First Turns in Tucker County Giveaway

first_imgWIN $100 Gift Card to Ski Barn and a Ski Package to Timberline Four Seasons Resort in Tucker County:Two Night Stay for TwoTwo Day Lift Tickets for TwoEquipment Rental for Two[contact-form-7 404 “Not Found”]Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on December 1, 2015. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before December 1, 6:00 PM EST 2015. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.last_img read more

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Trail Mix | April 2017

first_img 1:44 Audio PlayerJenny ScheinmanA Kid Named LilyUse Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.00:000:00 / 1:44 Over the Hill and Through the Woods Lillie Mae 3:52 3:40 3:41 Fayinkounko Orchestra Baobab Ancient Family Dangermuffin 4:32 3:05 4:45 3:38 A Kid Named Lily Jenny Scheinman 4:30 Here’s a band that gets it.I remember that being the first thing I thought when I saw this video of The Whiskey Gentry some five years ago. They get it. All of it. The sound, the energy, the performance. It’s all there.Since then, I have been lucky enough to get to know Lauren and Jason Morrow and the various and sundry gentry that surround them. Tremendous folks all, and it is with much excitement that I have been follow their musical journey and have awaited their latest record, Dead Ringer, which released at the end of March.Featured this month on Trail Mix is “Looking For Trouble,” a powerful blend of old country tradition and garage rock swagger.On the mix this month are brand new tracks from two bright new female voices, Lillie Mae and Sarah Shook. Lillie Mae, who cut her teeth on mandolin and fiddle with Jack White’s band, blends old time Appalachia with crunchy rock and roll on her debut record, which was produced by none other than White himself. And Sarah Shook, releasing her first record with her new band, the Disarmers, continues to be all grit and badassery.And who knew that the guitarist from one of the biggest rock bands in the world had an alt-country streak? Chris Shiflett, long time member of Foo Fighters, joined forces with Dave Cobb, the Grammy winning producer behind the work of Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, on West Coast Town, his third solo record. Trail Mix is happy to be featuring “Sticks & Stones” this month.April’s mix features the return of some long time friends and favorites. Back on the mix are Craig Finn, Malcolm Holcombe, Front Country, Ruthie Foster, Dangermuffin, Andrew Combs, and The Whistles & The Bells.There’s also an international flair this month.We are featuring  a new tune from Orchestra Baobab, a band returning from a longtime recording hiatus. This month, the world music masters, who have been performing in some form or fashion since the 1960s, release their first album in a decade.Be sure to take a listen to new tracks from Trail Mix newcomers like Cory Branan,  Tow’rs, Jessie Smith, Christina Cavazos, Blackfoot Gypsies, and That One Eyed Kid.Keep yourself tuned in to the Trail Mix blog this month, too. Chats with Jenny Scheinman, The Weeks, and author Peter Cooper are in store, as a visit to the Ralph Stanley Museum in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.And, of course, get out and buy some of this music. Hit your local record store. Find it online directly from the artist. Get a few of these discs any which way you can, but make sure you do it. These fantastic musicians would appreciate it.Download April’s Trail Mix here. 3:44 Secrets In The Hollow Jessie Smith 3:14 Looking For Trouble The Whiskey Gentry 3:17 Ike The Weeks Over Me Christina Cavazos Burn Out Right That One Eyed Kid 3:54 Harry Potter The Whistles & The Bells 3:20 God in Chicago Craig Finn 3:31 Blood Hunters Andrew Combs Keep the Home Fires Burnin’ Sarah Shook & The Disarmers 5:06 Copy and paste this code to your site to embed. 3:18 Embed Imogene Cory Branan 3:04 Liminal Tow’rs Potatoes and Whiskey Blackfoot Gypsies If Something Breaks Front Country Pretty Little Troubles Malcolm Holcombe Sticks & Stones Chris Shiflett 4:10 Joy Comes Back Ruthie Foster 4:56last_img read more

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LARGELY UNDISCOVERED…CLARKSVILLE

first_imgNeed a great place to get away from the hustle & bustle? Well we have plenty of room for you to relax plus you’ll find plenty to enchant you here in Clarksville, Virginia. We’re known for our fishing tournaments and beautiful lakeside views, but that’s just the surface appeal of this area. Dive a little deeper, and you’ll find things to do and see that will delight every member of the family, no matter their age or interests. Looking for romantic getaway, a family vacation, great events, historic sites, you will find all that here, what you won’t see is bumper to bumper traffic.Need a great place to get away from the hustle & bustle? Well we have plenty of room for you to relax plus you’ll find plenty to enchant you here in Clarksville, Virginia. We’re known for our fishing tournaments and beautiful lakeside views, but that’s just the surface appeal of this area. Dive a little deeper, and you’ll find things to do and see that will delight every member of the family, no matter their age or interests. Looking for romantic getaway, a family vacation, great events, historic sites, you will find all that here, what you won’t see is bumper to bumper traffic.  Nestled on Bugg’s Island Lake (KERR LAKE) our lake holds the Virginia state and world record for the largest blue catfish catch, weighing in at 143 pounds. Clarksville also has been the premier location for nighttime fishing from a bridge and currently Clarksville is the nation’s only bridge location for hydro glow lights.Many visitors here have decided to stay, making the area’s main city of Clarksville a growing center for business and technology. We think that once you’ve seen what we have to offer, you will stay too! Your next adventure-At the Heart of It All: Clarksville  last_img read more

