N.C. State Park Promotion: ‘The Hunger Games’

September 4, 2013 by · Comments Off on N.C. State Park Promotion: ‘The Hunger Games’ 

Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.” Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

In anticipation of the Nov. 22 release of the sequel, “Catching Fire,” Chimney Rock will screen “The Hunger Games” on Saturday (Sept. 7) on the giant, 35-foot, outdoor screen at Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina’s Rutherford County, the Ashville Citizen-Times reported.

The gate opens at 7 p.m. for the movie on the Meadows starting at 8 p.m., presented by Ingles Markets. Fans can come early with paid park admission for afternoon movie-themed adventures offered by the Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours. The first in the movie trilogy was filmed at locations in Western North Carolina, including Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest.

“For some of the millions of Hunger Games fans throughout the U.S., watching their favorite flick on a huge outdoor screen in Chimney Rock’s beautiful forested park could make them feel like they’re a part of the movie,” said Matt Popowski, PR & Events Manager, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.

“Add to that the archery, costumes and likenesses of their favorite characters, and these fans will be dying to experience the film here ahead of the sequel’s release.”

Experience part of “the Games” at Chimney Rock by shooting a bow with Archery Tag foam tipped arrows, posing in movie costumes with props and getting your photo taken with likenesses of your favorite characters. These will be provided by the Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours for no additional charge during the afternoon on Sept. 7.

Activities require paid park admission, and then guests are welcome to stay in the park to enjoy the movie at no additional cost.

Attendees can get cool schwag or win gift cards in promotional giveaways from event sponsors Ingles Markets, Mast General Store, Element Advertising and Southern Outdoor Cinema, and other community partners.

Advance $9 movie parking tickets are on sale through Friday Sept. 6 only at the Lake Lure Ingles. On Saturday, parking at the gate is $12 per car. Park admission not included with event parking.

For more information, visit

Feds Eye Key Tract in Carolina Mountain Country

April 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on Feds Eye Key Tract in Carolina Mountain Country 

A 76-acre tract in Mills River, N.C., near Pisgah National Forest is one of four properties the U.S. Forest Service is considering purchasing after receiving $1 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“Overall, all of these tracts help protect some real threatened treasures,” said Stevin Westcott, public affairs officer for the USDA Forest Service. “They’re all high priority.”

According to the Hendersonville Times-News, the money was given to protect the North Carolina Threatened Treasures, all adjacent to Pisgah National Forest, including the Mills River land near North Mills River Campground, Backbone Ridge and Mulberry Creek in Caldwell County and Roan Mountain National Trails.

Westcott said the Forest Service has significant resources needed to protect areas from climate change or to improve access to national forests.

“We have a lot of priority sites,” he added. “These are among the top priorities.”

The Mills River site will cost $2.75 million. Westcott said the properties must have willing sellers who will be paid the land’s appraised value. Backbone Ridge is 225 acres valued at $1.5 million; Mulberry Creek’s 295 acres are valued at $1.038 million; and Roan Mountain National Trails is 136 acres valued at $1.2 million.

The Mills River area is known as a “high-quality, delayed-harvest trout stream,” Westcott said. There are popular trails for hikers and mountain bikers.

The river serves as a water source for thousands of people, Westcott said. He added that immediately downstream from North Mills River is an endangered mussel, known as the Appalachian elktoe. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy officials are working with the landowner to bring the area under conservation.

Flash Flood Fears Close Some Sites at N.C. Campground

April 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on Flash Flood Fears Close Some Sites at N.C. Campground 

Entrance to Mortimer Campground in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina.

The U.S. Forest Service announced on Thursday (April 5) that 12 sites in the lower portion of Mortimer Campground located in the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina will remain closed indefinitely because of the risks that potential flash flooding poses to public safety.

Eleven other sites at the campground will remain open. The campground is scheduled to open for the 2012 season on Saturday, according to a news release.

“It is well known that the Mortimer area has a long history of flooding. In fact, the flood of 1940 leveled the town of Mortimer,” said John Crockett, Grandfather District ranger. “I, along with other Forest Service officials, recently reassessed the situation and conducted an on-site review of the Mortimer area. We cannot ignore the risks associated with continuing to offer these 12 campsites for overnight use.”

In 1940, rising waters from Wilson Creek destroyed the town of Mortimer. Most residents left the town after the natural disaster, and Mortimer became a ghost town. Today, remnants of some of the buildings destroyed during the flood still stand as reminders of the devastating weather event. The town was also flooded 24 years earlier.

It is also important to note that the Wilson Creek corridor, a major access to Mortimer Campground, has had a history of recent flooding with several swift-water rescues for campers and residents along the Brown Mountain Beach Road.

Mortimer Campground is located along Thorpe Creek and near Wilson Creek. The campground includes 23 sites, a picnic pavilion, showers and bathrooms. About 800 people stay at the campground annually.

“I cannot, in good conscience, continue to allow visitors to stay in the lower portion of Mortimer Campground knowing that it’s just a matter of time before another major flood hits the area,” said Crockett. “I realize a lot of people enjoy the area each year, and it’s not an easy thing to do. But the right thing to do in this case is to protect the public by closing this lower camping area.”

The Forest Service plans to remove the picnic tables and other developed features from Sites 1-11 and from one of the walk-in sites. Three walk-in campsites near the picnic pavilion, and sites 12-19, will be open on a first come, first-served basis this season.

While some risk is inherent in any outdoor activity, the rapid and unpredictable nature of flash flooding makes it particularly difficult for campers to safely escape the danger — especially since many flash floods occur after late afternoon rain storms.

The National Weather Service describes a flash flood as a rapid rise of water in a low-lying area, usually caused by an intense storm that produces heavy rainfall in a short amount of time. Rising flood waters can carry a velocity strong enough to roll boulders and vehicles, tear out trees, destroy bridges and undermine roads. A low-lying area can become extremely dangerous in a matter of minutes.

Flood awareness can be especially critical for campers. A flash flood can happen at a moment’s notice, any time of the day and any time of the year. It is nearly impossible to see the water depths and the force of the current when a flash flood happens at night.Read the full article

Bear Threat Closes 4 More North Carolina Sites

August 15, 2011 by · Comments Off on Bear Threat Closes 4 More North Carolina Sites 

The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina have announced the closure of four more sites in the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest because of human encounters with bears over the past couple days, the Carolina Public Press reported.

Effective immediately, the following sites are closed until Aug. 29, pending a reduction in bear activity:

  • Briar Bottom Campground.
  • Black Mountain Campground.
  • Forest Service Road 472 (no entry, including hiking and camping).
  • Neals Creek Road.

A number of bear encounters have been reported this week in Yancey County. To ensure public safety, the Forest Service decided to close certain sites. The Aug. 12 announcement follows the Aug. 10 closure of four trails in the Appalachian Ranger District because of increased bear activity. The Aug. 10 closure included the following sites, which are now also closed until Aug. 29: