RMR-007: Hiking in Late Winter and Flowering Trees

Smooth Alder flowers and catkins in late winter. (Image from North Carolina Native Plant Society)

RMR-007 Late Winter Hiking

March means that winter is lingering, but the days are getting longer and warmer. It is a great time to go for a late winter hike.

Any hike or walk before the trees leaf out will reveal more views. You can see things that will soon be hidden from view until next winter.

This is a great time of year to hike the forested parts of Roan Mountain.

Stop by the Roan Mountain State Park Visitor’s Center. (It is on 143 about two miles from the intersection with Hwy 19-E. Look for the large foot-bridge over the Doe River to to get from the parking lot to the Visitor’s Center by the waterwheel.)

Get a park map. The very helpful people at the information desk will show you the best hiking trails for your skill level.

Things to look for on your hike: flowers. The surprising thing is that some trees are flowering now.

Tree of the week: Smooth Alder

With us today is today is Dr. Frosty Levy of the East Tennessee State University Department of Biological Sciences. He is going to tell us about a flowering tree that at we can see on Roan Mountain and in the Park.


E.T.S.U. Department of Biological Sciences

Here is a link to the Google Images Search for: Smooth Alder

North Carolina Native Plant Society

RMR-005: Green Alder Balds more rare than grassy balds?

alder-baldJamey Donaldson, Roan Mountain botanist, has been studying the ecological history of the rare glacial relic found on the Roan.  His research has revealed that the green alder actually pre-dates the grassy balds. But don’t take my word for it, join us at the Winter Naturalists’ Rally, February 16, to learn the rest of the story.


Friends of Roan Mountain

Winter Naturalists’ Rally brochure and schedule

Winter Naturalists’ Rally registration

RMR-004: Winter Naturalists’ Rally – February 16

Learn more about nature and new research at the Winter Naturalists’ Rally.

The 6th Annual Winter Naturalists’ Rally sponsored by the Friends of Roan MountWinter Rally - hike up Round Baldain will be Saturday, February 16 at the Roan Mountain State Park Conference Center.

Two of our favorite research botanists will be speaking in the morning:

Nora Schubert will tell us about her research on the golden-winged warbler on Roan Mountain. She has also been studying some of the rare plants and habit that they provide to some rare species.

Famous goatherd, Jamey Donaldson, will share some new insights into the value of the rare green alder and how important it has been to the grassy bald development in the Roan highlands.

Plus, Foster Levy will share the results of his efforts to protect and preserve the Eastern Hemlock in the park.

Lisa Huff, of the Tennessee Natural Areas Program, will share an update on the efforts to fight invasive weeds.

Then after lunch, there is your choice of four outdoor hikes. Now don’t be scared away by the term “hike.”  This is just our term for outside activities. Some could be called walks, or strolls, or ambles. You will enjoy it.


 Friends of Roan Mountain

 Winter Naturalists’ Rally schedule

 Winter Rally registration

 Roan Mountain State Park

RMR-003: Bottle Your Christmas Tree or How to enjoy that Roan Mountain air all year long.

Yes. You read that correctly. Bottle your Christmas tree.

Christmas treeChristmas is a such a joyous time of the year. And the Christmas tree is a very traditional part. But nobody enjoys taking down their fresh Christmas tree. That fresh forest smell is welcome when we are trapped indoors.

Your fresh, mountain-grown Christmas tree is probably a Frasier Fir.  The Frasier fir has the soft, flat needles. Dark green on top with a soft gray or silvery color underside.

The Frasier fir grows naturally in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, usually on the mountain tops above 5,000 feet.The distinct forest on the top of the Roan is the spruce-fir forest.  .

Listen to our Roan Mountain Girl, Jennifer Bauer, as she shares her way to save some of that fresh mountain air smell and get more out of your cut Christmas tree. Bottle your Christmas tree!

Tennessee State Parks First Hike logo

And don’t forget to get your New Year’s resolutions off to a great start with the Roan Mountain State Park First Hike, January 1.call the park for more information: (423) 772-0190.

RMR-002: Roan Mountain Christmas gift ideas.

Baa-iley the Goat bookThis little book is a great introduction for your little Adventurer to learn about the Baa-tany Goat Project.

The Baa-tany Goat Project is a study of preserving and restoring the grassy balds of Roan Mountain highlands by using browsing goats.



Roan Mountain: History of an Appalachian Treasure - cover

Roan Mountain: History of an Appalachian Treasure



This is a great Christmas gift idea for the mountain lover in your family. Jennifer Bauer’s book, Roan Mountain: History of an Appalachian Treasure is my go-to resource for anything about Roan Mountain.