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Today’s Email Announcements

1) Tourism Resource Training for Local Businesses on Aug. 27

Visit North Carolina’s Tourism Resource Assistance Center (TRAC), a community-based training program designed to help small tourism-related businesses, will be here Thursday, August 27th from 10 am – 2 pm at the American Legion Building.

TRAC offers the chance to talk one-on-one with program managers. Tourism-related businesses in Watauga County and the surrounding counties and the region will have an opportunity to work with Visit North Carolina staff to learn about its research, development and marketing services, and discuss best practices in reaching travelers, the media and increasing tourism visitation and spending.

TRAC brings Visit North Carolina’s program managers to local communities to discuss the nuts and bolts of working with the organization.  This invaluable program is designed to help tourism-related business engage more fully with programs offered by Visit North Carolina and its partners.  There is no charge to attend, no PowerPoint or formal presentations and no reservation is required.  Tourism-related businesses are encouraged to come when they can between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm and stay as long as they’d like.

Representatives from the EDPNC BLNC, N.C. Departments of Commerce, Cultural Resources, and Environment and Natural Resources, and NC Green Travel program will also be on hand to discuss services they can provide businesses including strategic planning, assisting with identifying resources, and serving as liaisons with other local, state and federal agencies.  For additional information on this session, to schedule a specific appointment time – although an appointment isn’t necessary – contact Andre Nabors at 919-447-7771 or Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority Execution Director Tracy Brown at 828-295-4636.

2) August Programs at Elk Knob State Park

Trail Work Days

Every Saturday beginning April 4 and running through the middle of November (except September 12), staff and volunteers will meet at the Summit Trailhead at 9 a.m. and work until approximately 3:00 p.m., weather permitting. Tools are provided, but volunteers should wear close-toed shoes and bring work gloves, lunch and water. Most of the time will be spent on repair work on the Summit Trail or completing the Maple Run Trail. If you would like to be involved in a fulfilling project that will fill you with a well-deserved sense of pride, then join us on Saturdays at Elk Knob State Park. For more information, please call 828-297-7261.

Black Bears

Come learn about the black bears of the Appalachian Mountains and how to stay safe while you’re out hiking. Meet at the trailhead parking lot Saturday, August 1 at 2 pm.


Come learn about the fascinating world of mushrooms as we have an indoor learning experience, followed by a mushroom hike with fungi guru, Julie Mullis. Meet at the park office Sunday, August 9 at 2:00 pm.

Edible/Medicinal Plants of Elk Knob

Have you ever wondered whether the plants you see are poisonous or if they had healing properties? Come see the numerous wildflowers in bloom and learn about how they have been used by humans. Meet at the park office Saturday, August 22 at 2:00 pm.

Salamander Night Hike

Let’s get out in the woods and look for some salamanders. Join a park ranger as we wander around looking for these nocturnal amphibians. What makes them different from reptiles like lizards? Join us to find out. Be sure to bring a flashlight. Meet at the park office Saturday, August 29 at 8:00 pm.

Summer Tree ID

Learn basic tree identification skills and a few interesting facts about the trees of Elk Knob State Park. Hike will be on Beech Tree Trail Sunday, August 30 at 2:00 pm.

3) Pack the Canoe

Calling all Beech Mountain residents and guests! Summer is on the way out and school is just around the corner. In efforts to support our local community, the Buckeye Recreation Center and the Beech Mountain Chamber are teaming up to “Pack the Canoe” by gathering school supplies and any other donations for the families and children in need within the Avery County School System. Items needed between Aug. 1-31 include pens, pencils, erasers, pocket folders, scissors, kleenex, lunch boxes, paper, crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue, backpacks and clothes. Cash donations are accepted and will be used to buy materials. Donations can be dropped off at the Buckeye Recreation Center. Call 828-387-3003 for more information.