MountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times present ‘Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC’

MountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times present ‘Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC’

MountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times present ‘Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC’

Asheville, NC — MountainTrueMountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times team up to present “Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC” at Highland Brewing Company on Monday April 3 from 5-8 p.m. This is a free event, RSVP today: http://bit.ly/BeforeWeBurnAgain

Last year (2016), the Southeast experienced a historic wildfire season. Wildfires raged across north Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Firefighters from 21 states converged on the region to combat fires that ultimately burned more than 150,000 acres. In Tennessee, the Chimney Tops 2 fire destroyed sections of the city of Gatlinburg and claimed 14 lives. In North Carolina, the fires forced evacuation and threatened homes and human development.

Sponsored by French Broad Chocolates, Highland Brewing Co. and NOC — Nantahala Outdoor Center, this special event brings together leading experts in the fields of wildfire management, fire ecology, climate change and community planning to discuss the dangers and ecological benefits of wildfire, critical issues at play in last year’s historic wildfire season and appropriate, proactive responses and strategies to manage future wildfire phenomena, mitigate threats and economic impacts, and save human lives.

What: “Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC”
Who: Presented by MountainTrue and the Asheville Citizen-Times and sponsored by French Broad Chocolates, Highland Brewing Co. and NOC — Nantahala Outdoor Center
Where: Highland Brewing Company, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville, NC 28803
When: Monday, April 3, 2017, 5-8 p.m.

For details and to RSVP: http://bit.ly/BeforeWeBurnAgain

Expert Panelists:

Dr. Steve Norman, a research ecologist with US Forest Service Southern Research Station in Asheville, will discuss how climate and drought influence forests and wildfires in the Southern Appalachians. Steve earned his Ph.D. from Penn State where he studied how fire-climate relationships functioned over centuries in California based on evidence from fire scars in tree rings. In North Carolina, his more recent research has involved tracking spring and fall phenology from satellite, understanding drought impacts to forests, documenting the seasonality of eastern fire regimes, and addressing the tradeoffs of wildland fire management.

Adam Warwick is the fire and stewardship manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Southern Blue Ridge Program in Asheville and will discuss forest and wildfire management practices. At the Nature Conservancy, Adam manages a 15-person fire crew and about 12,000 acres in western North Carolina. He is from east Tennessee and holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from University of Tennessee and a Master of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Missouri. Adam has close to 15 years of experience monitoring wildlife and conserving habitats on public and private lands. Adam is an expert in using fire through controlled burning to perpetuate fire-dependent plant and animals throughout northern Florida and the Southern Appalachians.

Dr. Katie Greenberg, research ecologist with the USFS Southern Research Station at Bent Creek Experimental Forest, will discuss how fire affects wildlife and habitats in hardwood forests.  Katie’s research focuses on how natural or anthropogenic disturbances such fire, regeneration harvests, or windstorms affect forests, wildlife communities, and their food resources such as native fruits and acorns. Katie holds a Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Tennessee, and a PhD in Wildlife Ecology and a minor in Plant Ecology, from the University of Florida.  She has co-edited books on early successional habitats, and natural disturbances in hardwood forests.

Joan Walker is the campaigns director with MountainTrue and will discuss appropriate actions that communities, businesses and individuals can take to lower risks and exposure to wildfire. Joan earned her Master’s Degree in Geography with a focus on urban and regional planning from Appalachian State University. She is a contributing author to “Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future,” an American Planning Association report which focused on integrating climate change and energy issues into planning practice. Joan has worked as a building codes consultant and clean energy advocate with the NC Sustainable Energy Association and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and served as an energy fellow with UNC Asheville. Joan also currently serves on the Buncombe County Planning Board where she strives to incorporate sustainability and social equity into local planning policy.

