Illustrated Map As The Clue To An Area’s Culture And History

Similar to great works in literature, an adventure can start from Illustrated Maps that include clues to the area’s natural beauty and cultural resources. In order to create an illustrated map, there must be a unique individual who has the talent for creativity but also a gifted cartographer and proficient researcher. Kenneth Czarnomski from Haywood County is an architect by profession but his passion for the outdoors was translated into careers as an educator, naturalist, artist and now a map illustrator.

Czarnomski and his wife Donna travelled recently to Ireland and discovered the unique way through which the locals introduce their culture to visitors. The Irish have invested on producing beautiful illustrated maps that goes beyond providing directions; it introduces visitors to sites with cultural and historical significance. Czarnomski was surprised why such maps were not used in the United States particularly since they can be efficiently used for exploring. An idea came to him; he can do an illustrated map for Haywood County.

Czarnomski took his idea to Lynn Collins, the executive director of Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. He was surprised because the director was interested in collaborating for the project. Lynn agreed to sponsor the map as long as it meets the requirements of nationalist certification final project. An agreement was made for the first run of 200 maps.

The first illustrated map was a beautiful detailed piece of Purchase Knob that showed its trees, flowers, log cabins and other things that can be seen on the trail. The original run of 200 maps quickly run out and required additional printing because it became quite popular among the locals and tourists. People buy the illustrated map to use for the day hike after which it is framed as souvenir.

The reaction to the Illustrated Maps was really amazing particularly since the locals started to discover new things that would not be possible without the maps. In addition to the Illustrated Maps of Purchase Knob, a similar map was made for Sam Knob in the Pisgah Forest. The third map for Plott-Balsam area is currently in progress. The maps can take years to produce because it requires a lot of research and hiking into the area.