Lake Toxaway Documentary, Theme Hikes Highlight Gorges Gratitude Day
TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. Memorable events of the past and special hikes on a variety of topics will provide ample opportunities for people attending Saturday’s, May 19, special event at Gorges State Park. Park staff and volunteers will provide a day of family fun in return for the tremendous support that has been provided by the community and area businesses since the parks beginning.
“Without the support of the community none of this could have happened”, stated Steve Pagano, park superintendent who has been at the park since its inception in 1999.
John Nichols, a former county resident who is making a documentary film about Lake Toxaway and the dam collapse of 1916, will share with participants his plans to tell the story of the creation of Lake Toxaway, the dam collapse of 1916, and the dam’s restoration in the 1960s. The resulting flood from the dam break is a significant event in the park’s history because the floodwaters that raced down the Toxaway River changed the landscape significantly. His keynote presentation set for 1 p.m. at the White Pines Picnic Shelter will include a slide show presentation and never before seen 3D computer architectural images of the original Toxaway Inn based on blueprints that date back to 1902. Also included will be a 10 minute trailer on the film production.
Park Staff are hopeful that Lake Toxaway residents will turn out for the event to learn more about the history of the area and possibly contribute additional unknown information. Contributors to the production include 90-year-old Dick Jennings of Asheville whose family once owned the property where the inn was located along with much of the land that now is Gorges State Park.
Todd Arcos, who is a wildlife photographer and nature tours provider, will lead a bird photo hike at 9 a.m. from Clyde Chappell Field. Participants should bring cameras, binoculars, and/or notepad for a walk that will provide useful insights as to capturing photo images of some of the most elusive photographic subjects on Earth.
Jennifer Frick-Ruppert is leader of the Appalachian Center for Environmental Education and an Environmental Studies professor at Brevard College and author of the book “Mountain Nature: A Seasonal History of the Southern Appalachians.” She will lead a hike entitled “Mountain Nature” from the Bearwallow trailhead and picnic area at 11 a.m.
Long time resident and environmental educator Gaye Owen will present a hike on the topic of black bears. The facts and myths concerning black bears will be explored along with the foods they eat and signs of their passing, such as tracks.
Rick Wooten, a senior geologist with the N.C. Geologic Survey has spent countless hours in Gorges State Park on various projects and teaching engagements. He has produced maps and documents on the park. He will offer a hike and geological exploration down to Upper Bearwallow Falls leaving the Bearwallow Trailhead and picnic area at 3 p.m.
The day’s events will begin with a choice of two running/walking events that are 4.5 and 2.5 miles in length and will take place on the parks new roads and trails. The event is limited to the first 100 entries with online registration at http://www.active.com/running/sapphire-nc/gorges-road-and-trail-run-45mile-and-25-mile-options-2012.
Over the course of the day there will be special presentations and hikes on a variety of topics, live music provided by Sliding Rockers, food, and hayrides. There will be no entrance fee or charge for the special presentations or hayrides. Community organizations will provide food and beverages and will accept donations to support their missions.
Volunteer assistance is needed for the event. Volunteers are encouraged to contact the park office at their earliest convenience to register with the volunteer coordinator. Further details on the event can be obtained by calling the park office at (828) 966-9099.