so family calls for the state to purchase “It is really unusual to find 1,600 acres very, very close to Pisgah the property in five phases over the people can have a National Forest and very, very five years. With an established great meal or enjoy a next close to the Blue Ridge Parkway,” network of trails already on the craft beer and then property, the state is working on said Jay Leutze, the chair of the hit the tent back at updating amenities and preparing Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s land protection the campground and the park to be opened to the public. committee. “It’s just a few miles from get in a wonderful Asheville, For years, the Cogburn family so people can have a great hike all in one visit,” meal or enjoy a craft beer and then has been running Pisgah View as a popular guest ranch with swimming, Leutze said. “That’s hit the tent back at the campground horseback riding, and hiking just and get in a wonderful hike all in pretty special.” outside of Asheville. When the one visit,” Leutze said. “That’s pretty four siblings expressed an interest special.” in selling the property in early 2019, there was an The future Pisgah View State Park covers 1,600 added interest in preserving the family legacy for acres from the Upper Hominy Creek Valley to the future generations. ridgeline, with views of Mount Pisgah in the distance. “The options are the options we often face in this “If you’re interested in forest ecology, you can see

Pisgah View State Park, N.C.

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BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS

M E M B E R S O F T H E N . C . O U T D O O R R E C R E AT I O N C O A L I T I O N T O U R T H E F U T U R E S I T E O F P I S G A H V I E W S TAT E PA R K . P H O T O B Y J AY L E U T Z E

how the forest changes from the valley floor to the high elevation ridgeline,” Leutze said. “The species are quite different from what you find down by the creeks to what you find up on the ridges.” Once opened, Pisgah View will be only the second state park west of Asheville in North Carolina. Western North Carolina will also be getting three new state trails in the coming years. As people look for new ways to get outside, long distance trails offer opportunities to explore new places as they connect counties and protected places. Last summer, the state General Assembly authorized the Wilderness Gateway State Trail, Overmountain Victory State Trail, and Northern Peaks State Trail. Smith Raynor, the state trails planner, said all three trails are in the beginning phases as they seek public comment and work with section sponsors to design the routes. “I anticipate with these three new ones there will be sections on the ground within five years,” Raynor said. “They will almost certainly not be completed in five years, but we will have parts going. Once you get the first couple parts on the ground and people start using them, then momentum and interest build. Then, hopefully, it gets done faster and faster.” While North Carolina State Parks constructs and manages sections of the trail that cut across state park land, section sponsors like local governments, land conservancies, and nonprofits are responsible


for the rest of the trail. “North Carolina has a $28 billion outdoor recreation industry,” Raynor said. “Trails are pretty much the foundation of that. We have greenways, so if you have a baby in a stroller or if you’re in a wheelchair, there are trails that you can use. There are some very challenging trails that can make you sweat and really stretch your muscles. It truly helps the rural economies to have these trails go through their towns. In the more urban areas, trails can really help with air quality because folks use them as alternative transportation corridors.”

Machicomoco State Park, Va.

Machicomoco is an Algonquian word meaning 'special meeting place,' which is exactly what is being planned at Virginia’s newest state park. Once opened, Machicomoco State Park will interpret thousands of years of Native American history in the area. A timeline detailing Native American agricultural, trade, and cultural practices will lead visitors into the new park. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation worked with members of the Virginia Native American tribes to collect the information and design elements of the park. The site is located a few miles down the York River from Werwocomoco, an important Powhatan town established before English colonizers settled the area. Clyde Cristman, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, said they are finding evidence of this history all over the site, including the location that will be the canoe launch for future visitors. “As we started doing the phase one archaeological work, we realized that we weren’t the first people to figure out this was a great site for putting your canoes in,” Machicomoco Cristman said. “The Native is an Americans had figured that Algonquian out thousands of years word meaning ago. This particular area of the property, when we 'special the archaeological meeting place.' did investigation, we found so many artifacts that we determined that was not going to be a suitable place for us to put the launch.” Cristman said they hope to open phase one, which will include water access, hiking trails, dayuse areas, and the interpretive visitor’s center, to the public sometime this fall. Future plans include adding overnight lodging and connecting Machicomoco with a second site upriver. “We’re looking at being able to create a bike path to tie them together,” Cristman said. “You would be able to paddle a canoe or kayak from one location to the other. Perhaps we’ll have a canoe and kayak campground at the other site.” An 18th century house listed on the National Register of Historic Places that sits on the property is also being renovated. In the future, it may be used for overnight lodging.

S TAT E A N D L O C A L R E P R E S E N TAT I V E S P A R T I C I P AT E I N T H E C E R E M O N I A L GROUND BREAKING OF MACHICOMOCO S TAT E P A R K I N G L O U C E S T E R C O U N T Y, MARCH 8, 2019. PHOTO COURTESY O F T H E V I R G I N I A D E PA R T M E N T O F C O N S E R VAT I O N A N D R E C R E AT I O N

FRESH TRAILS Whether you’re a hiker, runner, or biker, check out these new trails in the Blue Ridge. Standing Boy Trails, Ga.

The first three trails at Standing Boy Creek Wildlife Management Area opened for hikers, runners, and bikers of all skill levels. Of the 25 miles of planned trails, about six miles are open to the public. The 1,500acre property borders the Chattahoochee River.

Meeks Mountain Trails, W.Va.

As Hurricane resident Brandon Doerner says, they’re not just building

trails, they’re building community. In the first year, over 200 volunteers helped build and open 5.5 miles of the Meeks Mountain Trails. The Meeks family, owners of the 600 acres the trails are being built on, entered into an agreement with the city for use of their property. The goal is to open 26 miles of trail in the next five years for hikers, runners, and mountain bikers to enjoy, in addition to a few primitive camping spots.

Hinchee Trail, Va. In September 2019, Hinchee Trail opened as part of the growing network of trails throughout the Roanoke Valley. At 2.1 miles, this multi-use trail connects Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail, a 1.7-

mile gravel path, and Brushy Mountain Trail, a ten-mile trail in Carvins Cove Natural Reserve. A 235-acre park preserves the trail built on a former Civilian Conservation Corps fire road.

LINC, Ga.

Phase one of the LINC trail system was completed at the end of 2019 with a 1.4-mile trail featuring a bike repair station, benches, and a mural. Planners are working on an additional 3.5 miles in 2020. When finished, a network of 26 miles of paved trails will connect Newnan, Ga. for users on foot and nonmotorized vehicles.

Whitehouse Cliffs Trail, Tenn. Whitehouse Cliffs reopened at the end of

2019 with a mile of new trail and 125 stone steps. This short but strenuous hike offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains from Rocky Fork State Park.

Quemahoning Trail, Penn.

Designed with mountain bikers in mind, the Quemahoning Trail is a 17-mile multi-use trail that encircles the Quemahoning Reservoir.

Seven Bends State Park, Va.

Hikers and bikers will enjoy the trails along the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Keep an eye out for the grand opening of new facilities, including boat ramps, in early May.

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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TIGHT LINES SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

A NEW SEASON OF FISHING IS UPON US AS THE WATER WARMS AND THE TREES BEGIN TO BLOOM AGAIN. BEFORE YOU PACK YOUR GEAR, CHECK OUT THESE TOP FISHING DESTINATIONS IN THE SOUTHEAST.

Photo courtesy of Virginia State Parks.