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Trail Mix: Rain Perry

first_imgIncome streams are dwindling. Record sales aren’t what they used to be. The devaluation of music and what it’s now deemed to be worth is laughable to me. My single costs 99 cents. That’s what one cost in 1960. On my phone, I can get an app for 99 cents that makes fart noises – the same price as the thing I create and speak to the world with. Some would say the fart app is more important. It’s an awkward time. Creative brains are being sorely mistreated. Those words were spoken by Vince Gill in 2012 during an interview with The Boot, during which Gill offered opinions on a variety of concerns regarding the modern country music scene.Gill’s words immediately came to mind when I got word of Rain Perry’s documentary, The Shopkeeper, which chronicles the story of a record studio and cadre of independent musicians in Austin, Texas. First and foremost, first time movie make Perry is a musician, so the subject matter of the film – the often conflicting goals and needs of musicians versus those of the technology industry – hits particularly close to home for her. She has seen first hand the effects – both positive and negative – that the always evolving technological innovation can have on her life and livelihood.What began as a small idea evolved into a poignant and relevant documentary on the struggles of everyday musicians around the country.I recently caught up with Rain Perry about balancing technology with musical tradition, making the movie, and where she goes from here.BRO – What drew you to the story of Mark Hallman?RP – Mark is my own record producer. We’ve done three albums together. He and I were talkign about his plans to celebrate 30-plus years of his studio, Congress House, which evolved into the idea of filming the party. Somehow, that morphed into me making a documentary about him and his studio.BRO – Your biggest challenge as a first time movie maker?RP – Not being a movie maker! When the idea was brewing, I reached out to a talented filmmaker friend, Micah Van Hove, who had directed a music video for me and with whom I had a good working relationship. He became my director of photography and also my own personal film school. We made the movie as a crew of two, which worked very well for a film about a small recording studio. No lighting, no big crew. Just Michael and his shoulder-mounted camera and me asking questions. Also, I just watched a ton of documentaries and studied the best ones for structure and interviewing technique. It was definitely a “learn while you go” situation.BRO – How do you think we should balance the ever changing technological landscape with the real time effects it has on the working musician?RP – First of all, artists should educate themselves. Spotify and the rest of these online platforms have done a masterful job with two things that work against artists. First, they’ve taught a generation of music fans that they have a right to expect access to every song they want to hear and that paying for music is silly. Second, they’ve convinced musicians that they’ve got to be on Spotify to have a career these days. Musicians need to evaluate the pros and cons of allowing Spotify to profit from their work and make strategic decisions for their own careers. It doesn’t need to be a given that they have to make all their own work available for free (or nearly free) streaming.BRO – When you finished this project, would you describe yourself as more hopeful or more worried for the independent musician?RP – I would say I was more hopeful. Every time I would get to a dark place on the topic, Mark would force me to be more optimistic. He sees a lot of good in the current model, that because they don’t expect to profit, artists are freer to make the art they really want to make, instead of chasing a label deal.BRO – Now that you’ve completed your first film, what’s next?RP – It’s time to get busy writing songs for a new record. That and promoting the film and using it to spur conversations like the one we’re having right now.For more information on how to see The Shopkeeper, surf here. You can check it out at home or attend a community screening near you, and feel free to offer up a financial donation for the cause.last_img read more

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Tiny Home, Van, or RV?

