Environment | Opinion

Robert Jumper: Plenty to enjoy in the Eastern Cherokee outdoors

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina was carved out of the Cherokee homeland. Photo by USchick via Wikimedia Commons

Robert Jumper, the editor of The Cherokee One Feather, encourages fellow citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to enjoy the North Carolina tribe's outdoor treasures:
By the time this edition hits the newsstands, we will be days away from the March 21 kick off to springtime. After a lackluster winter with very few snow events and moderate temperatures, we are ready for the “spring flowers and April showers”. There is no better place to be during the spring than the beautiful land of our ancestral home. We are, by nature, lovers of the outdoors.

There is no lack of things to do and see on the Qualla Boundary: naturally-occurring waterfalls, the historic Oconaluftee River, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Graham and Cherokee County with virtually untouched forests and streams.

Cherokee has six locations that are designated as birding trails as part of the North Carolina Birding Trail system. Birding is a pastime that all ages enjoy, and bird watchers range from the casual enthusiast that watches as different types fly to their backyard feeder to the professional who hikes miles and captures images for magazines and scientific research. In North Carolina, 2.6 million bird watchers spend $916 million in retail sales for observing and feeding the objects of their desire. On a national level, 71 million Americans enjoy and participate in nature watching and contribute $46 billion dollars to the economy in pursuit of their passion, according to a 2006 study reported by www.ncbirdingtrail.org. Of course, we have to assume that a percentage of those people and dollars are watching other animals in our forest lands; for example, elk.

Get the Story:
EDITORIAL: Springing into outdoor tourism (The Cherokee One Feather 3/11)

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