BPR Presents

Lilly Knoepp

Campgrounds are a way of life in Western North Carolina – and have been long before the current camping craze which helped bring more than 12-million visitors to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park last year.  BPR went to Laurel Bank Campground in Haywood County.  Camping there is more than a weekend activity or a vacation.  It’s life – and family. 

Sherrie Lynn McArthur still remembers growing up at Laurel Bank Campground in Cruso. She is now 66 years old.

Lilly Knoepp

Last summer, BPR reported on rallies across Western North Carolina in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. These demonstartions echoed those seen across the country during the months of protests for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd.  One such rally was in Murphy. TeLor Allen was one of the organizers.

Cass Herrington / BPR News



For the superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the killing of George Floyd over the summer hit especially hard. 

Courtesy of Shirley Parks

Students started back to school last month amidst the uncertain world of COVID-19 and a racial justice movement across America. Franklin resident Shirley Parks remembers her own uncertain days as a student during integration in Macon County and much later in 2011 as the first Black principal in the county since integration. 

Parks worked in the Macon County School System for 33 years. She says its hard to watch children and parents struggling with the current COVID-19 pandemic.