first_imgWanderlust is shared by young dreamers and wise souls alike longing for simplicity and freedom. Whether you blame social media, millennials, HGTV, or the growing financial burdens of owning a home, mobile living is a growing movement. Here are the details to decide whether a tiny home, RV, or van is the right fit for you.AestheticsA tiny house offers more traditional features like roof shingles, kitchen counters, sink, and a bathroom—and perhaps most important, wall insulation. “Campers and vans just aren’t designed to handle cold temperatures well,” says tiny home dweller and kayaking guide Fletcher Reed. Vans typically give more of a dirtbag vibe. Regardless of the custom interior work (which can be really nice), it’s still hard to escape that ‘living in a van down by the river’ mentality.Travel ReadinessThis is where van life truly shines. Kate Tierney, who has been living in her van for over a year in classic climbing destinations like the New River Gorge, describes van life as “the freedom to go where I want, when I want.” With a van, you will have the most options when deciding where to park your home for the night, whether it be a campground, parking lot, or stealth camping on a neighborhood street. They are also the most capable when it comes to handling gravel, accessing trailheads, or maneuvering tight, curvy mountain roads. With a camper, or tiny home, there are tanks that need to be emptied, leveling stabilizers that need to be raised, and hitch connections established.CostGenerally speaking, a van will be the most affordable option, with many people converting cheap, high-mileage classics for less than $10,000. Tierney was able to purchase her van for only $5,500, adding less than $1,000 in additional upgrades (with the help of a carpenter friend) to create a home she would live in for more than a year. Campers and RVs will be next in affordability, with tiny homes requiring the largest investment.ComfortWhile van life gets you easily from place to place, it also forces you to sacrifice the most in regards to comfort. That sacrifice might be worth it, though, especially if your passion is your main focus. Corey Lilly, who lived in a van for over two years while chasing clean lines down snow and whitewater, felt that van life is “totally worth it if you have a passion for something. Otherwise it’s just kind of sad.”RegulationsTiny home regulations and ordinances are often a gray area. Many localities still have strict zoning and construction laws in place, like minimum square footage requirements, and accessory dwelling unit classifications, that may prohibit you from simply parking your tiny home on a nice piece of land. Whether typical building code standards affecting loft heights, stairs, and electrical outlets should also apply to tiny homes is a frequently contested topic. As tiny living becomes more popular, it is likely that many of these codes will be adjusted. Until then, however, it would be smart to research the codes in the area you plan to put your home.last_img read more

