New “Single Family-Use” Dog Enclosure to Debut at Wildcat Dog Park on Jan. 1

When it comes to resources for furry family members to burn off excess energy, Big Canoe is blessed to have the Meadows Dog Park, the Diamond Dog Park and the Wildcat Dog Park.

However, even with designated areas for both small and large dogs at the parks, there are no options for unleashed dogs that are too old or small to socialize – or simply don’t do well with dogs not from their household.

The Big Canoe Dog Park Committee addressed the issue by unanimously recommending the conversion of the seldom-used small dog area at the Wildcat Dog Park into a “single family-use” dog enclosure. The idea behind calling the repurposed space a “single family-use” park is that dogs that are aggressive toward unfamiliar canines often get along with fellow four-legged family members. As a result, a group of dogs that live together are welcome to use the enclosure.

Only one dog party at a time can use the space, which will be limited to 30 minutes per party on a first-come, first-served basis.

The new area will give owners an alternative space for dogs that are:

too small to play with other dogs
elderly or disabled
not well-socialized or reactive toward unfamiliar canines
can only fraternize with dogs from their household

Usage of the new area will be limited to 30 minutes per party.

Diminutive doggies and their owners can continue to enjoy spaces already designated for them at the Meadows and Diamond dog parks, explains Sherry Evans, chair of the Dog Park Committee.

“Every dog, no matter the size or circumstance, should be able to enjoy the freedom of being out in an open park in Big Canoe,” says Evans. “We want to make sure that we are always ensuring the safety of every dog and every owner.”

Learn more about all of Big Canoe’s dog parks on the POA website.


Public Safety and Wellness Collaborative Teaming Up For Monthly Emergency Preparedness Courses in 2024

With the success of its recent CPR classes, the POA Public Safety and Wellness Collaborative partnership is expanding to offer a series of emergency preparedness courses for 2024. Every quarter, these three different classes will be offered to help prepare Property Owners and their guests for a range of emergency scenarios.

Starting in 2024, the following classes are available at the Fire Station at 9 a.m.:

Stop the Bleed, Thursday, Jan. 25 – Learn three quick techniques to help save a life before someone bleeds out. Registered paramedic and veteran firefighter David Miller will provide instruction on how to address life-threatening bleeding that could happen to individuals injured in an accident or disaster. Cost: $35.
CPR, Thursday, Feb. 8 – Learn emergency lifesaving procedures and how to use the automated external defibrillator. Taught by Capt. Chip Rice. Cost: $45; Wellness Collaborative will reimburse $25 to the participants after they have completed the course.
First Aid, Tuesday, March 12 – Learn basic first-aid skills for medical, traumatic and environmental emergencies or injuries. Taught by Capt. Chip Rice. Cost: $45.

When the CPR classes were launched in January, Capt. Rice detailed the need to have members of the community trained to immediately address emergencies. Not all of Big Canoe is easily accessible when a Public Safety team member is needed, so emergency preparedness instruction can be the difference between life and death, Capt. Rice says.

“When you have folks who do good quality CPR or are trained to provide the sort of first aid that’s needed right away on the spot, it really can help to save lives,” Capt. Rice explains.

Since the partnership’s first CPR class in January 2023, more than 126 people in Big Canoe have been certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

When someone needs CPR or some form of first aid, having an individual trained in basic emergency preparedness dramatically increases the survival rates, he added.

“Having these classes with the Wellness Collaborative will continue to help ensure the safety of everyone in Big Canoe,” Capt. Rice says.

To register for the upcoming classes, email Please select the class that interests you along with a lot number, 911 address, phone number and email address.

Grounds & Landscaping to Plant 25 New Oaks in Big Canoe

Perhaps the most important plant in the Big Canoe ecosystem, the trusty oak tree is getting a little help from Big Canoe Grounds & Landscaping with a planting project that kicks off this month.

With assistance from the Alliance for International Reforestation, crews are planting 25 trees in the Wildcat and McDaniel Meadows areas based on recommendations of forest ecologist and former Georgia ForesetWatch executive director Jess Riddle. By adding indigenous trees such as the white, red, scarlet, and shumard oaks to the area, the effort will enhance the diversity of the greenery, which is something the ecologist proposed.

Although the oaks in Big Canoe are not in decline, their population is not increasing at its normal steady rate, says Mathew Parks, POA Grounds & Landscape manager. A range of environmental factors have contributed to the situation. Another issue is that many animals, including Big Canoe’s robust deer population, munch on oak saplings before they get a chance to establish themselves. As a result, the oak tree population could use the assist.

