Official Website of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society

Archive for the 'Announcements' Category

New BT Bandanas!

April 17th, 2011 by NC BTS

At the top of every hiker and backpacker’s packing list are bandanas: Lightweight, multipurpose, indispensable. Now hikers can proudly support the efforts of the NC Bartram Trail Society by helping promote the trail with this new NCBT bandana design. It’s not likely to be featured on the runways of NY or Paris spring fashion shows – which is all the more reason to buy it here. Consider ordering some for hiking friends. Wouldn’t you LOVE to open an envelope in your mailbox and find a bandana gift from a dear friend? Add them to your spring Easter outfit for the woods! Then post a photo to our NCBT Facebook page of your most creative use of a bandana. Wearing/using the BT bandana is almost guaranteed to win friends and influence people!

Click here to purchase from our online store!

More photos (click to enlarge):

Category: Announcements, Website | No Comments »

Announcing the 2010 Annual Report and Newsletter

January 5th, 2011 by NC BTS

We are pleased to present the 2010 annual report covering the activities of our volunteers during the past year. While you are reading the pages, we think you will be simply amazed at what a small group of determined people can accomplish when they are inspired. The 2009-10 winter storms more than doubled the amount of trail clearing needed to get the trail back up to previous year’s condition. We hope you’ll be inspired to do one or two things: one – join us in membership (either annually or as a life member; see online store link to the left). The reasons for membership are many but most helpful are the trail maintenance tools we can purchase for our volunteers to use on the trail is the most dramatic. Secondly, if you have an interest in either light or heavy trail work, consider volunteering for a second Saturday work hike. There’s usually something to do for all skill levels.

Lately, several folks have suggested a outdoors quote from the late Edward Abbey, so I’ll share it with you:
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…. a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic.
Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.
While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much;
I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.
I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”
~ Edward Abbey

We hope 2011 provides multiple opportunities to hike and/or camp on the Bartram Trail and that your year is filled with good health, good times and peace.
– Ina Warren, BTS Newsletter Editor

Please click here to download our 2010 Annual Report and Newsletter

Category: Announcements, Media | No Comments »

Jim Kautz presents “What I Learned Following William Bartram Across the South” October 14th

October 4th, 2010 by NC BTS

Thursday, 14 October 2010 at 7 p.m. at the Macon County Library in Franklin, NC

Illustrated presentation: “What I Learned Following William Bartram Across the South ” by Jim Kautz sponsored by the NC Bartram Trail Society.

Footprints Across the South: Bartram’s Trail Revisited

A walk, drive, or canoe trip along the routes taken by William Bartram, America’s first native-born naturalist, provides a unique view of what has happened in the southland since the nation was founded. Jim Kautz took such a journey.

Bartram explored little-known areas from North Carolina to Florida and from Georgia to Louisiana just prior to the American Revolution. His eloquent descriptions, particularly his book Travels, described the frontier of the American southland at the moment of the nation’s birth. He wrote in such detail that we may compare our world with the landscape of the infant nation.

Jim Kautz sought out historical, environmental, and cultural occurrences along Bartram’s pathway. In the course of five years, he traveled 15,000 miles across seven states. He tramped trails, paddled and motored rivers and streams, and interviewed dozens of residents, scientists, and community leaders in revisiting Bartram’s trail.

In Footprints Across the South: Bartram’s Trail Revisited, Kautz shares the results of his quest. “Bartram’s writings give us a benchmark,” he says. “I found a few spots that have changed little in 230 years. A modern traveler can easily imagine the Cherokee town of Cowee in quiet pastureland and rows of corn beside the Little Tennessee River. Cypress swamps are returning to their former grandeur in Florida and Alabama; Bartram’s word picture of Georgia’s Falling Creek Falls could describe the scene today.”

“On the other hand, plantations of slash pines have replaced forests of oaks and flotillas of invasive water hyacinths choke waters he sailed. Environmentalists struggle to restore the health of lands and streams that Bartram found lush and thriving.”

Reviewers of the book have said:

“. . . delightful tour of the South, connecting the past and the present . . .”

. . . a fascinating book that puts a historical character in context for the modern reader.”

“ . . . this book takes a new approach, looking at the changes that have occurred in the places familiar to (William Bartram).”

