A Winter Hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Over the years, my husband and I have hiked many trails near the Blue Ridge Parkway – Graveyard Fields, Mt. Pisgah, Black Balsam Knob, Looking Glass Rock. This fall, we lucked into an opportunity to hike on the parkway itself. We happened to be in Asheville after remnants of Hurricane Nicole passed through the mountains. […]

Beyond Honey – Get to Know some Native Bees

Categories: General News Tags: Nature, Recreation

Bee nirvana. That’s how Gabriela Garrison described one of the fields we’ve converted to native warm season grasses and wildflowers. Garrison, the Eastern Piedmont habitat conservation coordinator with N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, was in the Uwharries to conduct point counts targeting a list of priority bird species, but she kept getting distracted. “I couldn’t tear […]

North Carolina’s parks showcase the state’s diverse landscapes

North Carolina is truly blessed with a fantastic and diverse system of state parks and nature preserves, stretching from the mountains to the coast. I’ve visited 19 of these in my 38 years, and I’m already making plans to see some of the ones I’ve missed. Below are some of my favorite experiences at some […]

Enjoy hiking? You should help build a trail

Most people who hike trails don’t take time to think about who makes and maintains paths through the woods. In the Uwharries, as in most recreational areas, most trail-building is done by dedicated volunteers. The Uwharrie Trailblazers club hits the trails every second Saturday of the month to help maintain and establish trails in Randolph […]

Recreation as economic development: Lessons from two approaches

Rural communities around Charlotte are looking for new economic engines. Urban residents are looking for more outdoor recreation. That provides an opportunity for communities around Charlotte to use their public lands and waterways to fuel growth. And two areas in the region that were ahead of the curve offer lessons for other communities trying to […]

A changing landscape: Who are the Uwharries for?

In the years after World War II, my dad could roam the Uwharries with his .22 and his trusty squirrel dog, a feist named Spot. A boy didn’t have to worry about trespassing on a neighbor’s property; he only had to avoid the occasional moonshine still. Deer and turkey were virtually extirpated in the region, […]

A border problem? Unexpected ways the state line influences our behavior

We don’t often think about crossing state lines. Other than changes in gas prices or the availability of fireworks, there’s little visible difference as you cross from North Carolina into South Carolina, or vice versa. This similarity was one of the fundamental assumptions of our Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection project – we expected our 32-county region […]

Street art celebrates Don Gibson's music in Shelby. Photo: Nancy Pierce

Downtown Shelby turns to music for a revival

Music has helped power the revival of downtown (or uptown, as the locals call it) Shelby. The Earl Scruggs Center and Don Gibson Theatre draw on the town’s musical history.