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Cherokee’s Outdoor Jackpot

first_imgCherokee, North Carolina, may very well be the next best mountain town, and you can thank Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for that.Harrah’s Cherokee Casino never sleepsThe 150,000-square-foot gaming venue is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When I wander in on an early Tuesday evening, there are already hundreds of people crowded around blackjack tables and posted up at the slots. I can’t decide if I’m overwhelmed or impressed.More than 1,000 machines are spread neatly beneath lighted glass structures that stretch from floor to ceiling. A two-story curtain of water falls from somewhere up above. Carpet cleaner and cigarette smoke hang heavy in the air. Waiters move through the crowds with trays full of drinks.As I weave in and out of the rows of machines beneath shifting shades of purple light, it becomes apparent that, at 27, I’m the youngest guest at the casino this evening. I’ve only been to a casino once before, so with little idea of where, or how, to start, I grab dinner instead.The Noodle Bar is packed. I find a lone seat at the bar between two couples, one of which promptly leaves. I order a glass of wine and an overpriced plate of lo mein drenched in soy sauce, feeling every bit a fish out of water, when an older gentleman takes a seat beside me.“I’ll have what she’s having,” he tells the waitress. “That looks light. I’m trying to watch my sodium.”He tells me his name is John Smith—“now you can say you’ve met a real-life one”—and he’s been driving from Knoxville, Tenn., to Harrah’s nearly every month since the casino opened back in 1995. There’s a youthful charm about him, despite the silver shock of hair that hangs low over his brow. He says his game of choice is blackjack, but the slot machines are fun, too.John doesn’t know much about Cherokee outside the walls of the casino. He never stays the night, even though the casino would comp his room (if that’s any indication of how often he frequents Harrah’s), and he only comes to town for the gaming. When I ask about his winningest trip to the casino, he gives me a blank stare.“Oh, I’ve never won anything. If I walk outta here only having lost $100, $150 bucks, that’s a pretty good night.”I down the rest of my drink to keep my jaw from hitting the floor. If I’ve done my shell-shocked math correctly, Mr. Smith has lost the equivalent of a year’s entry-level salary here.“Come on, I’ll show you around.”He leads me to a row of Game of Thrones-themed slot machines. After watching my $5 bet whittle away to nothing, it’s clear I don’t have the stomach for the gaming life. No matter. The casino is doing just fine without me.Last year, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino brought in over $300 million. The Harrah’s Cherokee location in particular has been the chain’s most profitable casino for over a decade, even before the 2009 referendum that allowed the casino to serve alcohol. That’s largely due to the fact that there are no Vegas-style casinos like Harrah’s Cherokee in the neighboring states of South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.The outdoor drama “Unto These Hills” has brought tourists to the Qualla Boundary since 1950.Initially, some of the 13,000-plus enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee who live on or near the Qualla Boundary were skeptical if not downright opposed to introducing gaming to the community. At the time, unemployment was at an all-time high. Drugs and crime were already rampant in the neighborhood, and tribal members worried that the presence of a casino would bring more organized crime to town.Then there was the issue of how to handle such a large influx of money. Many feared political corruption would sweep through the ranks of tribal leadership. Indeed, a few corruption scandals have plagued previous tribal chiefs.And yet, for all of the political challenges that have come as a direct or indirect result of the casino, it’s hard to ignore the benefits. Per the compact agreement decided by the state of North Carolina and Tribal Council, Harrah’s takes only three percent of its annual earnings. Half of the remaining amount is used for funding tribal programs, providing healthcare for every enrolled member, and covering the cost of college for each of its youth. The other half goes right back to Cherokee members in the form of twice-yearly per capita checks.When the casino first opened, those checks didn’t amount to much. Still, for a seasonal tourist town with a high percentage of families living below the poverty line, it was something. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Joey Owle remembers the first “per cap” check his family received back in 1996.“It was $595. I remember it was the first time I ever remember seeing a one hundred dollar bill,” says Owle. “That improved a lot of lives around here.”Now, 20 years later, Cherokee families are making as much as $12,000 a year from those per cap distributions. It’s not enough to rely on solely—16.2% of Swain County residents still live below the poverty line, which is 3.5% higher than the national average—but according to a longitudinal study conducted by Duke University, the added income is having extraordinary effects on the overall mental and physical wellbeing of Cherokee’s youth.Museum of the Cherokee Indian“The boost to the economy has such a ripple effect throughout the entire community,” says Cherokee Indian Hospital CEO Casey Cooper. “The tribe as a municipality not only has so many more resources now but the lives of individuals in my opinion are much improved because people have money, and because people have money, they have the ability to take care of those basic level needs at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy.”The hospital over which Cooper presides is one of the many examples of gaming money being channeled back into the Cherokee community in a big way. Casino funds helped build the $82 million facility, paid for a new $26 million wastewater treatment plant, covered the multimillion dollar cost of building a LEAD-certified k-12 school, and last year, paid for the boundary’s first open-to-the-public trail system at Fire Mountain.Opened in June 2017, the Fire Mountain Trail System was constructed with casino funds.Cherokee’s Outdoor Recreation EconomyThe trailhead to the 10.5-mile Fire Mountain trail system is tucked up on the hillside overlooking the Oconaluftee Indian Village. Opened just last summer in June of 2017, the trails look like they could have been cut in last week—even the trail kiosk still smells of fresh-cut wood and paint.The project, spearheaded by Tonya “Tinker” Jenks with the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, and Jeremy Hyatt, Secretary of Administration, took six years to bring from idea to fruition. Historically, the Cherokee have always catered to tourists—the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills,” which has been around since 1950, has long brought visitors to the Qualla Boundary—but the idea of focusing on something like mountain biking as an economic driver is altogether new to Cherokee.“When you’re not a gaming tribe, you have to be a resource tribe, but we have the best of both worlds,” says Joey Owle. “We could be doing a better job of managing our forests, and that’s where we’re getting to is looking at that vision of what we have, conserving it, preserving it, and making money off of it as well.”Owle is tall and slender with quarter-size gauges in both of his ears. He’s sharp, a quick talker who sometimes spills out so much information in one sentence that it’s hard to keep up. At 29 years old, Owle is one of the many Cherokee millennials who took that opportunity to receive a free college education, lived off of the boundary for a few years, but then came home to serve his tribe.As a kid, Owle used the footpaths and game trails here to get to his friends’ houses on other parts of the boundary. Cherokee still maintains those six communities—Big Cove, Birdtown, Paintown, Wolftown, Yellowhill, and Snowbird, which is located nearby in Graham County—but things are different now. The trails are largely overgrown, parents are less apt to let their children roam free, and once-large tracts of property have become fractionalized.