VIRGINIA STATE PARKS

muskellunge, and walleye along the way. Both of these parks offer kayak and canoe rentals for visitors. Explore the 38 Virginia State Experience the Potomac River in a Parks for countless places to cast variety of ways at one of the five state your line. parks on the river. Access some of the Head out on the waters of best largemouth bass fishing from the Claytor Lake, Lake Anna, and motorboat ramp at Leesylvania State Smith Mountain Lake for a day of Park or the canoe/kayak launches prime bass fishing and breathing in at Mason Neck and Widewater the fresh air. Extend your trip with a state parks. If you prefer to cast your stay at one of the many campsites line from the shore, Caldeon State or rental cabins. There’s plenty Park allows fishing on the open to do once you get off the water, sections of the shore. including miles of hiking Use the boat ramp trails to explore. at Westmoreland Take the whole “I was out fishing State Park to family out for a access the with my brother and trip on one of saltwater the smaller my friend. We were all fisheries for lakes at state out in separate kayaks striped bass, parks like and I had a strong bite... I flounder, Pocahontas, knew it was a big one when and croaker. Douthat, it bit, but I could hardly Check or Hungry out the believe it. I was so excited... Mother. boathouse Get started I’d like to go back again.” for bait, fishing from -Wyatt Gregory, 13, on fishing tackle, and the bank or at Bear Creek Lake boat rentals. rent a boat from State Park Take a trip the park. You will to Virginia’s coast find everything from for some fishing in the bluegill and crappie to Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic catfish and chain pickerel. A Ocean. Kiptopeke and First Landing special trout fishing area in Douthat state parks offer access to both is open only to anglers 12 and bodies of water. Take a motorboat out younger. on the open water or fish for striped Find a spot on the bank, wade bass, flounder, and spadefish from the to a hidden nook, or take a float trip shore. down the river at several locations. All state parks require a fishing Head to James River State Park license, except for the piers at and float eight miles of the river Kiptopeke and York River. Find your from Bent Creek searching for Virginia State Park today. Check smallmouth bass, catfish, and pan Virginia Department of Game and fish. New River Trail State Park Inland Fisheries for current fishing follows the water for 39 miles regulations. with several boat ramps along the way. You’ll find plenty of bass, VIRGINIASTATEPARKS.GOV


CALVERT COUNTY, MARYLAND Known for its 143 miles of shoreline, Calvert County, Md. is an angler’s dream. Bounded by the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Patuxent River to the west, there are plenty of opportunities to cast a line by land or water. Access the river at Kings Landing Park. Launch your paddle-powered boat to explore and fish the river marshes. Or fish from the pier for spot, white perch, and blue fish. Head to the North Beach Pier, Breezy Point Beach & Campground, or Flag Ponds Nature Park to fish from the bay shore for striped bass, croaker, and Spanish mackerel. If you want to get on the Chesapeake Bay, consider hiring a charter fishing boat to reach the best places. There are several fishing charter companies that offer half day or full day fishing trips, and bait and tackle can be purchased at various shops throughout the county. Paddleboard and kayak rentals are another popular option. When you get off the water, consider a picnic at one of many parks or beaches that dot the shoreline. Relax by water when you fish Calvert County, Md. CHOOSECALVERT.COM

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES

Photo by Presidio Studios.

POCAHONTAS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA

Get the full package with one of the professional fly fishing outfitters in the area. Knapps Creek Trout Lodge offers beginner lessons, backcountry What better place to spend your days exploration trips, family-friendly outings, and gear rentals. When you’re on the water than the “birthplace of done on the water, head back to the rivers,” Pocahontas County, W. Va. lodge for a home cooked meal and From January to May, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources good night’s rest before doing it all stocks rivers, streams, and lakes with again the next day. Take a half day guided wade trip or book a weeklong trout across the county, including immersive experience on the best the Greenbrier, Williams, and West Virginia trout streams Cranberry rivers. Multiple with Elk River Inn & access points allow Cabins, an Orvisyou to customize endorsed outfitter. your trip length. Fish Old Field Explore the Fork right out area on the the backdoor Greenbrier or head to the River Trail by Greenbrier, foot, bike, or Williams, and horse as the Cranberry 78-mile rail rivers and trail follows the beyond. winding river. Access Get off the over a half mile grid and cast a of private fishing line in Seneca State waters on a mountain Forest, located in the spring creek and four trout National Radio Quiet Zone. Fish the stocked Seneca Lake and nearby ponds with Pocahontas Fish & Game Adventures. Bunk in their restored Greenbrier River for trout and bass. log cabin for a true mountain getaway. Fish Watoga Lake at Watoga State Load up on fishing supplies, including Park, West Virginia’s largest park, for largemouth bass, channel catfish, your fishing license, at Appalachian Sport. Take advantage of the lodging bluegill, and trout. Both locations above the store and shuttle service to offer miles of trails for hiking and the Greenbrier River. Jack Horner’s biking and campsites for overnight Corner has all the bait and equipment lodging when you get off the water. you need for the weekend just a few Visit the Edray State Trout miles from Watoga State Park. Hatchery to see the stocked trout Explore a new waterway to fish at all stages of development. Learn each time you visit Pocahontas more about the stocking process, fish breeding, and how they navigate County, W. Va. West Virginia streams. NATURESMOUNTAINPLAYGROUND.COM

With more than 3,500 miles of trout streams, along with many ponds, small lakes, and reservoirs, Virginia offers something for every fly fishing fan. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hatches and raises trout in four coldwater hatcheries and stocks about 600 miles of water with trout. This year, DGIF is kicking off the Trout Slam challenge. Starting on March 1, anglers who catch all three trout species – rainbow, brook, and brown – in one day can register their catches on the DGIF website and earn a #VATroutSlam sticker. Are you up for the challenge? Explore the famous brook trout stream at Rapidan Wildlife Management Area. The WMA borders Shenandoah National Park and offers excellent fly fishing for native brook trout. Target smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and sunfish at James River Wildlife Management Area. If you enjoy float trips, this provides a great put in or take out for a day on the water. Anglers will enjoy the variety of fly fishing opportunities at Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Fish for smallmouth bass on the picturesque Laurel Bed Lake or trout on Big Tumbling Creek at the Fee Fishing Area. DGIF.VIRGINIA.GOV

Pocahontas County receives ten percent of West Virginia’s hatchery trout.

Calvert County, Md. is the “Charter Boat Fishing Capital of Maryland” with the largest fleet of boats on the Chesapeake Bay. Photo by Brooke Kiatta.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries annually stocks more than one million catchable-size trout in 180 waters around the state. Photo by Meghan Marchetti/DGIF.


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

“Having traveled across the U.S. (and then some) in search of great trout fishing, I have a deep appreciation for the tremendous quality of the trout fishery that is right here on the South River. Over the past 25 years, the South River has transformed into one of the most productive and challenging fisheries in the region.” –Tommy Lawhorne, fly fishing guide at South River Fly Shop

WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA Located a short drive from the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, Waynesboro, Va. is a trout angler’s dream. Fish thrive in the mountain waters of the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park. Fly anglers enjoy the South River flowing through downtown Waynesboro for trophysized rainbow and brown trout. The South River Greenway provides parking and easy access to the river. The 2.2-mile catch-and-release section, extending from Wayne Avenue bridge downstream to Second Street bridge, is one of two urban trout fisheries in Virginia. Further upstream, you’ll find the put-and-take section of the river at Ridgeview Park. Extend your fishing trip to Sherando Lake in the George Washington National Forest which is stocked with trout and surrounded by mountains. Cool off in the refreshing waters of the lower lake, explore the hiking trails to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Bald Mountain, and spend the night at one of several campsites in the forest. From there, take a drive on the parkway and hike Humpback Rocks. The breathtaking view at the top makes the strenuous hike worthwhile. While in town, visit the professionals at South River Fly Shop for fishing gear, advice, and guided excursions to the nearby South River or further out to the James and Jackson rivers. Plan your visit for the end of April when the South River Fly Fishing Expo (April 18-19, 2020) showcases Waynesboro’s unique urban fishery. Hear from expert anglers, practice casting or tying a fly, and sample local food and drinks. Proceeds from the event support habitat conservation and restoration on the South

River. Bring the whole family to Riverfest Waynesboro on April 25 to support the Shenandoah River Basin while watching reptile shows and rubber duck races.