“The oak tree is one of the main food sources for most animals in the forest,” says Mathew, “So having a healthy and diverse population here is important.”

Winter is Coming: How to Best Prepare Your Water Line for the Cold Weather

By Big Canoe Public Safety

As Jack Frost has made his presence felt with the recent icier temperatures, now is a great time to refresh your winter preparedness checklist in case we’re hit with any power outages or impassable roads.

In addition to keeping food, water, and prescription medicines in full supply, checking your home’s mainline water valve function is a good idea. December 2022 saw record-low temperatures in Georgia, which caused many water lines to freeze and break in our area. Not only was the property damage significant, but the hassle and time-consuming delays involved with the insurance claims process were another headache.

Here are two simple tips for avoiding such scenarios:

Turn your main water supply line off if you plan on being away from home for an extended period. Even if the weather is warm when you leave, we may encounter damaging cold before you return. If you don’t know where your main valve is located, a service call from a plumber or the utility provider will help you find it and test it.
Have a plumber install a water leak and automatic shut-off valve on your home. With this addition to your system, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn off your mainline and any damage will be minimal if your pipes spring a leak behind a wall or in someplace hidden from view.

As always, if you have questions about your water service, contact Utilities Inc. of Georgia, the water utility that services Big Canoe, at 706-268-3400 or email

Wildflower Bunch November 2023 Updates

By Jocelyn Smith

In October, the Wildflower Bunch was excited to unveil A Survey in Progress “Plants of Big Canoe,” one of the club’s many initiatives this year led by our President B. Marr. Thanks to Marr and her wildflower enthusiast volunteers, WFB began an ongoing project to discover and catalog many of the plants found in Big Canoe for all WFB garden members to enjoy and reference.

Over the past year, a group of wildflower enthusiasts have been working to identify and photograph all of the plants found in the Big Canoe public areas. Access to the full survey can be found on the website at where members can enter with a secure password.

Before beginning the survey presentation, Marr announced several club donations that were given to multiple organizations and groups. Due to the success of events this year, WFB was able to give $1,500 to the Big Canoe Trails Committee. We appreciate all of the efforts and hard work the trails volunteers do to keep our community a natural and safe environment to explore and enjoy. In addition, $1,250 of “real nature spirit” books were donated to the Big Canoe library and two elementary schools in memory of Cheryl Jones, WFB’s past President who passed away unexpectedly this year.

Marr began her presentation by explaining that this special survey began as a desire by Wildflower enthusiasts to catalog plants located in Big Canoe public areas within the gates as well as Eagle’s Rest Park and Terraces. This was a renewed effort that began in 2021 and was rekindled in February 2023. Thousands of steps and many miles of hiking were completed by the volunteers who undertook this love of identifying the many different plant species in our community.

With an undaunting passion for plants, much like The Pollen Path, a Navajo Myths Collection written by Margaret Schevill, the enthusiasts echoed the following verse:

In beauty, I walk:

With beauty before me, I walk.

With beauty behind me, I walk.

With beauty above me, I walk.

With beauty below me, I walk.

With beauty all around me, I walk.

With beauty within me, I walk.

It is finished in beauty.

Marr referenced many resources to accomplish cataloging the plants including:

Picture This – a plant identifier app

Georgia Native Wildflowers and Plants Facebook group

Georgia Native Plant Society Facebook group

Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Georgia and Surrounding States, Linda G. Chafin

Wildflowers of Atlantic Southeast, Laura Cotterman, Damon Waitt, and Alan Weakley

The selected categories of plants to locate and photograph were many. Marr highlighted a few Species Differentiation plants that are very close relatives but uniquely different from one another. A personal challenge was the identity of the Mountain Mint that has small unique nuances difficult to decipher. Some popular and less difficult plants to find included the Spicebush, Violets, and what she “affectionately” noted, the Big Bloomers. There were many “Spring Showoffs” featured as well as “One Hit Wonders.” Even some Parasitic or partially parasitic plants were found and admired for their unique dependency on other plants to survive. “Summer Hotshots” were a favorite of the audience, as well as milkweeds including non-natives that seem to thrive in our Georgia mountains. Even native weeds with delicate blooms, some as small as a dime and hard to find on the forest floor, were highlighted. Other categories included: Fruits and Berries, and Grasses – good ones and bad ones.

According to the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council (EPPC) Invasive Plant list there are three category levels of invasive plants.

An exotic plant that poses serious problems to Georgia’s natural areas by displacing native species.
An exotic plant that is a moderate problem of doing the same but to a lesser degree.
An exotic plant that is a minor problem in Georgia but has been a problem in adjacent states.