“When you look at making a trail system now, you may be cutting across 30 or 40 different possessory holders’ lands, and that’s somebody’s private property. That’s trespassing,”That’s also one of the challenges of expanding any trail opportunities for the public, says Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Natural Resources Manager Mike LaVoie. If the tribe doesn’t have a large enough tract of land within the boundary, it would have to arrange for land easements from possessory holders or purchase the property outright. It’s not impossible, he says, but there’s a long way to go.Energy has already been building around the Fire Mountain trails. Later this month, the trail system will play host to the inaugural women’s only Dirty Maiden Enduro Series. It’ll be another few years before the full economic impact of the trail system can be realized, but if the tribe’s fishing tourism is any indication of the potential success, the future is looking good.Enrolled Tribal Member Michael Bradley taking advantage of the Cherokee’s pristine waterways.Launched back in the 1960s by what was then the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (now U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Cherokee’s trout program brings almost 50,000 anglers annually to the boundary. The program stocks more than 230,000 pounds of fish every year, which anglers can get a taste of for as little as $10 per day.Four years ago, the Natural Resources Department conducted an economic impact study on the fishing program and found that anglers brought in an average of $26 million annually, which makes trout fishing the second largest revenue generator for the Eastern Band of Cherokee after Harrah’s casino. Fishing tourism additionally supported upwards of 300 part-time and full-time jobs.“The fishing program has been a really great boon to tourism,” says LaVoie. “Fish and trout in general have been very important to Cherokee history and culture for centuries, but also economically to the tribe today. There’s a multiplier effect of eight for every dollar spent by folks who come here to fish.”With pristine headwaters protected by the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cherokee may very well have one of the best trout fisheries in the region. Over 30 miles of tribal waters are stocked on the boundary, with over 60 miles of headwater streams available to enrolled members only. The tribe also hosts annual casting tournaments like the Rumble in the Rhododendron, Casting for Hope, and the Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby.“I grew up fishing here in the Big Cove community,” says Fly Fish Cherokee owner and guide Michael Bradley. “I’ve been fishing forever. It’s great because you can fish all year here. I’ve caught a few fish that are 28 inches.”Bradley is only 27 years old, an enrolled member, and a man of very few words, but he’s making a big name not only for himself but for the entire Cherokee community. Bradley’s held a top 10 spot on Fly Fishing Team USA for the past year and a half and has traveled all over the country to compete in national events. When he’s not competing or organizing local fishing tournaments, he’s commercially guiding clients on Cherokee waters 300 days out of the year.Beer and Bike ShopsIt’s relevant businesses like Bradley’s fly fishing outfitter that Owle hopes to see more of in the years to come. Cherokee is arguably already ahead of the game compared to many parts of rural Appalachia looking to adopt an outdoor economy—the tribe retains its younger population, has a few key employers, offers ample lodging and restaurants (albeit fast food chains) and cultural activities, and sits right at the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. What the tribe really needs, says Owle, is to allow the sale of alcohol on the boundary.“As a young person, I want the opportunity to go to a local brewery or to go to a good restaurant and get a good beer,” he says. “What we have is this older generation which, I understand, believes alcohol has had a tremendously negative impact on native communities. Well, that’s true for a lot of places, not just native communities.”“We don’t charge anything to use our trails, so people all over the Southeast are hearing about our amazing trail system, they’re coming here, they’re riding it, and then they’re going to Bryson City to have a beer,” says Principal Chief Richard Sneed. “We’re going to have to have alcohol sales. We’ve got to keep them here to spend their money.”This year, the tribe will vote on an alcohol referendum. Both Owle and Chief Sneed agree that there seems to be a growing acceptance of alcohol among tribal members, even those who are personally opposed to drinking. Given the community’s proximity to Beer City, U.S.A., aka Asheville, N.C., the tribe’s adoption of alcohol is only a matter of time.Until then, Cherokee has plenty to celebrate. Next month, Motion Makers Bicycle Shop and Outdoor 76 will open the first outdoor outfitter on the boundary. The joint establishment, which will be located in a yellow house at the edge of town, will feature an open design with Motion Makers on the first floor and Outdoor 76 on the second floor.For Motion Makers owner Kent Crandall, the partnership is the perfect fit. Crandall says he had always wanted to open up a location in Cherokee, but hadn’t been actively pursuing it until the daughter of a landlord reached out to him specifically because her father wanted an outdoor business in his retail space.Looking up from the Oconaluftee River Trail. Photo: SmokyMountains.com“We knew this would be a real opportunity,” says Cranford. “Our shop is right at the beginning, literally, of the Oconaluftee River Trail. There’s already a community of people here who we know are getting more active and already utilizing our Sylva store as their access point for bikes. To have the opportunity to come into a community that is clearly opening its arms to the outdoors but doesn’t have all of the resources, it’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”The Cherokee location of Motion Makers will be the store’s third site and will offer the company’s largest rental fleet yet, including cruisers, mountain bikes, and even e-bikes, which are allowed on Fire Mountain’s trails. It certainly feels like fortuitous timing, for Cherokee, for Cranford, and for Outdoor 76 co-owners Cory McCall and Rob Gasbarro.“It’s an untapped market,” says McCall. “There are 12 million people a year visiting the Smokies. As a whole, we want to service those people visiting, but also the community of Cherokee. We love our town of Franklin to death, but we’re excited to open another location and gain the trust of this new community. Community involvement is ingrained in our business, and we want to be able to translate that here.”Finally, it seems Cherokee is opening its eyes to the golden egg it’s been sitting on for hundreds of years. While the casino has certainly helped put Cherokee on the map, El Camino Motel owner Lambert Wilson is grateful to see the tribe’s priorities shifting.“Gambling is so lucrative and they make so much money, but the tribe has realized that you can’t put your eggs in one basket. You’ve got to diversify.”last_img read more