STAY AWHILE

After you’ve closed your tackle box for the day, indulge with a stay at our breathtaking mountain getaway, The Iris Inn, just minutes from the South River downtown. Take advantage of Waynesboro’s cultural offerings with dinner and drinks at Heritage on Main Street, a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Enjoy one of their burgers, sandwiches, or delicious signature entrees while listening to live music on their patio most weekends. Or opt for the tantalizing flavors that come from Hops Kitchen, where globally influenced dishes meet beer infusions from Basic City Beer Co. Their Smoked Pork Nachos with Beer Cheese was recently recognized in Food Network’s 50 States of Nachos! Cruise through the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail,

Photos courtesy of the City of Waynesboro.

a series of fifteen breweries within an hour of each other, for beautiful mountain views, live entertainment, and local brews. Visit Basic City Beer Co., Seven Arrows Brewing, and Stable Craft Brewing in Waynesboro before discovering the rest of the trail. With more than 40 wineries, breweries, and distilleries within 30 miles, you are sure to find something you like. Fill up with organic kombucha at Blue Ridge Bucha, Virginia’s first dedicated kombucha taproom right in Waynesboro. Catch a movie, show, or concert at the historic Wayne Theatre. Originally opened as a vaudeville house in 1926, the recently restored theatre hosts a variety of cultural events in a world class venue. Be sure to stop at Kline’s Dairy Bar for a scoop of your favorite ice cream made fresh every day. If you’re visiting in the summer, don’t miss the chance to play a round of night mini golf at Waynesboro Golf and Games long after the sun goes down or race go-karts at Fastrax. Spring-fed waters, stunning mountain views, and alluring activities make Waynesboro the ideal angler’s getaway! VISITWAYNESBORO.NET


SANTEE COOPER COUNTRY, SOUTH CAROLINA Santee Cooper Country is South Carolina fishing country. Made up of five counties, Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Orangeburg, and Sumter, Santee Cooper has 171,000 acres of land covered by 6.5 million gallons of water. With 450 miles of shoreline, you’ll find plenty of places to get on the water at the two lakes, two rivers, two canals, and a vast swamp in the area. Marion and Moultrie lakes are home to the landlocked striped bass. Anglers can challenge themselves as they fish for stripers, largemouth, crappie, bream, and catfish. Get off the water at several marinas and boat ramps around the lake. There are plenty of dining and lodging options with views of the water when you are done fishing for the day. The two lakes connect the Santee and Cooper rivers with a number of different public lands, including Santee State Park, Poinsett State Park, Manchester State Forest, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, and Francis Marion National Forest. One of the best ways to fish Santee Cooper Country is by kayak. Paddle the waterways, find hidden spots, and break for lunch

on a scenic beach. Explore the submerged cypress and tupelo forest of Sparkleberry Swamp. Bring your own kayak or rent one for the day from one of several outfitters around the area. Hook up with a local guide, many of whom specialize in catching certain fish species, for your best chance at a big haul. They provide all of the equipment you will need for fresh water fishing. Get up close and personal with largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, and catfish in these waters. Explore all the area has to offer after a day on the water. Hike five sections of the Palmetto Trail, a state wide trail that will connect the mountains of South Carolina to the sea. Golfers can play 18 holes at 13 different championship courses within a 45 minute drive of Santee. Take in the museums, parks, flower gardens, battlefields, and more. You can sample good old Southern home cooking, traditional barbecue, or a local favorite—fried catfish. At the end of the day, stay at one of the full service motels, lake cabins, or over 1,000 campsites located in the region. Relax and get away from the pressures of everyday life where the pace is slow and the people are friendly in Santee Cooper Country.

In addition to eight state records, Santee Cooper lakes hold the world record for channel catfish weighing in at 58 pounds.

SANTEECOOPERCOUNTRY.ORG

Photo by Blueway Adventures.

Photo by Annie Johnson.

SUMMERSVILLE AND RICHWOOD, WEST VIRGINIA

Summit Lake has an accessible fishing pier and boat launch. In town, Four Seasons Outfitters & Adventure Sports has all of the supplies and insider knowledge to make your trip a Fish all day in the mountains of West success. Cranberry Adventures offers Virginia when you visit the towns of mule and wagon transportation for Summersville and Richwood. fishing and camping excursions. Hop on Summersville Lake, known Schedule your trip around an event. for its excellent water visibility The West Virginia Bass and relatively warm water Federation hosts fishing temperature. With tournaments on more than 60 miles Summersville Lake Summersville Lake of shoreline and in the spring, has been called the 2,800 acres of summer, and fall. water, spend all “Little Bahamas Toast the arrival day fishing for of the East” for the of spring at the bass, walleye, cleanest, clearest 82nd Richwood panfish, catfish, Ramp Festival and trout. freshwater lake east or celebrate all Check out of the Mississippi things whitewater the secluded with 20-45 feet at Gauley Fest. coves when visibility. The Richwood and the water is low. Summersville airports Locations around the are close by and provide lake offer boat rentals, convenient access for small tours, and bait. When you are engine fly ins. done with your rod and reel, try out Both Summersville and Richwood the scuba diving, rock climbing, and have a variety of recreation, dining, and hiking trails available around the lake. lodging options for when the day winds At 390 feet high and 2,280 feet long, down. Whitewater raft the New and the Summersville Dam is the second Gauley rivers, learn the history of the largest rock-fill earthen dam in the area at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Eastern United States. Park, or visit one of the antique shops As a gateway to the Monongahela in the area. Stop by the Kirkwood National Forest, Richwood offers Winery and taste some of their 30 easy access to 150 miles of rivers varieties of wine. Take in views from the and streams within a 25-mile radius, Summersville Lake Retreat Lighthouse including the North and South Fork before bunking in one of their cabins or Cherry River, Big Laurel Creek, campsites for the night. Williams River, and Cranberry River. Discover all that Summersville and These waters are stocked with golden, Richwood have to offer when you get brook, brown, and rainbow trout. If you away to these waterways of West Virginia. are looking for a multi-day adventure, there are several primitive camping locations along the Cranberry River.

SUMMERSVILLECVB.COM

RICHWOODCHAMBEROFCOMMERCE.ORG


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

The headwaters of the New River, the Yadkin River, the Johns River, and the Watauga River all originate in Watauga County.

BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA Get away to the trout waters of North Carolina when you visit Boone on your next fishing trip. These parks and access points make it easy to get on the water and get fishing. The Watauga River is a fly anglers dream, filled with smallmouth bass and all kinds of trout. Wade into the water at Valle Crucis Community Park. This section of the river is designated a delayed harvest trout stream. You can also fish Dutch Creek on the other side of the park. Fish the Middle Fork of the New River from Sterling Creek Park. Bring a picnic for lunch or enjoy a walk on the first completed segment of the Middle Fork Greenway. Access the South Fork of the New River from the banks at Brookshire Park where you’ll find wild and stocked trout, rock bass, and redbreast sunfish. Just a few miles upriver, Green Valley Community Park has a canoe ramp so you can access the fishing by boat. Hop on Winkler Creek along the Boone Greenway and follow the water until it merges with the South Fork. Visit Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, for several fishing opportunities. Cast

your line at Trout and Bass lakes, with parking and walkable loops around the water. The hiking trail around Price Lake at Julian Price Park provides several fishing spots to catch the trout that is stocked monthly. Coffey Lake, designated as delayed harvest trout waters, on Beech Mountain is stocked annually with brown, rainbow, and brook trout. Both Bass and Coffey lakes offer handicapped access for all anglers. Take advantage of the local knowledge when you book a guide in town. Stock up with flies and gear rentals before heading out on the waters of the Watauga Watershed with High Country Guide Service. Learn the fundamentals of fly fishing or float for trophy fish with Due South Outfitters, a Trout Unlimited endorsed guide service. From casting clinics to wilderness wade trips, Fish Goat Guide Service has something for everyone.

STAY AWHILE

There is so much more to explore when you get off the water. Mountain bikers can test out their skills on miles of trails at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, Beech Mountain Resort, and Sugar Mountain. Go for a stroll on the

Photos by Sam Dean Photography.

