WCU offering demos, workshops at Mountain Sports Festival

Western Carolina University will offer educational demonstrations and workshops covering everything from knot-tying and orienteering to campfire cooking at Asheville’s 15th annual Mountain Sports Festival, which will be held Friday, May 22, through Sunday, May 24, in Asheville’s Carrier Park.

WCU is a sponsor for the festival, which typically attracts 15,000 outdoor recreation enthusiasts to Asheville each spring to participate in a variety of events and enjoy gear demonstrations, music, food and craft beer.

A WCU student climbs a local crag on a trip sponsored by Base Camp Cullowhee, the university’s outdoor programming organization. Base Camp will offer family friendly rock climbing trips to Rumbling Bald in conjunction with the Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville.

A WCU student climbs a local crag on a trip sponsored by Base Camp Cullowhee, the university’s outdoor programming organization. Base Camp will offer family friendly rock climbing trips to Rumbling Bald in conjunction with the Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville.

WCU was recently named the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic’s “Top Adventure College” for the second year in a row by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine as a result of academic programming that incorporates the great outdoors. That includes off-campus adventures organized by WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee, which will offer family friendly rock climbing trips in conjunction with Mountain Sports Festival.

WCU’s main campus is located in Cullowhee, just 50 miles west of Asheville in the heart of the biologically diverse southern Appalachian Mountains. The campus includes a 7-mile mountain biking and hiking trail system open to the public, walking paths, disk golf and on-campus fly fishing. Western Carolina also offers graduate and professional degree programs in Asheville at Biltmore Park.

“Our location offers immense opportunities to connect our students with the unique resources, environment and culture of rural Western North Carolina, and we incorporate the region and its resources into our curriculum every day,” said WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar. “That connectivity with the region is part of who we are as a regional comprehensive university.”

WCU’s Cullowhee campus is home to academic programs such as natural resources conservation and management, forest resources, geology, land development, parks and recreation management, environment science, environment health and more that leverage the campus’s accessibility to the great outdoors. For a complete list of programs, go to majorsminors.wcu.edu.

Registration is ongoing for Base Camp Cullowhee’s Saturday and Sunday rock climbing excursions to Rumbling Bald at Chimney Rock State Park. The group will depart from the festival site at 10 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. Participants must be at least 14 years old, and the charge of $30 per person includes transportation, equipment and instruction, and permits for Chimney Rock State Park. Registration and more information is available by visiting basecamp.wcu.edu and clicking on “Events and Registration.”

Representatives from WCU’s Base Camp and the Parks and Recreation Management Program will be on hand to offer a series of mini-workshops, and WCU’s nursing students and faculty will lend support at the first-aid tent.

Admission to the Mountain Sports Festival is free. More festival information is available at mountainsportsfestival.com.