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The Tree Sitters: Activists Have Halted Pipeline Construction

first_imgThe first went up in late February, when protesters began sitting in trees near the Appalachian Trail on the West Virginia side of Peters Mountain, in Jefferson National Forest. A month later, several miles away, pipeline opponents raised a monopod atop a fallen tree and tied it to a gate on the Virginia side to block an access road to a pipeline construction site. All three of those actions took place on National Forest land, and they were erected to slow down or stop the company’s plans to bore a hole through the mountain, beneath the federally protected trail.Inspired by the tree sits on Peters Mountain, Red and Minor went up into their respective stands on April 2. Later that month, on the same day I visited Red, another three protesters took to the trees in Franklin County, Virginia, on a farm owned by a couple who have fought the pipeline’s attempts to take portions of her land through eminent domain.Law enforcement blocked access to the monopod on the National Forest road, as well as to Red and Minor’s tree sits on Bent Mountain. Tensions escalated through April. On Sunday the 22nd, two people were arrested after one tried to deliver supplies to the woman living in the monopod. The same day, one of the Peters Mountain tree-sitters voluntarily came down, and the structure was quickly dismantled by pipeline officialsThe tree sits have drawn growing media attention, rallying public support even as opponents fight a parallel battle in the courts and regulatory agencies to stall or stop the pipeline. After a Washington Post story on Red noted that her supporters had been blocked from giving her food and water, Roanoke County police said that once Red and Minor had requested food, it was given to them. Police have given them sandwiches and fruit since then.Stephanie Stallings is arrested and charged with interfering with property rights when she would not move farther away from the limits of disturbance of the Mountain Valley pipeline construction. Photo by Will Solis Snow falls on Red Terry in her tree-sit on Bent Mountain, Virginia. The tree sit was built thirty feet off the ground between two trees to prevent the Mountain Valley Pipeline from being constructed through her property. Photo by Will Solis You can find Red by the campfire smoke and bright yellow crime-scene tape.Red is a 61-year-old Virginia mountain woman who since April 2 has been living in a tree inside the white-and-blue-taped corridor marked out for the interstate Mountain Valley Pipeline. She and her 30-year-old daughter Minor, who is stationed in another tree not far away, are defending their land against what they see as a looming environmental catastrophe.To get to Red’s tree sit, you’ve got to cross wooden boards that cross Bottom Creek numerous times. Water flows all around you, supporting wetland vegetation like skunk cabbage across the property, where the Terry family has lived for seven generations.A judge ruled on Jan. 31, however, that the company may use eminent domain to take land along the pipeline’s 303-mile route from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. After Red took to the trees, Roanoke County blocked supporters from giving her supplies, and it provided law enforcement officers to supplement MVP’s security guards. The first person I saw at the camp, in fact, was a camouflage-clad guard whose path through the woods helped me figure out where the bridges were.On the morning I visited, at the end of her third week amid the treetops, Red was trying to warm up from below-freezing temperatures the night before. She was a little grumpy after running out of cigarettes, but was as fiery as her nickname suggests.“MVP has not only bought a lot of politicians and our judge, but also our police force,” Red said. “MVP is allowed to tell our cops what to do and what not to do. I don’t think a cop who was allowed to think on their own would have denied me the cigarettes that are down there, and my BC Powders [for headaches] are down there. They’re not allowed to bring me anything up here. I think that it sounds a lot like Hitler and his army, only let’s substitute MVP. MVD is what I like to call them—Mountain Valley Dicks—because they are really screwing with everybody’s property, everybody’s faith, everybody’s water.”Red and her daughter sit to delay the pipeline. To hopefully block it. To protect their land and Bottom Creek, an important stream that flows first into a Nature Conservancy preserve, where it forms a stair-step series of waterfalls known as “The Kettles,” before eventually flowing into the South Fork of the Roanoke River.Red and Minor Terry are two of at least eight people who have taken to the trees to protest construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is intended to move natural gas from the fracking fields of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in northern West Virginia, eastward across the Blue Ridge Mountains, and ultimately to East Coast consumers, and perhaps shipment overseas to foreign markets. Both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, its sibling which runs a similar route a couple of hours to the north, were proposed in 2014 and have in recent months received approvals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other state and federal environmental and land management agencies.With contractors cutting trees and preparing to dig trenches for the 42-inch-diameter pipes, opponents are closely monitoring the process, but a handful of individuals like Red and Minor are taking more direct action by placing themselves in the pipeline’s path. Besides the mother and daughter, who are camped on family land in Bent Mountain, protesters have