Our Sponsors:

French Broad Chocolates, Asheville-based makers of sustainable bean-to-bakery chocolate, will provide hot chocolate and a dessert bar featuring their Highland Mocha Stout Cupcakes — a collaboration with Highland Brewing Company — and more. Additional food, beer and beverages will be available for purchase from Highland Brewing Company. Attendees will also have the opportunity to win two (2) Adventure Passes from Nantahala Outdoor Center valued at $79.99 each. The Nantahala Adventure Pass is hands-down the best value for a full day of outdoor fun. Combine four of NOC’s most popular activities — guided whitewater rafting on the crystal clear Nantahala river, Fontana Lake kayak and stand up paddleboards rentals, the Zip Line Adventure Park and mountain biking.

General admission is a suggested minimum donation of $10.

MountainTrue members get free admission.

For details and to RSVP: http://bit.ly/BeforeWeBurnAgain


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal

After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal

After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal

Jim Fox, Director of UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center, and Josh Kelly, Public Lands Field Biologist at MountainTrue, will discuss how climate change is impacting Western North Carolina at the Climate Collider on Monday, December 19 at 4 p.m..

In the wake of a historic wildfire season that has burned more than 150,000 acres throughout the Southeast, forced residents from their homes and cost the lives of 14 people in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the two speakers will address how climate change is affecting our region as well as strategies for mitigation and better management of our forests to reduce the threat of wildfires to human development. After their presentations, speakers will take questions from the crowd.

What: After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal
Who: Jim Fox, Director of UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center, and Josh Kelly, Public Lands Field Biologist at MountainTrue.
Where: Collider 1 Haywood St., Suite 401 (4th Floor Wells Fargo Building) Asheville, NC
When: Monday, December 19 at 4 p.m. to 6 p.m..
RSVP TO ATTEND: http://action.mountaintrue.org/page/s/after-the-fires

About Jim Fox
James (Jim) Fox is the Director for UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC). In that position, he serves as the team leader and principal investigator for several major collaborations, including the USDA Forest Service’s Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC), NOAA’s Climate Program Office and National Centers for Environmental Information, the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, and state, county, municipal, and regional governments in the southeastern United States. NEMAC uses visualizations, geographic information systems (GIS), web tools, and decision support tools to address key societal resilience issues that include climate change adaptation, forest health, flood mitigation, water resources, and future land use planning.

About Josh Kelly
Josh Kelly is MountainTrue’s Public Lands Field Biologist. He leads the organization’s work on the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Management Plan Revision, monitors logging and development issues on public land, and provides site-specific, scientific information to promote ecological restoration and better management practices. Prior to joining MountainTrue, Josh worked for the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, where he focused on identifying remnant old-growth forests on public land, and at WildLaw, where he worked to promote ecological restoration as the new paradigm of National Forest management. Josh has helped the Forest Service conduct rare plant surveys, save hemlocks from hemlock woolly adelgid, and design restoration projects, including the Grandfather Restoration Project.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival Comes to WNC for Sixth Year

Wild & Scenic Film Festival Comes to WNC for Sixth Year

Wild & Scenic Film Festival Comes to WNC for Sixth Year

MountainTrue is pleased to announce that it is hosting the sixth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., taking place at Sierra Nevada’s Mills River location on September 1.

Tickets available: http://bit.ly/WSFFWNC

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival features the year’s best nature, wilderness and outdoor adventure short films and is sponsored by Mountain Xpress, Blue Ridge Energy Systems, BorgWarner, Holly Spring Farm, JAG Construction and Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty. This year’s festival features 12 films covering a wide range of subjects from the story of our own Southern ancient stream-dwelling Hellbender salamander to rock climbing the Baatara Gorge in Lebanon to grassroots indigenous activism in Honduras.

