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Celebrating Thirty-five Years of the Bartram Trail at the Macon County Library & Cowee Mound

August 18th, 2012 by NC BTS

Dr. Dan Pittillo, Professor Emeritus, Western Carolina University

Dr. Dan Pittillo, Professor Emeritus in botany at Western Carolina University, will help the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society celebrate its 35th anniversary with an illustrated presentation on “The Natural History of the Southern Appalachians” on September 29 at the Macon County Library. Members of the society invite all interested persons to join them in this community celebration.

Dan has been involved in the planning, building, and maintenance of the trail since its beginning in 1977; he is the only remaining member of the original Board and the only one surviving who participated in the creation of the Trail.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. After Dr. Pittillo’s presentation and lunch, participants will travel across the Little Tennessee River to visit the Cowee Mound, site of the Cherokee town that William Bartram visited for several days in 1775.

Attendees may bring their own lunches or may reserve a box lunch for $6.00 by using the reservation form below or by calling Meg Petty at 828-371-0633.

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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.

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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.


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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

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NC Bartram Trail and William Bartram Mentioned on the Diane Rehm Show

September 15th, 2009 by NC BTS

Follw this link to listen to the audio archive on WAMU’s website:

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A Journey: The New Bartram Trail Map

August 22nd, 2009 by NC BTS

NCBTS Logo(As of August 2009) – By Tom Rogers

In 2007 the NCBTS Board of Directors felt that it was time for an update to 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 new BT 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.

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” 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.

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 initial transfer of GPS, wheel and interpretive data from the NCBTS to OCG has already been accomplished and in August 2009 the first draft map was delivered to the NCBTS by OCG for review and comment.

That event brings us up to date on the “Journey” to a new BT map. The anticipated schedule and the remaining major milestones are listed below.
The intent is to have the new map ready for distribution by early 2010.

August 2009 to January 2010: 

The cartographer will design and lay out the map, including  the desired interpretive information on William Bartram and the natural and cultural history of the trail area, utilizing the GPS and “wheel” distance data obtained by the NCBTS.  Once the map layout is approved, the cartographer will create a digital data computer disc that includes all GPS and interpretive information in a form suitable for use by a commercial printer to print the map.

January 2010 through February 2010:

The disc will be submitted to a commercial printer, who will perform the initial printing run of the map (3,000 copies are anticipated and this generally results in the optimum per-map printing cost).

March 2010:  Accomplish the initial distribution of maps.

The “Map Team” will continue to work with help from many members of the NCBTS using their individual expertise to develop the new map. We are committed to producing a 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.

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NCBTS and other non-profits honored on Earth Day

April 25th, 2009 by NC BTS

NCBTSMaconCoNewsClick here to read the full article in the Macon County News.

Category: Conservation, News and Events | No Comments »

April Fools Trail Days–April 3rd and 4th in Franklin, NC

February 23rd, 2009 by NC BTS

Franklin Town LogoThe Town of Franklin will sponsor its 1St “April Fools Trail Days” on Friday April 3rd and Saturday April 4th. This event will celebrate Franklin’s appreciation of trail hikers, whether they are a long distance thru hiker or a day hiker.

The NC Bartram Trail Society will have a booth at this event, so stop by and introduce yourself.  This is a great way to speak with trail experts about the BT and join the club!

For more information about the April Fools Trail Days, click here.

Speaking of membership, we are currently giving away free T-shirts to the first 25 people who become NCBTS members online.  Interested? Go to our Online Store for details!

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Invitation to the NCBTS Fall Meeting 2008

October 9th, 2008 by NC BTS

Event Date: Saturday, October 25, 2008

NCBTS LogoThe North Carolina Bartram Trail Society will hold its annual fall meeting on Saturday morning, October 25, 2008 at the Jane Woodruff Clinic Community Meeting Room on the campus of Highlands-Cashiers Hospital. The public is cordially invited to attend.

The morning schedule is as follows: 9:30 a.m.: Social (with light refreshments); at 10 a.m., a brief business meeting for team reports of club activities and reports from area college students earning Service Learning credit hours doing trail maintenance. From 11 a.m. until noon: guest speaker; and at noon, an optional bring-your-own picnic lunch. Also, since the BTS was recently featured in a video recording in The Heartland Series of WBIR-TV, Knoxville, the DVD will be shown during the business meeting.

The lecture will be provided by Dr. Gary Wein, Executive Director of the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. Dr. Wein’s talk, GPS for Dummies, will attempt to demystify the concepts behind Global Positioning (GPS) Technologies and explain how it works to find one’s location. He will also discuss how GPS is being used to update the maps for the Bartram Trail and how the Society will use the data they collect for better trail maintenance.

Bartram Trail President Tim Warren of Brevard enthusiastically invites the public to attend the annual meeting as well as to access the club’s website at to learn more about the Bartram Trail, its monthly trail work hikes and other community service projects.

The NCBTS is an all-volunteer, non-profit trail club, working with the US Forest Service, to maintain eighty-plus miles of woodland trail in the beautiful Nantahala National Forest.

Driving directions to the Jane Woodruff Clinic: It is located at 209 Hospital Drive on the campus of Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, just off US 64 between Highlands and Cashiers, NC — approximately four miles east of Highlands and eight miles west of Cashiers.

For an area map, access

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Bartram Display at WCU’s Hunter Library

May 26th, 2008 by NC BTS

WCU Tower LogoThe exhibit Bartram’s Journey: The 1775 Journey of William Bartram to Western North Carolina is on display through the end of August, 2008 on the ground floor of Hunter Library on the campus of Western Carolina University.

For more information, call committee chairwoman Alessia Zanin-Yost at (828) 227-3398. Also, read about the exhibit in the Macon County News.

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