Official Website of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society

2015 Bartram Trail Conference

December 28th, 2014 by NC BTS

Members of the Bartram Trail Conference visiting the site of Cowee, north of Franklin, North Carolina. (Credit: Bartram Trail Conference)

Members of the Bartram Trail Conference visiting the site of Cowee, north of Franklin, North Carolina. (Credit: Bartram Trail Conference)

From our friends at the Bartram Trail Conference:

The 2015 meeting of the Bartram Trail Conference will be held on the shores of William Bartram’s beloved St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida. John and William Bartram first paddled up the St. Johns River in December of 1765 and we will convene there almost on the exact date. The dates for the conference are October 16–18, 2015. The conference will be held in the Ravine Gardens State Park and Palatka’s riverfront park. This promises to be a very exciting conference.

More details will be available here in March of 2015. Plan on signing up early, there will be a limit to attendees. You may contact Sam Carr at 386-937-3901 or with questions.

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Join us for an afternoon wildflower hike, May 4, 2014

March 24th, 2014 by NC BTS

Dr. Dan Pittillo, Professor Emeritus, Western Carolina University

Dr. Dan Pittillo, Professor Emeritus, Western Carolina University

The NCBTS is sponsoring a wildflower hike Sunday afternoon 2:00-6:00 p.m. May 4 to be led by Dr. Dan Pittillo.

There will still be some later Trilliums flowering and the “flaming yellow to orange to red-orange” azaleas should be making their show.

Join us for an afternoon hike between the Jones Gap to Whiterock Gap on the NC Bartram Trail!

If you would like to join, please email:

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Come join the NCBTS at the April Fool’s Trail Days in Franklin

March 24th, 2014 by NC BTS

The NC Bartram Trail Society will have a booth Saturday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the April Fools Hiking Day in Franklin. Come join us or help maintain booth!

Click here to read the full schedule of events at the April Fool’s Trail Days in Franklin, NC.

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Duke Energy Carolinas to increase Nantahala water flow

January 1st, 2014 by NC BTS

(Source: Duke Energy Carolinas)

On Thursday, January 2, 2014 after 4:00 pm, Duke Energy will open a Tainter gate at Nantahala Dam releasing approximately 400 cfs.  Duke Energy has a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requirement to complete maintenance on all the Tainter gates at Nantahala Dam and needs to lower the lake level to below the bottom of the Tainter gates.  Due to abundant rainfall, the natural inflow into the reservoir is greater than what can be passed by running the generating unit 24 hours per day.  Running the generator 24 hours per day is not lowering the lake level to accommodate the FERC required work.

The generator will continue to run 24 hours a day.  The Tainter gate will remain open till the lake level is below the bottom of the Tainter gate.  Spillage from the Tainter gate will increase the flow in the bypass reach from the Nantahala Dam to the Nantahala Powerhouse. As always, the general public and members of the rafting/outfitters community on the Nantahala River are strongly encouraged to monitor the USGS Streamflow Gauge at Hewitt for the most current flow information.,00060

Because of the potential to impact the fishing public, we will make the release such that the water will arrive in the delayed harvest section of the bypass reach area at night.  The following message will be posted today so, the public will have a chance to plan accordingly:

The Nantahala River Basin has had significant rainfall over the last two weeks.  A spillway gate will be partially opened the afternoon of Thursday, January 2nd.  We expect that gate to remain partially open for several days.  WARNING: high flows and the natural environment of the bypassed reach can create dangerous conditions for paddlers and fly fishermen.  Duke Energy will continue to closely monitor conditions.  Updated lake levels are available any time at  and at 800-829-5253.  As always, we encourage those living along lakes, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone areas to pay special attention to changing weather conditions and take any necessary precautions. We will provide additional updates if conditions change.

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Nantahala Hiking Club and NC Bartram Trail Society Team Up to Celebrate National Trails Day

May 10th, 2013 by NC BTS

Wayah Bald Tower

Two local trail organizations will join together to celebrate National Trails Day on June 1. The Nantahala Hiking Club and Bartram Trail Society have announced a hike for that day.

Hikers will begin at Wayah Bald at ten o’clock and follow the trail to Wine Springs Bald. This section of trails is shared by the Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail and is three miles round trip.

Dr. Dan Pittillo, a botanist and a founder of the Bartram Trail will lead the hike.

A special feature will be a “Kids Hike,” led by Mary Bennett, Appalachian Trail Community Ambassador with the Nantahala Hiking Club. Ms. Bennett will discuss tips for planning hikes with families. Included in the Kids Hike will be such activities as a “Nature in Living Color Search,” writing a group Place Poem, and “A Fistful of Sounds.”

Hikers may continue a few miles farther to either Sawmill Gap (on the Bartram Trail) or Wayah Crest (on the Appalachian Trail).