taken to trees at three other locations.Roanoke County Police and Virginia State Police stand in a roped off area around Red Terry’s tree-sit, preventing supporters from giving her food, water, and supplies. Photo by Will Solis Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, wrote in an email that the company is committed to “responsible construction” of the pipeline. “We respect opponents’ right to peacefully and lawfully protest. At the same time, however, it is important to note that all work for the MVP project has been authorized by federal and state agencies, and the Virginia DEQ has imposed on MVP the most stringent oversight of a natural gas pipeline project in the department’s history,” Cox wrote.The stand-off on Bent Mountain has become the focal point for media attention, in part because the other tree-sitters remain anonymous. The monopod sitter is known as “Nutty,” but otherwise she has not been identified. Appalachians Against Pipelines declined to respond to questions about the tree-sitters on Peters Mountain, but did direct me to a Facebook post that was written by a tree-sitter and includes this statement: “Each of us in this fight, in a tree or a monopod, or on the ground have our reasons. For me, it’s because Appalachia is my home. The coal industry has already taken from my family and caused pain and grief and resentment that will never go away. I know the MVP will impact families here in Monroe County and other Appalachian communities along its route in similar ways.”Fundraising for Appalachians Against Pipelines is being handled by  Rising Tide North America, a grassroots network of groups and individuals who have taken direct action against projects across the world, including in the Philippines and on the Gulf Coast. The Franklin County tree sitters are protesting on a farm owned by Carolyn and Ian Reilly, but their fundraising efforts are linked to Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, an environmental stewardship group.Red and Minor might have remained pseudonymous but for the fact they are taking their stand on family land, as well as arrest warrants filed by Roanoke County. Their tree stands are easily accessible from the road, so supporters have flocked  from the Roanoke and New River valleys to gather near Red’s tree stand, stay overnight and broadcast dispatches about the situation across social media, especially Facebook.Tree cutters for the Mountain Valley Pipeline cut a swath on the slopes of Poor Mountain in Bent Mountain, Virginia. Photo by Will Solis I could see the appeal during my visit. Camping creates camaraderie, which combined with the righteousness of the cause and the touch of danger from proximity to law enforcement and private security has forged an iron coalition under the banner #StandWithRed. One activist often on site told me the camp even received a recent visit from a local 3 PercenterOn my visit, I spoke to Trish McLawhorn, a Radford woman who has been a regular visitor to the encampment. She has brought her 7-year-old daughter to the site, and they played in the woods and in Bottom Creek, creating an additional connection to the land and the waters that flow through it.“I’ve been telling her about this as it develops,” McLawhorn said. “At first she was sad because the police were here. She wanted to come back and play in the trees and in her fort, and she might not get to do that. Now she just tells me she thinks it’s so great and so brave and courageous, and, ‘When I grow up one day, I might sit in a tree to protect my land.’McLawhorn looked up at Red’s tree stand.“I can’t think of a better legacy for my daughter to watch,” she said. “This may look a little radical to other 61-year-olds, and it is, but I believe that radical is where we are. It’s where we’re living these days.”What you can do to helpThe fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have been going on since both projects were announced in 2014.It’s possible that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality may re-open a comment period to evaluate the pipeline’s impact on individual waterways, but most of the public comment period has passed.Even so, many of the pipeline’s opponents have urged their allies to contact elected officials, both in Congress and state legislatures, but especially Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, in hopes that he may push the DEQ to take more public comment and make a new recommendation regarding the pipeline.Different groups also are training volunteers to monitor construction and post-construction activities along the pipeline route. Trout Unlimited has trained more than 1,000 volunteers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia to take water quality samples.“Before any of the stuff gets built, we want to create a baseline, so that as these things are built, we’re able to document if things are happening to water quality,” said David Kinney, eastern policy director for Trout Unlimited. “We can report them to the agencies and get the issues dealt with, and also have this long-term data source.”Trout Unlimited is offering more webinars this spring to prepare volunteers ahead of pipeline construction.Another group, Mountain Valley Watch, is also training for monitoring efforts.“We want to take what seems like an overwhelming scientific project and make it accessible to real people, whether landowners or someone like me, a volunteer just wanting to go out and make sure things aren’t going haywire,” said Russell Chisholm of Newport, Virginia.Sgt. Pascoe of the Roanoke County Police Department tells a group of supporters around Red Terry’s tree-sit that they have to move further back so tree cutters for Mountain Valley Pipeline can continue to cut a path for the pipeline. Photo by Will Solislast_img read more