“ . . . more than a travelogue, more than a biography, more than a history. It puts the past alongside the present, showing how America has changed since Bartram’s travels and how so many of us have lost touch with the history of the land and the people who once lived there.”

Born in Washington, D.C., Jim Kautz has lived in the south for more than forty years while teaching at three colleges and working in five states. He had conducted archaeological explorations in the Middle East and America when William Bartram’s Travels caught his attention. He is past editor of The Traveller, the newsletter of the Bartram Trail Conference and a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society.

Footprints Across the South: Bartram’s Trail Revisited is published by the Kennesaw State University Press.

Category: Announcements, News and Events | No Comments »

NCBTS Map in the Asheville Citizen-Times

June 25th, 2010 by NC BTS

Source: Asheville Citizen-Times

When Tim Warren hikes the 80-mile-long Bartram Trail, hidden in Nantahala National Forest of Macon and Swain counties, he sees a sweeping resource, rich in history, biological diversity and scenic splendor. He sees a mighty trail, worthy of seven maps. But who wants to carry seven hiking maps?

For the past two decades, though, anyone hiking the entire trail had to have one map for each of the seven sections of the trail that starts on the North Carolina-Georgia border south of Highlands, snaking through woods, over peaks and across streams, ending at Cheoah Bald.

But now, the N.C. Bartram Trail Society has created one giant map. The Interpretive Hiking Map of North Carolina’s Bartram Trail is a full-color, 28-by-36-inch, two-sided map available for sale after July 1.


Category: Announcements, Map, News and Events | No Comments »

New NC Bartram Trail map published

June 18th, 2010 by NC BTS

NC Bartram Trail Society President Tim Warren of Brevard announces that after a three year effort, a new Bartram Trail map has been created, published and is now available!

The new “Interpretive Hiking Map of the NC Bartram Trail” is a full-color, two-sided map measuring 28 x 36. Features included on the map are: an overview of the 75+ miles of hiking trail and the topographic features it traverses; elevation profiles of the trail; USGS topographic contour lines at 50 foot intervals; scale: 1:35,000; GPS coordinates and driving directions to BT trailheads from area towns and EMS assistance info. The Appalachian Trail (from Wayah Bald to the Cheoah Bald area) and the Appletree area loop trails are also shown.

The map also features mile by mile readings for both north-to-south hiking and south-to-north hiking, locations of scenic vistas, waterfalls, historic markers, picnic areas and campgrounds. But the feature likely to become a favorite for natural and cultural history enthusiasts are the native flora and fauna notes from along the trail, information about William Bartram’s historic visit to the area and notes about the non-profit NC Bartram Trail Society.

National Forest recreation users in mind when creating the new map were day hikers, backpackers, exercise runners, nature photographers, wildflower enthusiasts, and area history buffs. The NCBTS hopes this attractive, colorful and informative map will excite folks enough to plan a recreation outing or hike in their national forests and gain many years of enjoyment from the map.

Primary funding for the map was through a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage  Substantial donations were received from the Highlands Biological Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Nantahala Outdoor Center, private donors and the BTS membership.

The grant was written primarily to fund the NCBTS’s desire to provide free trail maps to educational institutions and conservation groups. Over one thousand free maps have already been distributed to WNC schools, public and college libraries, summer camps, chambers of commerce, visitor centers and other groups. Maps were also distributed to nature centers, history museums and botanical societies around the state and region.

The new map is available for sale (after July 2) at area USFS Ranger Stations and area outfitters. It may also be ordered online at by using Pay Pal or mailing a check for $12 (includes postage) to:

NC Bartram Trail Society
P. O. Box 968
Highlands, NC  28741

The NC Bartram Trail is a National Recreation Trail and is for foot travel only. It is not open to horseback riding, ORVs or mountain bikes. The trail is maintained by a small group of trail volunteers who typically meet on the second Saturday of each month.

For more information about the map, the trail or the BTS, contact Ina Warren at

Category: Announcements, Map, News and Events, On the Trail | No Comments »

A Journey: The New Bartram Trail Map (Update)

May 10th, 2010 by NC BTS


In 2007 the NCBTS Board of Directors felt that it was time to replace the existing set of seven individual “Section” maps that covered the path of the North Carolina (NC) portion of the Bartram Trail (BT). So a Map Team was chartered to produce a BT map that would be a more “conventional” single sheet, two-sided map.

