Issue: July 2023
The Travels of Granny Gatewood, set to be presented at the Cashiers Village Green on Thursday,July 27, benefits the unique treasure that’s Panther town Valley.
Panthertown Valley’s well-traveled trails and historic tales are deeply-rooted in our lore of regional land. The expanse of 6,311 acres is dubbed the Yosemite of the East as a tribute to its beauty and bounty. Enthusiasts say it should be a bucket-list imperative for one and all.
If your first visit is in your future, you’ll be dazzled by the breath-taking scenery with its sheer cliffs, mountain peaks, its expansive, flat valley floor, incredible geologic formations, forest streams, a river’s headwaters, the Nantahala forest, waterfalls, wetlands, bogs, flowering meadows, and a host of animals that populate air, land, and water. Panthertown is a unique, wild backcountry, and that’s why its supporters are deeply earnest about its protection.
Friends of Panthertown is the local nonprofit stewardship organization that maintains the recreation corridors in the beautiful Panthertown. This organization has a focused and dedicated commitment to conserving Panthertown. They work hard to implement modern trail designs focused on sustainable recreation as well as offering educational programs and ‘Walk n’ Talks’ to surrounding communities.
This month Friends of Panthertown is hosting the “Grandma Gatewood” fundraiser at The Village Green to help raise funds for them to be able to continue pursuing their mission of conservation, education, and sustainable recreation. Jason Kimenker, Executive Director of Friends of Panthertown, says, “Our dedicated staff and volunteers serve as stewards of the forest, conserving this public resource while maintaining 30 miles of trails spread out over six-thousand acres in Panthertown. Volunteers are needed to help out on the trails, serve on planning committees, and assist us in our community this season. No experience is required.”
Enjoy an evening of entertainment and a warm bit of historical lore with the Grandma Gatewood Event at the Village Green’s Lewis Hall in Cashiers, Thursday, July 27, 5:00 to 6:30 P.M. (panthertown.org/tickets or Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce). Doors open at 4:30 P.M.
In 1955 Emma Gatewood up-and-left her husband (an abusive rapscallion) and family (11 children, grown) for a long walk she’d been promising herself . . . a non-stop hike of the Appalachian Trail. She was the first woman to do it solo and did two more trips plus a trek of the Oregon Trail in her late sixties and seventies. Gatewood was an engaging super-woman, years before “the fairer sex” was thought to be capable of walking a couple of thousand miles alone.
Contact Jason Kimenker, Executive Director, Friends of Panthertown, Inc., (828) 269-HIKE (4453) for more information about volunteering and donating. Visit [email protected], or panthertown.org for more information.