Boone Greenway, hike to the peaks at Grandfather Mountain State Park, or step onto the scenic Appalachian Trail. At the end of the day, head to one of the 30 local eateries in and around downtown for a delicious meal. You’ll find deliciously prepared trout and other dishes at The Gamekeeper, Red Onion Café, and others in town. The Local and Twigs serve up good eats and weekend nightlife. Hit up Ransom Café Pub for bluegrass jams on Wednesdays or The Woodlands BBQ any night for live performances. Enjoy a flight from Grandfather Mountain Winery as you take in the scenery from the bank of the Watauga River. Both Lost Province Brewing Co. and Appalachian Mountain Brewery are just a short walk from where Boone Creek runs through town. Sit outside and drink a cold one at Booneshine Brewing Co., just off of Brookshire Park and the South Fork of the New River. Take in all of this and more when you explore the mountains and waters of Boone, N.C. EXPLOREBOONE.COM


BRYSON CITY, NORTH CAROLINA

Photos courtesy of Wythe and Smyth County.

WYTHE AND SMYTH COUNTIES, VIRGINIA From mountain rivers to scenic lakes, the waters of Wythe and Smyth counties are the perfect getaway in Southwest Virginia. Explore the deep pools and scattered islands of the New River. With six different ramps, choose your trip length and float the river south to north as you fish for walleye, smallmouth bass, and musky. Rent kayaks and canoes for the day from New River Trail State Park. Get out on the headwaters of the South Fork Holston River in search of brown and rainbow trout. The Middle Fork offers a variety of fishing opportunities, including redbreast sunfish, rock back, and bluegills. Private trophy trout fishing is available along Cripple Creek. Hungry Mother State Park, one of the six original Virginia parks, encompasses a 108-acre lake filled with a dozen species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass. After a morning on the water, take to the 17 miles of trails in the park by foot or bike to see more of the area. The boat ramp at Rural Retreat Lake is open year-round, 24-hours a day. Stock up with bait and tackle before casting your line for musky, northern pike, sunfish, and more. A small pond

next to the lake is stocked with trout. Both lakes also have camping onsite for an extended trip. If you are new to the area, consider hiring a local guide to show you around. With over the 30 years of experience, book a float trip on the New River with Appalachian Outdoor Adventures. Chase smallmouth bass, musky, and wild trout through the mountain streams with Matt Reilly Fly Fishing. Whether you’re looking to get 4 hours on the water or multiple days, New River Trips LLC can get you out there. Trips with Greasy Creek Outfitters include all of the equipment you’ll need on the water. At the end of a long day, head to Seven Sisters Brewery or 7 Dogs Brewpub for a cold one. Take in an evening show at the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre or the Historic Lincoln Theater. Check into the Bolling Wilson Hotel, a boutique hotel in downtown Wytheville, for a comfy room, full-service restaurant, and a rooftop bar. Or wind down at the General Francis Marion Hotel and grab a bite to eat at their Speakeasy Gastropub. Spend your days on the water when you visit Wytheville and Smyth County, Virginia.

The New River is one of the oldest in the world, and holds several state records for musky, smallmouth, and walleye.

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the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas. Fly Fishing the Smokies will introduce you to delayed Discover the trout waters of Bryson harvest fishing on the Tuckasegee River. Fish the smallmouth bass City, N.C., the fly fishing capital of the sanctuary on the Little Tennessee South. Explore hundreds of miles of with guides from Tuckaseegee Fly native trout streams, four rivers, and Shop. A popular trip with Fontana two lakes in the area. Guides includes Cherokee’s trophy Find a spot to cast your line on the trout section. Located right on the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Nantahala River, Endless rivers, both named a Top River Adventures has a 100 Trout River by trip for everyone,  Trout Unlimited. A 2.2-mile section of including the fastThe Tuckasegee moving cascades flows right the Tuckasegee River on the Upper through town, through Bryson City Nantahala.  so it’s just a is designated delayed When you short drive or harvest waters with get off the walk to local one of the highest water, stop by restaurants the Fly Fishing and amenities. trout count totals per Museum of Spend mile of any stream the Southern your days in the U.S. Appalachians to surrounded by learn about legendary the Great Smoky “Stream Blazers,” the Mountains National Park evolution of rods and reels, types and Nantahala National Forest of gear, and fly tying. View the at Fontana Lake. It is the fourth diversity of the Southern waters at deepest man-made lake in the Appalachian Rivers Aquarium. the country at more than 400 feet Of the many regional fish, amphibian, and features some of the best and reptile species, the aquarium walleye, musky, and smallmouth bass includes two Hellbenders. These fishing around. ancient and protected salamanders Experience the world class live in a 450-gallon tank, the largest in scenery and fishing of Deep Creek the Southeast. and Hazel Creek. The Raven Fork If you are in the mood for more Trophy Section, a 2.2-mile stretch of creek located on the Cherokee Indian trout, The Fryemont Inn and Everett Hotel serve trout prepared several Reservation, is home to the biggest different ways. Kick back and relax trout in the Smokies. with a cold beer at Nantahala Whether you are new to fly Brewing Company or Mountain fishing or are looking to find the Layers Brewing Company at the end best local spots, there are several of a long day. outfitters in town who can help you out with any wade or float trip in GREATSMOKIES.COM Photo by Fly Fishing The Smokies.


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ordered by the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, Stafford County, Va. offers a variety of fishing for anglers of all styles and abilities. From the exciting top water action for tidal largemouth bass to the thrill of catching a Northern Snakehead, see for yourself why Stafford is unique. Get on the Potomac by way of the recently opened Widewater State Park. Located on a peninsula where Aquia Creek and the Potomac River meet, there are two canoe-kayak launches open for use. Hike the trail for views of the water and enjoy a picnic outside. More trails and amenities to come. Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve on Accokeek Creek provides another access point for fishing in the area. In addition to the ADA-accessible canoe-kayak launch, there are several miles of hiking trails that give you views of the landscape and wildlife. Once the end of the Richmond, Fredericksburg &

Potomac Railroad line, Aquia Landing Park is the perfect place to launch from the beach and spend all day reeling in your catch. Head out on the Rappahannock from the Historic Port of Falmouth or Little Falls Boat Ramp. Depending on your desired trip length, you can take the river all the way down to the Chesapeake Bay. For some inland fishing, look no further than Stafford’s lakes. In addition to several native species, Lake Mooney is stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish, red ear sunfish, and bluegill. Fish Curtis Lake from the water or use the public fishing pier on the shore. Several marinas in the area also offer access to the waterways and supplies to stock up on. With so many ways to fish in Stafford County, do your research and come up with a plan before your visit so you have the most successful strategy out on the water.


NATIONAL ATTENTION

“The great thing about this area is that it’s got all these little reservoirs everywhere,” Hoover said. Fishing in Stafford County has caught the attention “You’ve got world-famous Potomac River fishing, of anglers on the national scene. you’ve got this emerging snakehead trophy fishery, The Kayak Bass Fishing Trail Series Tournament will and then you’ve got proximity to a lot of other really be coming to the area in June of 2020 and 2021. cool stuff. It’s a really affordable place to stay in Between 150 to 250 anglers in the Mid-Atlantic a relaxed kind of country setting when you don’t Region and beyond will compete on the Potomac want to be around the hustle and bustle of D.C. River to qualify for the regional finals and the And really, there’s just great fishing everywhere!” series championship. If you have never considered fishing from a kayak, Retired U.S. Navy officer Chad “Knot Right” Hoover will show you how it is done. The Stafford Hoover, founder and president of Kayak Bass episodes will begin airing in 2020, reaching 45 Fishing, chose Stafford, Va. as a Trail Series million households and thousands of viewers online. destination for several reasons. “It offers lots of access, world class fishing, ever changing conditions, and the opportunity to experience more than just great fishing,” he said. Once you get off the water, explore all of the “There is proximity to so much water and diversity historical attractions, beautiful parks, art exhibits, that makes Stafford a great destination for a excellent golf courses, and outdoor recreation in Kayak Bass Fishing Trail event for years to come.” one of Virginia’s fastest growing counties. Stafford County will also be featured in Take a trip to Government Island, which once upcoming episodes of Kayak Bassin, a nationally provided Aquia sandstone to the White House and televised show featured on the World Fishing U.S. Capitol, and learn the rich history of the area Network and the Sportsman Channel. Hoover, host on the trails throughout the park. Located just 25 of the show, takes a deep dive into adventures off miles north of Stafford County, take the day to see the beaten path where power boats can’t reach with the sights in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. valuable tips and tricks for anglers of all abilities. Or visit George Washington’s Boyhood Home from ages This season, Hoover will be jumping into the six to 22 and the place from which the “chopping backwaters and creek arms of the Potomac of the cherry tree” tale originated. River where the tidal influence makes the fishing At the Stafford Civil War Park, you can learn about experience more fun and challenging, and the fish the importance of the region in the 19th century. tend to be bigger and more tenacious. Head to the Riverside Center for the Performing Arts, a

