New mountain hiking trail planned in Henderson Cty.

Published 12:28 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) is planning a new mountain hiking trail in Henderson County. The trail would go up the western face of Bearwallow Mountain, the second highest peak in Henderson County, and travel to ridges above Gerton, close to the Buncombe County line. CMLC says it hopes to complete the first one-mile section of the trail by next spring and then steadily grow the mountain trail system from there.

Henderson County obtained a $208,750 grant from N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to support the project, and CMLC is currently raising the same amount to meet the grants matching funds requirement. In addition, CMLC is seeking a $700,000 National Scenic Byways Discretionary Grant. CMLC plans to use the funds to purchase a 27-acre tract near Gerton, adjacent to the 600-acre Florence Nature Preserve, and obtain an 85-acre conservation easement on the top of Bearwallow Mountain.


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A $375,000 state grant will fund seven water quality projects in Western North Carolina, according to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper. The grant was awarded to Blue Ridge Forever, a coalition of 10 land trusts, to protect headwater streams through conservation easements.

Blue Ridge Forever is planning seven projects that will help protect 3,000 acres in the French Broad and Catawba river basins in Avery, Caldwell, Henderson, Mitchell, McDowell and Transylvania counties.

The funding is part of $2 million in grants issued by the state as part of an agreement between the state and Smithfield Foods in 2000.


Asheville has been named a finalist for a Healthways/Blue Zones Vitality City competition, which will help develop a community where residents live longer, happier lives, have higher productivity and share a goal of social and economic progress.

Healthways Inc. and Blue Zones LLC are visiting the finalists this month before making a final selection. After a city is selected, a Healthways/Blue Zones team will work with the community to help it gain designation as a Healthways/Blue Zones Vitality City.


The Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association in Graham County has received a $13,500 N.C. Value-Added Cost Share award to increase production and marketing of ramps, a Smoky Mountain native plant. Ramps are wild leeks that can be eaten fresh or dried.

The mission of the association is to help farmers earn income through growing, collecting, process and marketing Appalachian native plants while preserving those plants and the culture of the region. The association, which now has 60 members in Western North Carolina, was formed in 2000 to help farmers explore new options as tobacco revenues declined.


Audubon South Carolina has obtained a 384-conservation easement for a bird sanctuary near the South Carolina coast. Audubon and its partners obtained a $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to buy the land in the Four Holes Swamp area of Dorchester County. The land, which is home to herons, ducks, sparrows, blackbirds and warblers, is in a 40-mile area of swamp from around St. Matthews to the Edisto River.


North Carolina has obtained more than $2 million in energy efficiency grants for projects in Charlotte and Morrisville.

A $1.7 million stimulus grant will fund a Next-Generation Clothes Dryer project in Morrisville. The dryer is expected to use about half as much energy per cycle as a conventional dryer and dry clothes in much less time.

In addition, UNC-Charlotte has obtained a $589,843 stimulus grant to develop accredited certificate level training programs for commercial building operators. The project will increase the pool of qualified professionals skilled in energy efficient building technologies and best practices.


Henderson County obtained a $610,500 stimulus grant to construct a compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel station that will be used for county vehicles. The county began construction on the station last week and plans to complete it by October. The compressed fuel, a cleaner-burning alternative to standard gasoline, will be used to power two new buses for the Apple Country Transit System. The county obtained a $585,841 grant to purchase the new buses that run on compressed natural gas. City officials say the county will save between $1.4 and $1.7 per gallon with the CNG vehicles.


HTI Manufacturing Solutions is planning to hire more than 115 people for its automotive parts operation in Duncan, S.C. The BMW supplier held a job fair recently that attracted more than 700 people. After the company completes its first round of hiring this month it plans to hire about 10 to 15 people a month through October.


Spartanburg Community College has obtained approval from the county to create a campus in downtown Spartanburg.

The county, which unanimously approved the plan, is moving the Department of Social Services, Veterans Affairs, the Clemson Extension Service and the Office of Registration and Elections out of the Evans Building to make room for the college campus. The building is on Dean Street.

Approximately 3,000 students are expected to attend the college at its new campus, which also will offer an accelerated Honors College program and pre-college programs.

Spartanburg Community College is planning to spend $8.5 million, including $3 million from businesses and donors, to upgrade the Evans Building.


Anglers on the Hatteras-based boat Citation may have lost $912,825 in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in North Carolina because one of the anglers did not have a fishing license. The tournament has stripped the boat of the tournament title and award after the anglers won with a record-setting 883-pound blue marlin caught on June 14.

The tournament requires a $15 state recreational fishing license for the captain, mate and angler and anyone else deemed necessary. One of the boats owners said the tournament confirmed a for-hire mate did not have a license following a lie detector test. The winning prize went to the runner-up boat which caught a 528.3 pound marlin.