There are many invasive plants and Marr cautioned that they can be difficult to eradicate, so she encourages everyone to be careful to not introduce them to our local ecosystem. But she noted that some non-natives can be tolerated and enjoyed like the Butterfly Bush and Autumn Fern, both so popular among Big Canoe gardeners.

As Fall begins to peak, she encourages all of us to take a hike and enjoy the many plants still sprouting before the winter cold takes hold. Continue to enjoy fields of Goldenrod, Aster, Sunflower, Snakerot, White Turtlehead and Strawberry Bush found in our beautiful meadows and forests of Big Canoe.

WFB’s leadership will continue to explore and identify the many plants of our community, so look for updates to the survey, as this ongoing initiative is embraced by even more plant enthusiasts.

WFB reminds all members to mark their calendars for our final get-together on Nov. 15 at Woodbridge Tavern in Jasper for an amazing end-of-the-year celebratory lunch. Members can sign up to attend and select their food of choice via the WFB monthly e-blast.

The Big Canoe Wildflower Bunch is an active club of gardening enthusiasts who meet monthly to enjoy knowledgeable experts speaking on a full range of gardening related topics. In addition, the WFB, hosts and spearheads many special events, projects, luncheons and field trips to sites and businesses that center around gardening throughout the year.

The WFB club’s primary objectives include:

Preserving and protecting the integrity of our natural mountain environment and its native flora
Providing educative programs and experiences
Promoting conservation of our natural resources
Enhancing the beauty of our community
Providing philanthropic gifts to Big Canoe and the area

Membership information can be found on our website The cost for membership per year is $20 and is open to any Big Canoe resident throughout the year.

COME GROW WITH US and visit our website,, or Facebook page for real-time updates and future events.








Big Canoe Community Veterans Day Ceremony on Nov. 11

Source: North Georgia Veterans

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, the Big Canoe Community Veterans Day Ceremony will take place in the Big Canoe Chapel. The event is open to the entire community.

U.S. Congressman Rich McCormick will be the guest speaker. Dr. McCormick is a decorated Navy and Marine Corps military veteran and emergency room physician who proudly serves Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which includes all of Dawson County, in the House of Representatives. He also serves on the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Science, Space, and Technology committees as well as the select subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Please plan to arrive at 10:45 a.m. for this Veterans Day Program you don’t want to miss!

For additional info, write to

Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative to Present Three-Part Seminar Series on End-of-Life Planning

Source: Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative

When a death occurs or a health emergency strikes, loved ones experience stress or grief and often are overwhelmed. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether the necessary documents are in place to allow them to handle legal, financial and healthcare matters.

With that in mind, the Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative has organized a series of three presentations to ensure that you and your family are prepared for such contingencies.

The first presentation is in the Mountains View Room of the Clubhouse at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23. Part II is at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6. The third part will take place in spring 2024. For the full schedule and additional info, go to the Wellness Center website’s education page.

Wellness Collaborative board member Sharon McCoy, an attorney whose practice focuses on estate planning and elder law services, will be among those presenting at the seminars. Below, she answerd some questions about the sessions.

Q: What are the Pre-Plan or Family Crisis presentations from the Wellness Collaborative happening this fall and early winter?

This series is a call to action to encourage all residents of Big Canoe to provide their family with a plan instead of leaving them with a crisis.

Most of us are familiar with situations where folks don’t plan ahead for incapacity or death – and are without basic legal and medical documents. Too often, this failure to plan causes a crisis: a person had dementia and their family had to go to court for a guardianship because they didn’t have financial power of attorney; siblings couldn’t agree whether to remove a dying parent from life support and so the person just lingered because they didn’t have an advance directive for healthcare; a recent widow with stepchildren was understandably stressed because she didn’t know if her spouse had a will and what, if anything, she would inherit. These situations could have been avoided If these families had planned ahead.

Q: What will be covered in the first session?

The Oct. 23 seminar is designed to give a basic overview of these concepts as well as the legal and medical documents that will help simplify emergencies and avoid the need for court intervention. Robyn Hall, a social worker for Piedmont Plus 60 who has specialized in serving the senior population for nearly 20 years, will discuss the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare; Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR), and Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).

I will use real-life stories from my law practice to illustrate the importance of having the medical documents, as well as HIPPA Authorization; Financial Power of Attorney; Last Will and Testament; and reasons to consider a Trust as part of your estate plan.

Retired physician Dr. Sandy Carter will add a professional medical perspective on the use of these documents as well as be able to speak to a person’s mental capacity to create them.

Q: What will be covered in the second session?