The Bartram Trail Society has for the last 35 years built and maintained the Bartram Trail across almost 80 miles of mountains between the Georgia line and Cheoah Bald. The Nantahala Hiking Club, the Franklin based Appalachian Trail maintaining club, maintains sixty miles of the Appalachian Trail across Macon County, sponsors hikes every weekend, provides hiking support to local schools, and supports Franklin, NC as a designated Appalachian Trail Community.

National Trails Day, sponsored by the American Hiking Society annually brings together outdoor enthusiasts across the country. The celebration encourages all Americans to connect with local outdoor clubs, businesses, community groups, and parks and recreation departments as well as federal land managing agencies to experience, appreciate, and share the natural places they cherish.

More than 2,000 nationwide events will take place.

“Twenty years ago, American Hiking built National Trails Day around the idea that for one day each year we should come together outdoors and give back to our favorite trails. Since then, people from all walks of life have been coming out in increasing numbers on NTD to celebrate our trails and the great outdoors,” said Gregory Miller, American Hiking Society president.

The event is open to the public. Hikers are urged to bring their lunches and water and to wear good hiking shoes. The trail is moderate to easy in difficulty.

For more information, contact Jim Kautz of the Bartram Trail Society (jrkautz [at], 828-524-6593) or Bill Van Horn of the Nantahala Hiking Club (828-369-1983).

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National Trails Day Celebration: June 1

January 14th, 2013 by NC BTS

Wayah Bald Tower

Hike with members of both the Bartram Trail Society and the Nantahala Hiking Club to celebrate National Trails Day.

The BTS is partnering with the Nantahala Hiking Club to sponsor a hike on National Trails Day, June 1, 2013.

We will meet at Wayah Bald at 10:00 a.m. and hike to Wine Spring Bald for lunch. The route is about two miles long and descends less than a thousand feet before climbing a thousand feet to Wine Spring Bald. Those who want a longer hike may proceed another two miles (downhill) to Sawmill Gap.

This event is the first organized collaboration between the two clubs in recent years. The Nantahala Hiking Club maintains the Appalachian Trail in southwestern North Carolina and conducts numerous hikes each year. The trail from Wayah Bald to Wine Springs Bald is part of the only route shared by both the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail.

Wayah Bald two of three prominent peaks in the Nantahala that scholars think may be the place that William Bartram described asthe most elevated peak; from whence I beheld with rapture and astonishment, a sublimely awful scene of power and magnificence, a world of mountains piled upon mountains.” The third candidate for Bartram’s “most elevated peak” is Burningtown Bald.

The American Hiking Society has sponsored National Trails Day on the first Saturday in June each year since 1993. For more information, see

Directions:  From Franklin NC
From intersection of U.S. Hwy-64 W and U.S. Hwy-23/441 North in Franklin take Hwy-64 W towards Murphy, NC for 3.8 miles to “Old Murphy Rd.(SR 1448) on your right (see Wayah Bald Sign).
After you take the exit, continue down the hill for just under 0.2 miles to Wayah Road (SR 1310) on your left (“Loafers Glory” gas station will be at the intersection of Old Murphy Rd. and Wayah Rd, so you’ll know where to turn).
Continue on Wayah Rd. for 9.1 miles where you’ll find yourself at FR (Forest Road) #69 on the right, at Wayah Gap. Take this gravel road for another 4.4 miles to the Wayah Bald Area and Lookout Tower..

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NCBTS helps Mountains To Sea Trail explore options

December 9th, 2012 by NC BTS

(Source: The Franklin Press)

North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail may lead travelers through Macon County.

Conservation and trail group representatives and citizens met Monday to investigate a possible alternate route of the State’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail that would pass through the Needmore Game Lands bordering Macon and Swain counties.

[…]Representatives from The Wilderness Society, the NC Bartram Trail Society and FMST joined the Monday hike that traversed a five-mile stretch of the proposed route through Needmore from Sawmill Creek to Brush Creek in Swain County.

[…]The proposed route through Macon County could continue along existing trails and old roadbeds through the 4,500-acre Needmore Tract which winds along the Little Tennessee River (North Carolina purchased Needmore in 2004 to protect it as state game lands).

Read the full article at The Franklin Press website.

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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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2011 Bartram Annual Meeting – Walking Forward, Looking Backward – September 28, 2011

September 14th, 2011 by NC BTS

The NC Bartram Trail Society will host its 34th annual meeting on Wednesday, September 28 at the Cashiers Community Library at 6 pm.

We hope you can make plans to attend.

The evening’s lecture will be preceded by a brief business meeting for Board elections, light refreshments and an opportunity to share updates of the year’s events on the NC BT.

At 7 pm, noted author Janisse Ray will present the annual lecture entitled “Walking Forward, Looking Backward.”

Click here to download the full announcement!

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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):

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