STAY AWHILE

Broadway-quality dinner theater and performing arts center, for a dazzling show. Kick back and relax at one of the four breweries and two wineries in Stafford. Locals and visitors will enjoy their daily and weekly events no matter the season. Take your pick of places to stay for a good night’s rest before another day of adventure. Centrally located in the Mid-Atlantic region, Stafford is within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population. For those coming from further out, three major D.C. Metro Area airports allow for easy access to the area. Discover the hidden gems that are Stafford’s rivers and lakes when you book your next fishing trip to Virginia’s coast. Visit tourstaffordva.com/fishing/ for more information on fishing and booking tournaments in Stafford County.


FLOATING WITH A PURPOSE COMMUNITIES TACKLE TRASH ALONG VIRGINIA’S CLINCH RIVER B Y WA L L Y S M I T H

THE CLINCH RIVER’S LIST OF SUPERLATIVES RUNS NEARLY AS LONG AS ITS 130-MILE JOURNEY THROUGH SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA. The waterway is the Tennessee

TIRES BEING REMOVED FROM THE CLINCH RIVER IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA.

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River’s northernmost headwater tributary. It’s also home to a stunningly biodiverse collection of freshwater fish and mussels, and it has recently become the epicenter of a burgeoning rural economy based around the outdoors. But then there are the tires. Automobile tires, tires for farm equipment, behemoth tires built for industrial machinery—the Clinch has them all. In fact, upwards of 10,000 tires may currently be sitting along the bottom of a 60-mile reach of the river in southwest Virginia, according to Maddie Gordon, the owner of St. Paul, Va.’s Clinch Life Outfitters. “When you’re floating at a certain level of water,” she says of one rapid, “you’re playing bumper cars with tires.” No one is certain how all those tires ended up in the water. Perhaps it was illegal dumping or debris washed downstream after the Appalachians’ apocalyptic Flood of 1977. Maybe it was a combination of both. Regardless of their source, the tires have been in the river for decades. And in recent years, as communities along the Clinch began to develop put-ins for boaters and as Virginia announced the creation of a new state park on its banks, all those tires—and a staggering amount of other industrial debris—remained. Cleaning up any river can be daunting, but that hasn’t stopped Gordon and others with


StreamSweepers, an environmental nonprofit based out of Orange, Va., from taking on the challenge. StreamSweepers was founded in 2013 as a program for the Center for Natural Capital, with the initial goal of addressing the health of the Virginia Piedmont’s Rapidan and Robinson Rivers. Kira Lander, the organization’s Mid-Atlantic program manager, says that work has since grown in scope. “We currently oversee volunteer groups doing trash and river health assessments on the Hazel and Middle Rivers and hope to continue to be able to offer assistance to similar groups all across the Mid-Atlantic,” Lander says. StreamSweepers began its focus on the Clinch in 2017, and Lander says that the river’s unique biodiversity and environmental challenges caught their attention. “Due to the very high amounts of trash and the proposed acquisition of riverside land for a new Virginia state park,” she explains, “we knew that StreamSweepers had a lot to offer southwest Virginia.” While planning a river cleanup might sound straightforward—simply locate trash and remove it—StreamSweepers has done more than clean up debris. Prior to tackling a new stretch of river, the group first performs detailed reconnaissance, floating the waterway and marking the location of problem areas with a GPS unit while also assessing river habitat. That leaves the group with an interactive map that can be used to target future cleanup work. The group has also collaborated with wildlife officials to ensure that their efforts minimize risks to the river’s fragile aquatic life.

For Gordon, the work has been personal. “My grandfather used to take me fishing (on the Clinch) when I was little,” she says. “It’s always held a special place in my heart.” Gordon is now widely regarded as a regional expert on the river’s floating and fishing opportunities. She joined StreamSweepers shortly after the start of their work in the watershed and is now their Clinch River project manager. Following the completion of the team’s initial assessment of the Clinch, the grunt work of removing all that trash began. A key part of StreamSweepers’ strategy has been to involve youth in cleanup efforts as a Job Corps-style initiative, a factor that both Gordon and Lander say has been essential to each cleanup’s success. “That’s one of the main goals of StreamSweepers,” Gordon says of the organization’s work with youth, “to make them realize that there’s something bigger than themselves that they can be a part of.” She stresses that several team members have even refocused their career goals towards

T I R E S P I L E D O N T H E B A N K S O F T H E C L I N C H R I V E R AWA I T R E M O VA L F O L L O W I N G C L E A N U P W O R K B Y S T R E A M S W E E P E R S S TA F F.

environmental work as a result of their experience on the water. Since first beginning work along the river, the team has cleaned 13 miles of the Clinch, removing 14,000 pounds of trash and 1,000 tires spread across the waterway’s path through the Virginia mountains. They have plans to expand that work this year. And as long as there’s a river bisecting the region’s communities, there will be more debris to remove. While no single cleanup effort can fully solve any stream’s problems, both Gordon and Lander are optimistic that their work can inspire both current and future generations to be better stewards of the mountains’ natural resources. “I can speak for myself,” says Lander, who incorporated the data she collected as a member of the group’s cleanup team into her academic career in the environmental field. “StreamSweepers changed my life.”

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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Wonders of Nature EXPLORING THE BLUE RIDGE DISCOVERY CENTER

BY MARK POWELL

T

he chimney swifts are keeping Aaron Floyd up at night. Not that the executive director of the Blue Ridge Discovery Center—a non-profit organization “dedicated to exploring, discovering, and sharing the natural history of the Blue Ridge Mountains”–doesn’t have plenty on his mind. The BRDC is in the midst of a capital campaign that, when complete, will fund the completion of a world-class residential educational facility in the mountains of southwest Virginia. They are, in fact, 91% of the way there, and if they can raise twohundred thousand more dollars by May a matching grant from the Cabell Foundation will cover the rest. It’s a lot of pressure. But the December morning I meet Floyd and outreach coordinator Rachel Caro, the birds seem to be of equal concern. The issue is how to restore the chimney where a drift of swifts have decided to roost while simultaneously protecting the birds. “An ornithologist suggested we wear a sombrero filled with seeds,” “ W E A R E A N AT U R A L H I S T O R Y E D U C AT I O N O R G A N I Z AT I O N , ” S AY S B L U E R I D G E D I S C O V E R Y C E N T E R O U T R E A C H C O O R D I N AT O R R A C H E L C A R O .