After the membership of the team was established, the first thing to be done was to determine the “characteristics” that we wanted to be included in the map. We internally developed a list of desired characteristics and canvassed other hiking organizations/map makers for their “lessons learned” in developing their map(s). In particular, we were interested in the manner in which the volunteer, non-profit organizations (such as ours) went about developing/creating their map(s).

We are deeply indebted to folks from the following organizations for freely sharing with us their experiences and advice on “how” to go about this task: The Foothills Trail, The Benton McKaye Trail, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Mountain-to-Sea Trail and the Map Division of the National Geographic Society. Their help kept us from stepping into many “potholes” along the way.

As a result of the “mentoring” received from the organizations listed above, we decided not to attempt to completely develop the new map “internally” with an all-volunteer organization. Thus, we sought a grant that would allow us to hire a cartographer and an experienced commercial map printer.

We did decide, however, to re-affirm the path of the BT and the location of its main features (e.g., water sources, campsites, vistas, road accesses, etc) with an internal, all-volunteer effort. Thus we walked the NC BT with GPS equipment and a “wheel” that measured the actual length of the trail. Since the acquisition of GPS signals is best accomplished without foliage on the trees, this was a predominantly a winter-season effort. Due to the scope of the task (over 66 miles of footpath, including side trails) and acceptable weather days (no rain, snow or dense cloud cover), it took the winter of 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 to accomplish this data acquisition task.

For the portions of the BT where we had significant “experienced-derived” confidence in the USFS GIS/GPS data, we accepted their trail location data, but still gathered our own data for campsites, water sources, etc.

While the trail data acquisition effort was progressing, a “Grant Team” was formed by the NCBTS Board of Directors to seek the funds necessary to hire the cartographer and pay for the commercial printing of the map. The team began searching for funding sources and submitted a grant request in the fall of 2008 to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA).

Due to the team’s excellent work, we were successful in obtaining a “matching” type of grant from the BRNHA in January of 2009 for both the cost of the cartographer and the printer. The estimated total cost was about $11,000 for the map development and the printing of an initial 3000 copies of the map, a significant number of which were to be distributed free to organization types specified in the grant.

This new BT map will be “more than a map”. The NCBTS has a dual purpose: Promote the contributions of William Bartram, as well as maintain the trail named in his honor. The interests of the BRNHA are to promote tourism and provide interpretive information of the natural treasures of western North Carolina. These are synergistic interests and thus the new map will also contain information on William Bartram, his contribution to the history of the area and his encounters with the Native Cherokees as well as interpretive information on the natural and cultural history of the region.

The intended cumulative effect of the new map is to enhance the experience of those already using the trail and increase the number of hikers, backpackers, nature enthusiasts, exercise enthusiasts, and history buffs that will come to the area and use the trail.

Once we were assured of the funds for the map effort, the search for a qualified cartographer began with “requirements” listing we placed on the internet ( discussing the requirements for our map. Fourteen firms responded to the listing with an eventual seven proposals being submitted. In May of 2009 the Ozark Cartographer’s Guild (OCG) was
selected by the Map Team and the Board of Directors as having the best qualifications and lowest proposed cost for the effort. The OCG cartographer assigned the map task was Kristian Underwood.

The initial transfer of GPS, wheel and interpretive data from the NCBTS to OCG was accomplished and in August 2009 the first draft map was delivered to the NCBTS by OCG for review and comment. Map Team members reviewed that draft, which we had in both hardcopy and digital form.

The Map Team thought Kristian had done an excellent job on the first draft in selecting the scale/size of the map and its geographic coverage……the really big “drivers’ in making a map. An initial review of the interpretive information placed on the map was made to ensure the area occupied by it did not interfere with the essential “hiking” information.

The map has progressed from that point to a second draft which was provided by OCG in November. The Map Team met again in early November for review of that map. That three hour review resulted in 13 pages of questions and clarifications which were transmitted to Kristian for his review prior to a face-to-face meeting with him in late November. All questions/clarifications were resolved successfully and the next phase of the map development could proceed.

Concurrent with the activity described above, the Map Team worked with the prospective publisher, Techna-Graphics, to establish the necessary financial and contractual relationships that will facilitate the printing process.