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Rockets Over Cumberland? Hikers and Homeowners Endangered By Private Launch Pad Proposal

first_img In the history of U.S. space flight, neither NASA nor the FAA have permitted a vertical launch over private homes or people directly downrange. The risk to people and property from an exploding rocket is too great. But that may soon change if a private launch facility across from Georgia’s Cumberland Island National Seashore is approved.Cumberland and Little Cumberland Islands have just become the first communities in America to be directly downrange from a vertical launch spaceport awaiting license approval from the FAA. Hikers and campers on Cumberland Island National Seashore would be endangered by the proposed launch site, and more than sixty private homes lie in the path of rockets that Camden County commissioners hope someday to launch.On January 29, the Camden County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners filed an application to launch commercial/non-federal rockets over the Cumberland Island National Seashore and Little Cumberland Island. Camden County’s proposal to launch vertical rockets over people and their homes is without precedent in the United States.According to the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed spaceport, rocket failures are reasonably expected to occur every 18 months (a 6 percent stated failure rate with 12 proposed launches each year). It will only take one rocket failure to completely destroy Little Cumberland Island and the northern end of Cumberland Island.“What other national park or neighborhood in America faces the prospect of destruction every 1.5 years as a result of the actions of its own local government?” asks Rebecca Lang, a resident of Little Cumberland Island.Aerospace Corp. was engaged to analyze the risks associated with launching rockets from the proposed site, but Camden County has refused to make the results of the analysis public.Little Cumberland Island Homes Association, Inc., the Southern Environmental Law Center, and other groups and individuals have submitted Georgia Open Records Act requests for public disclosure of the risk analysis for the proposed spaceport. Camden County denied the requests, relying on an inapplicable exception to Open Records Act. This risk analysis contains impact dispersion diagrams of debris fields from rocket explosions all over the National Seashore and the homes of its residents.Little Cumberland Island is within the boundaries of the Cumberland Island National Seashore and is home to the longest running Loggerhead Sea Turtle Research program in the world. The Little Cumberland Lighthouse was built in 1838 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Cumberland Island National Seashore attracts 50,000 hikers and campers each year and is a United Nations Global Biosphere Reserve.For more information on the threats that Spaceport Camden poses to Cumberland Island National Seashore, visit ProtectCumberlandIsland.org.last_img read more

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United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Considers Brazil A World Leader in Clean Energy

first_imgBy Dialogo June 05, 2009 Toronto (Canada), 03 June (EFE). – A report on investments in clean energy, released today by the UNEP Program, classifies Brazil as “the largest world market in renewable energy” and highlights the steps taken by Latin America to support alternative sources. The “Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment” report affirms that, for the first time in history, investments in clean energy in 2008 were ahead of those made in sources of fossil fuels, and that they reached 155 billion dollars. The section dedicated to Latin America indicates that Brazil is the “the largest world market in renewable energy.” UNEP said that around 46 percent of the energy consumed by the country comes from renewable sources and 85 percent of the capacity to generate it comes from hydroelectric and bioethanol energy. Also, around 90 percent of their new cars are fueled with ethanol as well as with gasoline (which is mixed with at least 25 percent ethanol). At the end of 2008, ethanol comprised more than 52 percent of the fuel consumed by lightweight vehicles. Brazil is one of the world leaders in financing renewable energy. In 2008, the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) financed more renewable energy projects than any other financial institution in the world. The report highlights that although Brazil represents more than 90 percent of the new investments in Latin America, Chile, Peru and Mexico, it is increasing its institutional support for clean energy. Chile recently approved a law concerning renewable energy that required electric companies which produce more than 200 megawatts to generate at least 10 percent from renewable sources. Since 2008, Peru has required that at least 5 percent of the electricity produced in the country over the next five years must come from renewable sources, for which it established a series of tax incentives. Mexico has as an objective that, by the year 2012, 8 percent of its energy consumption will come from renewable sources, although it is hoped that by the end of June that Mexican authorities will increase this figure to 16 percent.last_img read more

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Uruguay Is “On Top” In Software Technology, EU Ambassador Says

first_imgBy Dialogo November 10, 2009 Uruguay has a level of development in the software industry that puts it “on top” in the region as far as “value and volume of exports” and also in “quality and innovation,” the head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Uruguay and Paraguay, Geoffrey Barrett, said. Barrett so expressed himself at the inauguration of the Software Testing Center (CES), a project for technology evaluation in which the EU has invested one million “non-reimbursable and non-debt-generating” euros. From 2004 through 2008 the EU participated in this pioneer industry in Uruguay through the Enlaces project, through which the EU contributed another million euros and which left “the EU highly satisfied,” according to the community representative. That previous project “succeeded in bringing a measure of order to the dizzying growth of the software industry” and was the reason for the creation of INNOVA, the project that the European block is financing and the National Agency for Research and Innovation is administering, Barrett added. The community representative indicated that Uruguay doubled its software exports in less than a decade and that foreign sales were around 220 million dollars in 2008, adding at the same time that “it’s not crazy” to think that this figure might exceed 400 million dollars in 2010. “The appropriate decisions were taken at the right time, and valuable personnel were brought in from abroad, who trained very capable people in this country, and they in their turn left and came back with new knowledge,” Barrett recalled that a businessman in the sector explained to him shortly after his arrival in Montevideo. The CES is a consortium made up of the Uruguayan Information Technology Chamber (Cuti), the Computer Science Institute of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of the Republic, and the Julio Ricaldoni Foundation. Cuti’s president, Alvaro Lamé, emphasized to EFE that Uruguay is the “third-ranking Latin American country in per-capita software exports.” Lamé explained that the center will be dedicated to “consulting about testing, independent testing, and training,” which entails a “mechanism for evaluation and improvement.” The convergence between industry and the academy in the CES will attempt to “contribute quality, value, and productivity to businesses in order to achieve improved positioning and profits in the sector,” in Lamé’s judgment.last_img read more

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