Floyd tells me with a smile, “just to habituate the chickadees to people.” We’re laughing about it in the cabin that currently serves as the BRDC’s home, but it’s exactly the sort of thoughtful and out-of-the-box thinking the center is bringing back to this part of Appalachia, an approach that combines a nearly forgotten ethic of living in harmony with the land with up-to-the-minute science. Founded in 2008, the BRDC has made an art form out of combining ecological awareness with the sort of outdoor activities that make living in the region such a pleasure. There is a youth summer camp that teaches fly fishing. Another camp is geared toward ornithology (“The best week of my life,” my eleven year old son said on return), another takes campers on a 30-mile, four-day paddling trip down the New River. In 2020, three “Science in Nature” camps will teach “citizenscientists” how to conduct field research in one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas. The skills being taught range from orienteering to kayaking to conducting acoustic surveys of bird life. Which means an entire generation of young

people are putting down their phones and picking up a compass and map. How many American children know what it’s like to snorkel a mountain stream in the company of salamanders? Well, in this part of Virginia, quite a few actually. Besides the camps, there are naturalist rallies. There are annual counts of butterflies and birds; there is a Hawk Watch where volunteers monitor the fall migration. There are retreats and native landscape programs, service projects and research initiatives. Right now, the programs are scattered over three counties, ranging from Abingdon to Galax to the summit of Mount Rogers. That will soon change. In 2017, the BRDC acquired what was once the Konnarock Training School. Built in 1924 by a departing timber company and Lutheran Missionary Society, it operated as a

girl’s boarding school from 1925 to 1959. The idea was to teach poor Appalachians the skills necessary to survive a modernizing world, particularly one in which much of the natural resources had been cut, planed, and shipped elsewhere. It was, as Aaron puts it, “a consolation prize for the community.” It seems fitting that the old school building will soon be teaching the sort of environmental attentiveness those “modernizing” forces helped to erase. But there’s work to be done. On the morning we visit, the school is a study in gorgeous decay, a vast shell, as empty as it is grand. Here is the cafeteria where the tables were pushed aside for dances. Here is the staircase where a visiting alumnus remembers sitting with her schoolmates while President Roosevelt spoke to the nation about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The sense of history is palpable, from the

Founded in 2008, the BRDC has made an art form out of combining ecological awareness with the sort of outdoor activities that make living in the region such a pleasure.

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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Never stop playing. THE BRDC FOSTERS ECOLOGICAL AWA R E N E S S THROUGH ACTIVITIES LIKE HIKING AND FLY FISHING.

chestnut bark siding to the stainedglass windows of the chapel. It’s also freezing. “Right now it seems to radiate cold,” Aaron tells me. And it is certainly cold, but it’s also stunning, the lofted ceilings, the hardwood floors—the “good bones” are immediately evident. Those bones will soon be fleshed into a dining hall and kitchen, a meeting hall and stage. There will be a classroom and a library/natural history museum. The second and third floors will be housing for guests and an artist-in-residence. The basement will house archives and research laboratories. When the restoration is complete, it will be a gathering place: all of the BRDC’s programs will migrate to the grounds. But for now, it’s a gathering place of critters. Besides the swifts, there are bats, red squirrels, chipmunks skittering on the front porch, a turkey that flew through an open window. There is even a family of screech owls that, having entered through woodpecker holes, are now roosting in the walls. “We’ll have to find a way to keep the owls,” Floyd tells me. Which is very much the ethos of the place. “We’re trying to reconnect people with the place they live,” Floyd tells me back in the office. “That’s the first step.” The second is to foster a sense of value and appreciation. The final step is to create a community of stewards. The center’s official mission statement is “to inspire curiosity, discovery, and stewardship through the wonders of the Blue Ridge.” The curious thing here is that to bring our understanding of the natural world

into the 21st century, we have to go back to the 19th, to a time before what are euphemistically called “extraction resources” turned much of Appalachia into a colony. It was coal to the northwest. Here in southwest Virginia it was timber. The land around the Konnarock School was clear-cut in the early 20th century. Now it has been reclaimed by nature. But the reclamation isn’t complete. The staff are busy restoring not only a building but also the wetlands that once surrounded it. To help sustain the population of native brook trout, and with the help of local schoolchildren, they are propagating spruce seeds for riparian corridors along streambanks. Having confirmed the presence of Northern saw-whet owls, they are preparing owl boxes to assess and support the population. When the work is complete, the nine acres will feature a nature trail, field station, cabins, and sites for primitive camping, all flush against 200,000 acres of national forest. In Appalachia, we are notorious for venerating a brief period of history when jobs—mining, timber—were plentiful and towns full. We are equally notorious for lamenting its passing. While it’s true that was an important moment in our history, it wasn’t the only one. At our heart, Caro tells me, “we are a natural history education organization.” That natural history—a history measured in a deep time that extends back far beyond even the chestnut rings of the trees that once surrounded the school—is our real inheritance, a gift of skills and placebased knowledge, a gift the good people at the Blue Ridge Discovery Center are making certain isn’t lost.

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GO GREEN

Kick off Spring festivities with Green River Revival. Watch as the Whitewater Center’s resident leprechaun transforms the river green for St Patrick’s Day. Start the day with the Color Me Green 5K Trail Run before rafting down the river and listening to live music. Make it a getaway weekend and stay at convenient, relaxing hotel accommodations on I-85 in Gaston County.

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CHEROKEE CHANGES

Principal chief Richard Sneed is turning Cherokee, North Carolina, into a mecca of outdoor recreation— and he’s doing it using traditional tribal values. B Y E R I C J . WA L L A C E

T

he winter afternoon brings spring-like temperatures and Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, aims to capitalize on the reprieve. He shuts his office door and trades his coat, tie, white oxford shirt, and dress shoes for red bike shorts, a matching cycling jersey, and mountain biking shoes. Hopping on his Specialized Stumpjumper, Sneed, 51, pedals a quick 1.5 miles across town to the tribe’s 3-year-old Fire Mountain Bike Park. There, he proves a formidable rider. Sneed crushes the 1.8-mile ascent up the Uktena climbing trail like a man half his age. Along the way, we pass through jangly rhododendron thickets and stands of towering oaks and cross sturdy wooden bridges over mossy, boulder-strewn gullies and gurgling mountain streams. Reaching the 2,927-foot summit, Sneed contemplates a horizon of cloud-enwrapped peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “That’s what brought me home,” he says, referring both to the landscape and his 20s— most of which was spent living on military bases throughout the U.S. “Whatever’s happening in my life, I can look out on these mountains and it just calms me to the core.”

MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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Seconds later, Sneed noses into Kessel Run, the 12-mile system’s flagship trail. The one-way, double-track route is rated black diamond and brings nearly 2,000 feet of vertical descent. With dozens of tabletops, rhythm sections, 10-foot berms, and numerous wooden features, it’s a fast and flowy rollercoaster built for highspeed fun. Sneed launches jumps and whips around berms at an impressive pace. “How cool is it we have this right in our backyard?” he says at the bottom, breathing heavily, his face plastered in a boyish grin. “I mean, you can bike here in less than 15 minutes from pretty much anywhere in town, ride worldclass trails, and it’s totally free. How many other [non-resort] municipalities can say that?” Sneed became principal chief in 2016 and quickly pushed the installation of Fire Mountain, which was completed the following year for about $250,000. He framed the park as a pilot for a broader initiative to diversify the tribal economy through ecotourism and inspire residents to be more active. “At first, we had some trouble getting everyone on board,” says Sneed. Tribal members—elders, in particular—were wary of opening cherished lands to outsiders. Many feared visitors “would come in and trash things up.” Shifting the perception was tough. Sneed and others had to convince hardliners to take what, to them, seemed a dangerous gamble. Sneed’s argument was three-pronged. First, ecotourists tend to respect the land and follow an ethos of no-trace-left-behind. Second, convenience and cultural amenities would make Cherokee an ideal destination for adventurous families. Third, visiting riders would invariably discover other offerings—like hiking in the 56,000-acre backcountry, or kayaking and trout fishing in the crystal-clear waters of the Oconaluftee River. The reasoning proved sound: Fire Mountain was an incredible success. While economic impact studies are still forthcoming, secretary of administration, Jeremy Hyatt, says outside visits to Fire Mountain have been estimated at about 20,000 per year.

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The influx has helped bring new businesses to Cherokee, including a bike shop, outdoors store, and its first locally owned brewpub. Hoteliers say bike-related bookings have increased substantially and, in some cases, necessitated renovations. River outfitters have developed additional kayaking and tubing offerings. Restaurants have built new patios and bar areas, added pizza ovens, and expanded menus to include more craft beers on tap, regional wines, and locally sourced ingredients. Demand for the latter has led small-scale farmers to invest in boosting production. The list goes on. “Our local business owners love Fire Mountain, and I mean love it,” says Hyatt. “Its success has fundamentally changed the way they think about tourism.” The support has helped Sneed secure funding to expand Fire Mountain. In 2019, $150,000 was generated for 1.5 miles of new trail and wooden features—including drops, gaps, skinnies, wall rides, and a summit gazebo. A lease for an adjacent 140 acres followed earlier this year. There, the tribe will build a sister park that Sneed says will be “at least as big as Fire Mountain, but potentially much larger.” The goal? To make Cherokee the Southeast’s biggest, most attractive nonresort ride center. But Sneed’s outdoors overhaul is about more than just mountain biking. His administration plans to invest in other experiences as well. Ideas include more hiking trails and walk-in campsites in the backcountry; a large-scale rock climbing and bouldering facility; zipline adventure course; trout hatchery; and more. “Richard’s genius lay in the way he foresaw the benefits of all this, but refused to just plow ahead,” says Hyatt. “He was very patient. He emphasized the need for an overwhelming consensus.” The strategy gave the community time to adjust, take ownership of the vision, and adapt it as their own.