Over the last several months we have reviewed and commented back to OCG on a series of drafts and what is called the final “proof map”. This process was unavoidably extended in time beyond our original schedule due to the harsh winter conditions both in WNC and in Arkansas, the location of OCG. Multiple snow/ice storms with the concurrent loss of commercial power and the inability to travel for meetings, sometimes for days, prevented reviews of the map drafts. However we met as a team as soon as we could and the updated digital file of that “proof” map has now been transferred to the publisher, Techna-Graphics,

We are now in the publisher’s queue and it looks like we can expect a new NC BT map to be in our hands by the end of May or early June. We will then begin distribution of the free maps to the organization types specified in the BRNHA grant and to the commercial vendors who will sell the map. The map will also be available on this website.

The NCBTS feels that we have a new NC BT map that will not only be useful to the hiker, but will also add value to the experience of anyone visiting the western North Carolina Mountains. We hope the users of the map agree.

Category: Announcements, Map | 3 Comments »

Looking Back…at the early days of the NC Bartram Trail Society

February 13th, 2010 by NC BTS

In September 2009, Dr. Dan Pittillo resigned from the Board of the North Carolina Bartram Society after serving as a Board member since the inception of the Society in 1977. Dan is the only remaining member of the original Board and the only one surviving who participated in the creation of the North Carolina Bartram Trail from its beginning in the 1970’s. During his 35 years of active involvement with the building and expansion of the trail, he has seen it grow from a gleam in the eyes of its founder, Walter McKelvey, to a well-maintained, more than 75-mile hiking trail popular with many outdoor enthusiasts. We thought Dan’s retirement would be an appropriate occasion to revisit for our membership the way the trail idea developed and was implemented and the context in which it was ultimately constructed and promoted.

Download Full Article Here

Category: Announcements, Media | No Comments »

“Mem. Bartram. –” On Charles Darwin’s reading of William Bartram’s Travels

February 13th, 2010 by NC BTS

NCBTS Board Member, Dr. James Costa, recently wrote a wonderful, descriptive article describing the connections between Charles Darwin and William Bartram. We are pleased to make this article available for our web guests–please click below to download the full article:

On Charles Darwin’s Reading of William Bartram–Download Full Article

Category: Announcements, Media | No Comments »

NCBTS 2009 Summer/Fall Newsletter Available Online

February 13th, 2010 by NC BTS

We are pleased to announce that our 2009 Summer/Fall newsletter is now available for download! Please click on the link below to browse the download page:

NCBTS Summer/Fall 2009 Download Page

Category: Announcements | No Comments »

NCBTS Fall Annual Meeting Announcement

August 22nd, 2009 by NC BTS

The 2009 Annual membership meeting of the NC Bartram Trail Society will be held on Saturday, September 19 in the Canon Lounge of the Morse Science Building on Warren Wilson College campus in Swannanoa, NC.

This year’s keynote lecture is by Dr. Jim Costa, Executive Director of the Highlands Biological Station and Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University. The lecture is entitled “Darwin and Dixie”.

Click here to download the full announcement!

About the Speaker

Dr. Costa is the well-known author of The Other Insect Societies, which explores the social structure of insects such as beetles, caterpillars, cockroaches, mantids, membracids, and sawflies. In his Commentary, Dr. Edward O. Wilson proclaimed the book “will henceforth be the standard reference work on the subject.” And just this year, Dr. Costa cemented his position as a Darwin scholar with his book The Annotated Origin. Publishers Weekly declares his “thoughtful and informative notes enable readers to gain a much fuller appreciation for Darwin’s genius and breadth of knowledge.”

Even with his busy schedule, Dr. Costa finds time to lend his expertise to the NC Bartram Trail Society. He has been a member of the board since 2007. Invaluable contributions include Bartram exhibits at Highlands Biological Station and display panels that tour libraries and museums. Please join us as Dr. Costa pulls together science and history to explore the intriguing connections between Bartram and Darwin for the NCBTS annual meeting.

Driving Directions to Warren Wilson College Campus

If you are arriving by car via I-40 from areas west of Asheville, take Exit 55 in East Asheville, turn left and go under the interstate. Go to the first traffic light (at the intersection with US-70/Tunnel Road), and turn right onto US-70. On US-70, go 1.5 miles until you reach the next traffic light and turn left onto Warren Wilson Road. Travel about 1.5 miles until you reach the campus. Turn right at the South entrance. You will pass the library and the Morse Science Building is on your right.

A campus map is accessible online at:

Category: Announcements | No Comments »