Thursday, January 08, 2009

Quick hits: The Smokies are one of 29 'Places to Go' in '09, and the Coastal Federation nears its goal

29 Places to Go in 2009
"The most visited national park in the U.S., the Great Smoky Mountains (a western segment of the high Appalachians) boast over 500,000 acres of pristine forest and diverse wildlife that includes foxes, deer, elk and some 1,500 resident black bears," says ShermansTravel. "Nestled between North Carolina and Tennessee, park visitors have access to 800 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails; scenic campsites; historic cabin museums that serve to recount pioneer history; and popular auto-tour loops, like those along Cades Cove — all of which are shrouded in the misty-blue haze that gave name to 'The Smokies.'

"Why go in 2009: With American travelers forecasted to plan more trips to national parks this year, the Great Smoky Mountains offer one of the country’s most cost-efficient vacations in the great outdoors. Admission to the park is always completely free, and as this year marks the 75th anniversary of its founding (, many additional complimentary activities are planned, including musical performances and special ranger-led programs. ..."

Coastal Federation nears its $3 million goal
"A $3 million goal is within reach as the North Carolina Coastal Federation wraps up a two-year capital campaign to help the organization increase staff and expand programs along the coast," says the Jacksonville Daily News.

"The Turning the Tide: Friends of the Coast Campaign will come to a close at the end of January. As of Dec. 29, a little more than $2.9 million had been raised.

" 'We still have one month to go and a little bit more to raise,' said Development Director Sally Steele. ...

"Steele said the $3 million has three purposes.

"One million is for an endowment to ensure the Federation's work continues into perpetuity, providing ongoing income for the organization's operations.

"Another $1 million will be dedicated to a reserve fund, which could be used to withstand unexpected challenges or put the Federation in better position to take advantage of opportunities such as land purchases or new initiatives. ...

"The final $1 million goes directly to expanded programs and staff. ..."

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