F I R E M O U N TA I N B I K E PA R K I S B E C O M I N G A P O P U L A R D E S T I N AT I O N I N C H E R O K E E .

S

need says his passion for the initiative stems from a deep love of the area’s natural beauty. But his approach derives from outside perspective. “I grew up on the Jersey Shore with my mom,” explains Sneed. As a kid, weekends and afternoons typically found him riding his BMX bike to the beach, through local neighborhoods, or at jump tracks. “I was a BMX punk, 100 percent. I wore earrings and big baggy jeans, had long hair, the whole nine yards.” At 14, though, Sneed relocated to Cherokee to live with his dad. “Culture shock is an inadequate phrase,” he laughs, recalling his arrival. “It was a totally different world; I didn’t know what to do with myself.” Relatives and classmates introduced Sneed to a lifestyle centered around nature and the outdoors. He soon fell in love with hiking and camping in the woods, fishing in crystalline waterways, and the like. Still, he had no intentions of staying. Following high school, Sneed enlisted in the Marines, where he became a certified automotive mechanic and met his future wife. The couple married and spent a decade base-hopping around the country. They moved from Kansas City to Cherokee in the mid-1990s. “The older I got, the more I craved its woods, mountains, and streams,” says Sneed. “The pull was magnetic. Eventually, I realized this was where I wanted to settle down and raise a family.” Initially, making it was tough. Prior to the arrival of Harrah’s Resort Casino in 1997, poverty was rampant. Sneed found work as a contract mechanic, then a high school teacher in the vocational department. Though the casino brought jobs and financial prosperity, it bothered him that most visitors never left the premises. To him, they were missing out. Throughout the 2000s, Sneed became increasingly interested in tribal politics. He made his first bid for public office in 2015 and was elected vice chief. Ten months later he was promoted, following the impeachment of principal chief, Patrick Lambert. Sneed quickly came to view pursuing economic development through ecotourism as a signature initiative. He says the most attractive thing about the approach is how it inherently promotes an active lifestyle and an ethos of stewardship that is “traditionally very Cherokee.” “I see it as a paradigm shift,” says Sneed. “This mode of thinking is going to carry us into the future and help transform this amazing place into something all the more magical. And best of all, we’re doing it in a manner in keeping with our tribal identity and values.” MARCH 2020 | BLUERIDGEOUTDOORS.COM

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THE GOODS

F LY F I S H I N G G E A R

Tight Lines NO MATTER YOUR SKILLS, OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST FLY FISHING GEAR WILL GET YOU OUT ENJOYING THE PLEASURE OF CASTING A LINE—OH, YEAH, AND CATCHING FISH—THIS SPRING. B Y D O U G S C H N I T Z S PA H N

Trout Rod

G.Loomis NRX+ 5100-4 Freshwater G.Loomis designed this magic wand to deal with all the ugly realities of real-world fly fishing, when you have to contend with wind, fish in weird places, odd terrain, and underbrush. This 10-foot, 5-weight rod is accurate whether you are casting across the stream or close to where you’re wading, and can deal with everything from tiny dries to big stone fly nymphs. $825; gloomis.com

Smallmouth Rod

Sage 789-4 Payload Here’s the perfect tool for hunting smallmouth and casting big flies at strong fish. A fast-action, 8-foot9-inch rod with a tough tip, it will toss those big, nasty streamers and heavy line and give you the backbone to haul that beast in, whether it’s a smallmouth, striper, pike, or overstuffed trout. It’s designed for 7-weight line and up. $550; sageflyfish. com

Reel

Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor II Large arbor reels allow for faster retrieves, a godsend when you are trying to get a fat trout to a waiting net in a hurry. Smooth and reliable, Orvis’s large arbor version of 60

BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS

its go-to Clearwater series is the perfect reel pair for any trout rod—plus it rings in at a nice price. $89; orvis.com

thanks to an adjustable nose piece and temple tips. $189$209 (poly lens), $249-$269 (glass); costadelmar.com

Sunglasses

Men’s Waders

Costa del Mar Tailwalker A high-performing set of sunglasses is your secret weapon on the water, cutting out glare and allowing you to better see fish under the surface—and protect your precious eyes. Providing incredibly sharp focus thanks to a lens that filters out yellows and absorbs blues, the Tailwalker is customizable to the shape of your face

Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders The wader of choice with our fly guide buddies, these durable, breathable waders hold up to serious use on the stream and scrambling around to get to isolated holes. They also feature pockets for flies and clippers at the chest and a waterproof zipper that makes them easy to vent. $500; redington.com

Women’s Waders

Patagonia Women’s Spring River Waders The real beauty of these women’s waders is the fit: A wide range of sizes in petite, regular, and full means you can feel comfortable on the water (bonus points for the handwarmer pocket). And they get the job done. Built with tough, waterproof/breathable material that’s sleek and seamsealed, they keep out the river and can withstand the abuse of bushwhacking to the stream and getting stashed in the back of a pickup truck. $399; patagonia.com

Socks

Farm to Feet Missoula Even in the best waders and boots, your toes get cold standing in a mountain stream all day long: A good pair of socks will save the day. This series of comfy merino socks, which are made and stored right here in the U.S.A., breathe and stay warm when wet. Plus, the sock comes in three designs—rainbow, brook, and brown—with the tell-tale markings of your favorite species. $22; farmtofeet.com


Daily local guide trips for smallmouth bass, trout and musky.

CENTRALS VIRGINIA'S PREMIER FLY FISHING OUTFITTER AND GUIDE SERVICE ALBEMARLE ANGLER The Albemarle Angler has been Centrals Virginia's premier fly fishing outfitter and guide service for nearly two decades. Professional local guides, worldwide travel offerings, the widest selection of brands under one roof and a price match guarantee are just a few things their customers value. The Albemarle Angler is truly your on stop shop for all things fly fishing. In addition to their private water offerings, the Albemarle Angler is excited and pleased to announce their newest water, Sachem's Pass. Sachem’s Pass is situated on approximately 330 picturesque acres in Lexington. Join us on Virginia’s newest fly fishing club water. 1.3 miles of river teaming with Brown, Brook and Rainbow trout in excess of 5lbs is reserved for members only. For membership information contact the Albemarle Angler.

Private water offerings, Bath county, Big Bend Farm on the Cowpasture river. Albemarle county/ Charlottesville, Sugar Hollow Farm on the Moormans river.

