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Red Spruce & Carolina Flying Squirrel

Red Spruce & Carolina Flying Squirrel

Red Spruce & Carolina Flying Squirrel A 78-Foot Red Spruce from Pisgah Travels to DC as the US Capitol Christmas Tree The assortment of fir trees and evergreens that thrive in the higher elevations of Brevard and Transylvania County is one of the area’s most scenic and treasured signs of life in our mountains.  Among these, the red spruce stands tall and is particularly important not just to our area but to the region beyond. Known as the “Redwoods of the East,” North Carolina’s red spruce is the largest conifer indigenous to the Southern Appalachians. Its spindly, high-reaching branches rise up like an island in the sky over the high tops of the Blue Ridge, providing color and texture to the landscape and a critical pocket ecosystem for flora and fauna, among them Carolina Northern Flying Squirrels, which are listed as federally endangered. These delightful, furry aviators enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the red spruce via a particular underground fungus. These fungi provide water and nutrients for the trees and receive sugars in return. The squirrels then spread the spores through the forest, which helps the red spruce. Many decades of logging and wildfires led to a precipitous decline in the Appalachian red spruce by the middle of the 20th century. In 2013, Transylvania County’s Southern Highlands Reserve (SHR), a nonprofit, high-elevation native plant garden and research center, undertook a partnership with the Nature Conservancy to restore red spruce trees to the Southern Appalachians. Two years later, in 2015,... Read More
Winter Weather Checklist

Winter Weather Checklist

Winter Weather Checklist Seven Safety Tips for Winter Adventures Wintertime brings a host of exciting options to adventurers eager to get on the trails in the amazing forests of Brevard and Transylvania County. From more expansive views to ice climbing to a car-free Blue Ridge Parkway, the opportunities for experiencing our natural landscape in a whole new way are many.  Like any season, winter comes with risks as well as rewards. Weather can change quickly. Temperatures drop at higher elevations. Knowing how to prepare yourself for cold weather is a critical component of how you can Leave It Better out on the trail, and it will keep you safe and worry-free on your next cold snap adventure. Here are a few tips so you don’t head out (snow) blind: 1 1 CHECK IT OUT BEFORE YOU GO. Many of Brevard and Transylvania’s public lands operate with smaller staffs during the winter months. That’s why it’s critically important to check on the status of trails, roads and landmarks before you go. Updated information can be found here: Pisgah National Forest       |      DuPont State Recreational Forest Gorges State Park      |      Blue Ridge Parkway 2 2 KNOW THE FORECAST. Understanding the local weather forecast goes a long way in knowing what type of conditions to anticipate. If the forecast calls for storms or dropping temperatures, consider rescheduling a long hike or a camping trip for milder conditions. Waterfalls can be particularly treacherous in winter... Read More
8 Great Holiday Tips

8 Great Holiday Tips

8 Great Holiday Tips For Having A Cool Yule in Brevard Whether it’s waterfalls, white squirrels, or a warm spot by a glowing fire, Brevard and Transylvania County have just about everything you need to make this holiday season unforgettable. We take “jolly” to a whole new level with charming, small-town magic, festive events, and plenty of opportunities for you to get out and explore acres of winter wonderland, jingle bells optional. 1 1 HAVE A THRILL ON THE HILL  What could be more fun than an evening snow skiing or snow tubing with the family (weather permitting) at the Ski Sapphire Valley? They will be open Dec 17-Jan 1, then on weekends, Fri-Sun, after the holidays. They will also be closed on Jan 16th and February 20th  for national holidays.  2 2 EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY Special holiday menu offerings from our local restaurants and seasonal selections from our extraordinary craft brewers and tap rooms give new meaning to the term “holiday cheer.” No matter what your taste buds fancy, we’ve got a table (or a bar stool) with your name on it.   3 3 GO TREE CRAZY. For many of us, Christmas is best evoked in the heady scent and furry limbs of a fresh evergreen tree decked with tinsel, lights, random ornaments both grand and sentimental. And then there are some of us who just can’t feel the holiday spirit until they bask in the glow of a neon pink, metallic tree. Fortunately, Transylvania County offers a little bit of... Read More