The Nov. 6 session is a make-and-take workshop. Dr. Carter and I will provide copies of the official Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care for each participant and will assist attendees in completing the document on-site. We will walk attendees through the various decisions to be made in the Advance Directive, including the selection of your healthcare agent; important post-death decisions regarding autopsy, organ donation and final arrangements for your body; life-support treatment options; and your nomination of a guardian if a court determines one is necessary. Our goal is that you leave with a fully executed and witnessed document setting forth your end-of-life wishes to give to your family and medical providers so that they are aware of your end-of-life decisions when the need arises.

Q: Do I need to attend Part I in order to come to Part II?

A: While attending both presentations is recommended, the second session at will largely focus on completing a Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare, so those unable to come to the first session are still welcome. Please note that, unlike the first presentation, the workshop will have more limited seating than the earlier presentation.

Q: What will be covered in Part III?

The third presentation, to be held in early 2024, focuses on best positioning your financial world to provide for contingencies in the event of a disability, as well as simplify the settlement of your estate at the time of your death.  We will discuss the use of beneficiary designations, the ramifications of joint ownership of accounts, the importance of a financial power of attorney, the possibility of using Trust planning to avoid probate and protect assets, and the importance of having financial information readily available for your family.

Q: Do I need to bring anything?

If you’re married, we would encourage you to bring your spouse. You might also want to bring a notebook and pen to take notes.

 Q: How do I register and is there a cost?

There is no cost to attend any of these sessions and you can register by sending an email to


Senior F&B Manager Mihaela Hillhouse Selected as Rambo Scholarship Recipient

Please congratulate Mihaela Hillhouse, our Senior F&B Manager, for being chosen as a recipient of the 2023 Sally Burns Rambo Scholarship!

The prestigious scholarship provides financial support to female club managers interested in furthering their professional development. Recipients receive the tuition costs and travel expenses to attend their choice of one of the Club Management Association of America’s Business Management Institutes.

“Getting recognized by the Club Management Association of America is for me the highest professional achievement,” says Mihaela, who joined the Big Canoe POA in May 2022. “This is a dream come true.”

Mihaela traces the roots of her F&B career back to when she was a 3 ½ years old living in her native Romania. Eager to take care of a grandmother who was under the weather, Mihaela was instructed by her mother over the phone on how to boil eggs, which the girl served to her “Maya.” Although the youngster oozed pride over her first culinary foray, “how those eggs tasted, I cannot say,” Mihaela recalls.

Having worked in everything from a pizzeria to a water park to various clubs from New Jersey to Florida, Mihaela aspires to a greater leadership role and to ultimately run a property owner association.

“I have always loved taking care of people,” Mihaela says, “I enjoy the lasting impact I can have on someone’s life.”

Your Clubhouse is open – and a la carte!

Whether you’re up for a decadent midday meal, a health-wise option, or the best fries in North Georgia, we’ve got all your a la carte lunch and dinner options covered – deliciously – at the Clubhouse. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, and 5 p.m. to closing Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Enjoy classic dishes, from salmon BLT to bricked chicken, or test out one of Chef Michael’s inspired specials.

Did we mention the fries?

Don’t forget we also serve Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Make your reservations at

All the world’s a stage with Wolfscratch Performing Arts fall course lineup

Wolfscratch Performing Arts is in the thick of its fall semester with more classes filling out its schedule.

Among the upcoming Wolfscratch courses and opportunities for Property Owners to sharpen their theater arts skills:

Hank Kimmel

PLAYWRIGHTING WORKSHOP, with Hank Kimmel, Mountains View Room of the Clubhouse, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. The award-winning playwright, dramaturg, producer and founding member of Working Title Playwrights is teaching this introductory playwright course. Fee: $36

ACTING 201, with Jeffrey Kurtz, Wellness Studio in the Wellness Center, noon to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 30 through Nov. 11 – Jeffrey is a transplant from New York. He received his BA in Fine Arts at Brown University followed by a two-year conservatory program in New York City. Jeff is a former professional actor, director, producer and teacher who worked in theater, TV and film. Acting 201 requires completion of Acting 101 or an audition. Fee: $80. Info:

THEATRE/STAGE DANCE, with Bonnie East, Wellness Studio in the Wellness Center, 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursdays, Oct. 19 through Dec. 14 – Bonnie, founder of Wolfscratch Performing Arts, has 16 years of dance training and danced professionally in “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” She has choreographed and performed in musical theater programs and taught at performing arts venues. Class includes technique, dance combinations, mind-body connection and having fun for all levels of experience. Fee: $85. Info:

Other Wolfscratch courses on storytelling, long-form improv and writing are underway, some of which are open to new students.

Click here for more information on all programs, classes and workshops, details.