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Albemarle Angler | 1129 Emmet St, Charlottesville VA 22903 | (434)977-6882 | www.albemarleangler.com| albemarleangler@gmail.com


THE GOODS

F LY F I S H I N G G E A R

Wading Boots

Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots Patagonia collaborated with boot-maker Danner to craft these burly, reliable river kicks for men and women in Portland, Oregon. The lacing system, which ferries sipped lacing on the top, makes them more comfortable and easier to adjust than other boots we have tested. And three sole options (sticky rubber for when you know you will also be doing a lot of hiking, felt for traditional wading, and aluminum bar for the ability to grip on wet logs) mean you can choose the right boot for your preferred adventure. $499 (sticky rubber), $499 (felt), $549 (aluminum bar); patagonia.com

Backpacking Rod

Tenkara USA Rhodo Set With no reel and the ability to deploy the rod in a hurry, the Japanese style of tenkara is the perfect method for small, hard-to-reach streams and backpacking trips—but adherents will fish the rod anywhere. The Rhodo Set is ideal for those who want to give it a try. The telescoping rod adjusts from 8’10" to 9'9" to 10’6" lengths to tackle different streams and the kit includes everything you need to start catching fish, from tenkara line to flies to a pair of nippers. $294: tenkarausa.com

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Kayak

Old Town Topwater 120 PDL Kayaking in a paddle boat is just the ticket for anglers who would rather be manning rod and reel than paddling. The Old TownPDL system allows for accurate navigation and power on demand—and helps to maneuver when you are trying to land big fish, which can be an adventure in a kayak. Add in lots of gull space for storage and the boat proves its worth even when you aren’t casting. $1,999; oldtowncanoe. johnsonoutdoors.com

PFD

Ocean Kayak Lure Angler We don’t know what exactly we did when fly fishing from kayak or SUP before we had this multi-functional vest. A fully certified, comfy PFD, it also includes handy pockets for tippets and fly box right where you need them. Best of all, it’s built to accommodate the fit of the back of a fishing kayak seat. $140; oceankayak. johnsonoutdoors.com

Backpack

Watershed Animas Backpack This roll-top dry bag backpack is the ideal fishing companion when you want to haul gear along with you but don’t want to worry about that warm fleece getting soaked. Needless to say, it’s mandatory if you are going to be out on a boat. $167; drybags.com

Sunscreen

Surface CBD Infused Sheer Touch Sunscreen These days CBD—or cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive extract of the cannabis plant with claims on soothing skin and aiding sleep—is in everything, from soda to adult lubricants. Sunblock is one place where it really seems to work, hydrating and soothing the skin. The water-resistant lotion merges SPF50 sunscreen with all those rejuvenating effects of CBD. $23; surfacecorp.com


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WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOUR NATIONAL FORESTS BY

I love looking at maps—especially the green-shaded areas. That’s where most adventures happen. At first, I thought all of the green spaces on maps were protected. They were public lands, shared spaces for all, part of a celebrated and cherished American land legacy of conservation. But then I learned: not all public lands are the same. It turns out that there are three different kinds of federally owned public lands in the East: national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national forests. Their names can be misleading. For example, national wildlife refuges are popular hunting grounds, and national forests are heavily logged. Most of the public lands in the East are national forests. If you’ve been hiking, biking, paddling, or climbing on public lands recently, there’s a good chance it was in a national forest like the GW-Jeff in Virginia, the Monongahela in West Virginia, or the Cherokee in Tennessee. We only have three major national parks in the Southeast: Shenandoah, the Smokies, and the Blue Ridge Parkway that connects them. There are state parks and forests, too, but they are typically much smaller. National parks are much more protected than national forests. Logging, mining, drilling, and pipeline construction are not allowed in national parks. However, national forests permit all of those things. National forests allow private companies to cut down trees, mine for coal, drill for oil and gas, and bulldoze pipeline routes. Those green spaces on the map suddenly seem a lot more vulnerable. It’s difficult to untangle the laws and rules that guide our public lands. Yet we own them, and we can decide to change the way they are managed. We have such an opportunity 64

BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS

WILL HARLAN

right now in North Carolina’s PisgahNantahala National Forest. It is the secondmost popular national forest in the country, attracting nearly 7 million visitors annually. Over 95% of them are hikers, mountain bikers, paddlers, climbers, and other nature-loving enthusiasts. The Forest Service has just released a draft plan that will guide the next 30 years of forest management for the PisgahNantahala. Essentially, it is a blueprint that will decide how much of the forest is logged and how much is protected. The draft plan includes substantially increased logging for the PisgahNantahala. Is your favorite trail or trout stream in an area that will be logged or protected? You can view maps, learn more, and submit comments to the Forest Service at forestkeeper.org, iheartpisgah.org, or southernenvironment.org. Your voice is crucial in shaping the next three decades of this one-million-acre forest. And here are ten somewhat surprising facts about national forests that can help us all better protect the places where we play. 1. National forests are the only federal lands managed by the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture traditionally has viewed trees as crops and prioritized timber harvests on national forests. National parks and national wildlife refuges are managed by the Department of the Interior, which tends to prioritize recreation and conservation. 2. Logging in national forests is increasing. Trump and the U.S. Forest Service are seeking massive increases in national forest logging, and they are stripping away laws and rules that limit logging. They also are removing

scientific review and public input from many logging projects. 3. National Forests are legally required to balance five uses: recreation, timber, range, wildlife, and water. The U.S. Forest Service has traditionally focused more on timber than other uses, but an overwhelming majority of forest users visit national forests for recreation, water, and wildlife. 4. Recreation generates far more income than timber harvests in national forests. Recreation in national forests contributes 30 times more income and creates 38 times more jobs than logging. Less than 3% of jobs in rural communities are linked to logging on public land, while 75% of jobs in rural communities come from recreation based on public lands. 5. National forests supply drinking water for over 20% of Americans. Over 66 million Americans get their drinking water from national forests, making national forests the largest municipal supplier of drinking water in the country. Forest soils absorb rain and snow like sponges, act as a natural filter, and replenish underground aquifers. Water flowing from National Forests also supports valuable ecological communities—wetlands, lakes, rivers, and streams. 6. Forests provide clean, healthy air. Forests pump out oxygen we need to live and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale or emit. Forests also improve air quality: they act as natural filters that absorb pollutants and clean the air. Trees absorb a wide range of airborne pollutants, including carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. In the U.S. alone, forests are estimated to save 850 lives per year and $6.8 billion in total health care costs just by removing pollutants from the air.

7. National forest logging is paid for by taxpayers and loses hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The Forest Service sells our national forest timber to private timber companies. It then subsidizes the logging project using taxpayer money to plan the cuts and build the road infrastructure for the private timber companies to use. Our national forests contain eight times as many miles of roads as our interstate system. 8. Logging makes wildfires burn hotter and faster. Burn severity tends to be highest in areas with more logging. Logged sites are filled with dried-out debris and higher winds that are far more flammable than older, mature forests. Opening the canopy dries out the forest floor and increases wind speeds, both of which accelerate fire. In addition, logging often results in the spread of more combustible invasive species. Prescribed burns, targeted forest thinning around structures, and emergency firebreaks are effective strategies to protect communities and residences, but large-scale logging only makes wildfires worse. 9. The Forest Service has proposed rules to eliminate public comment and scientific review from many of its logging, mining, and pipeline projects. All timber sales less than 4,200 acres would not require any public notice. The proposed rules would cut the public out of public lands. Forest Keeper works to ensure that science and the public voice are not silenced. 10. National forests are far more valuable standing than cut down. Most of the country’s oldgrowth forests, rare species, scenic vistas, recreational opportunities, and drinking water supplies are found in national forests, generating revenue for local communities and a sustainable future for everyone.


When the fish of a lifetime presents herself, the difference in success or failure is measured in inches. To the angler faced with a cast that will forever inspire or haunt them, it’s the eye of a needle. At that moment, only one thing matters.

HELIOS 3—ERASE THE DOUBT

ALPHARETTA, GA ARLINGTON, VA ASHEVILLE, NC ATLANTA, GA BATON ROUGE, LA BETHESDA, MD BIRMINGHAM, AL

CHARLOTTE, NC CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA CHARLESTON, SC GREENSBORO, NC GREENVILLE, SC HUNTSVILLE, AL

JACKSON, MS LEESBURG, VA LOUISVILLE, KY MEMPHIS, TN MYRTLE BEACH, SC NASHVILLE, TN

RALEIGH, NC - 2 LOCATIONS RICHMOND, VA - 2 LOCATIONS ROANOKE, VA SANDESTIN, FL SEVIERVILLE, TN TYSONS CORNER, VA WOODBRIDGE, VA

70 LOCATIONS NATIONWIDE ORVIS.COM/STORES

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Blue Ridge Outdoors March 2020  

Blue Ridge Outdoors March 2020

Blue Ridge Outdoors March 2020  

Blue Ridge Outdoors March 2020

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