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Outdoors

  • State park trails closed after bear encounter

    WHITETOP — The trail systems at Grayson Highlands State Park were closed June 16 after an encounter between a black bear and an untethered dog resulted in non life-threatening injuries to the dog’s owner.

    According to Jim Meisner, public relations specialist for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the incident occurred at 8 a.m. that day. He said a woman was walking along Cabin Creek Trail and the Horse Trail Connector to Massie Gap with her dog.

  • Grayson to connect falls with rec park

    INDEPENDENCE ― Land recently purchased by Grayson County will connect the waterfall property on Powerhouse Road, a popular stop for tourists and locals in Independence, to the Grayson County Recreational Park.

    According to a recent announcement, the county bought around 11 acres of land in Independence, which previously separated the falls from the recreational park, from a private landowner for $160,000.

  • SWVA's $1 billion tourism industry

    Staff Report

    A 56 percent increase in tourism spending in Southwest Virginia since 2004 is highlighted in new report by the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Friends of Southwest Virginia.

    The annual report for 2017 outlines the regional economic impact of the tourism economy and spotlights economic, community and tourism development initiatives, regional marketing and branding.

  • River access closed at Byllesby Dam

    Staff Report

    Appalachian Power will close access to the New River at Byllesby Dam in Carroll County to allow for completion of construction work.

    According to a release from John Shepelwich, media contact for Appalachian Power, the Byllesby portage and public boat ramp on the New River will be closed effective immediately. The closure began on July 19.

  • Rally brings nature lovers to Mount Rogers

    The 42nd annual Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally, hosted by the Blue Ridge Discovery Center (BRDC), will be held May 6-8 (Friday through Sunday) this year.

    This annual event is a tradition that dates back to 1975, bringing together like-minded nature lovers throughout the region. This year’s rally will highlight the 50th anniversary of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

  • Mount Rogers Recreation Area celebrates 50 years

    For 50 years, the USDA Forest Service’s Mount Rogers National Recreation Area has been providing recreation experiences for visitors to southwest Virginia.

    May 31, 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and District Ranger Beth Merz is proud to be a part of the celebration. “My staff and many of our partners are hosting activities throughout the year with special celebrations and presentations, from Memorial Day weekend thru the first weekend of June.”

  • State park celebrates golden anniversary

    On July 11, Grayson Highlands celebrated the 50th anniversary of being open to the public since its establishment in 1965.

    There were more than 1,300 visitors in attendance, many of whom were locals, but some came from as far away as Germany, according to a Virginia State Parks news release.

  • Forest service pauses Mount Rogers trail realignment

    The USDA Forest Service is stepping back from trail realignment efforts in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Grayson, Carroll, Smyth and Wythe counties.

    “We realize we must do a better job of engaging our trail users on this project,” said Area Ranger Beth Merz.

  • Grayson Highlands celebrates 50 years

    MOUTH OF WILSON - Grayson Highlands State Park has become well known for its gorgeous scenic views, rigorous trails and unique outdoor programs over the past 50 years. And the best part is, this is just the beginning of what park officials and supporters of the landmark have in store for their visitors.

  • After a century, bald eagles soar again

    WITH VIDEO

    Submitted by Scott Jackson-Ricketts, Blue Ridge Discovery Center

    You’re out weeding your garden, perhaps hiking the New River Trail, or just driving along a country road when suddenly you spy a raptor overhead, stretched out like a board, a nine-and-a-half-pound bird with a wingspan of 80 inches, its white head and tail sealing the identification, a graceful marriage of bird and sky.

    Take another look if you can, and savor the moment.