  • Avaatara: The First Route Out – David Lama achieves first ascent of the Baatara Gorge in Lebanon, a surreal ‘Avatar’-like landscape, unexploited and untouched.
  • Leave it as it is – The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic landscapes on the planet, but this natural masterpiece of the Colorado River faces a battery of threats.
  • The Last Dragons – An intimate glimpse at North America’s Eastern Hellbender, an ancient salamander that lives as much in myth as in reality.
  • Diversity & Inclusion in our Wild Spaces – A campfire discussion on improving the diversity of both the visitation and the employment within our parks and wild spaces and brings light to important issues facing today’s conservation movement.
  • Mile for Mile – A trio of professional ultrarunners travel 106 miles through the newly opened Patagonia Park in Chile to celebrate and highlight Conservacion Patagonica’s efforts to re-wild this vast landscape.
  • Co2ld Waters – Five of the most respected names in the fly fishing world converge on a single creek in Montana to talk about their passion and to discuss the single biggest threat to their timeless pursuit, climate change.
  • Parker’s Top 50 Favorite Things about Northwest Rivers – This fun film celebrates the best things about Northwest rivers from a kid’s perspective.
  • In Current – Rowing a dory in the Grand Canyon is considered by some as the most coveted job in the world. Amber Shannon has been boating the Grand Canyon nine years, trying to work her way from the baggage boat to a dory, while spending as many days as possible in current.
  • Comes with Baggage – This lighthearted history of bicycle travel in the Americas makes you want to sell all your possessions, quit your job and escape on a bike.
  • Mother of All Rivers – Berta Cáceres rallied her indigenous Lenca people to wage a grassroots protest that successfully pressured the government of Honduras and the world’s largest Chinese dam builder, SinoHydro, to withdraw from building the Agua Zarca Dam. Narrated by Robert Redford.
  • The Thousand Year Journey – Jedidiah Jenkins quit a job that he loved to ride his bicycle from Oregon to the southern tip of Patagonia. Friend and filmmaker Kenny Laubbacher joined him for a month and a half to pose the question “why?”
  • The Accidental Environmentalist – John Wathen was just an average guy until coming into contact with toxic chemicals, stumbling upon a video camera, and discovering his passion for protecting Alabama’s waters.

Our Wild & Scenic festival is a selection of films from the annual festival held in Nevada City, CA which is now in its 14th year. The festival focuses on films that speak to the environmental concerns and celebrations of our planet, and works to build a network of grassroots organizations connected by the common goal of using film to inspire activism.

The 2016 Wild & Scenic festival will take place under the open sky at Sierra Nevada’s new outdoor amphitheater located on the banks of the French Broad River at their Mills River brewery. The event begins at 7 p.m.; show starts at 8 p.m. Get there early to grab a drink, explore the gardens and snag a prime viewing spot for the main event!

WHEN: September 1
WHERE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – 100 Sierra Nevada Way, Fletcher, NC 28732
Price: General Admission $15; $10 for students

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is made possible by the support of national partners: Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Orion Magazine, Klean Kanteen, Earthjustice, and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. There will be door prize giveaways, silent auction items and chances to win premium raffle prizes generously donated by our sponsors. Tickets can be purchased at http://bit.ly/WSFFWNC.

For more information, contact Susan Bean, susan@mountaintrue.org, (828) 258-8737 or mountaintrue.org.

About MountainTrue MountainTrue fosters and empowers communities throughout the region and engages in policy and project advocacy, outreach and education, and on the ground projects. To achieve our goals, MountainTrue focuses on a core set of issues across 23 counties of Western North Carolina: sensible land use, restoring public forests, protecting water quality and promoting clean energy – all of which have a high impact on the environmental health and long-term prosperity of our residents. MountainTrue is the home of the Watauga Riverkeeper, the primary watchdog and spokesperson for the Elk and Watauga Rivers; the French Broad Riverkeeper, the primary protector and defender of the French Broad River watershed; and Broad River Alliance, a Waterkeeper Affiliate working to promote fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters in the Broad River Basin. For more information: mountaintrue.org

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Festival Tickets on Sale

Get your tickets to the 2016 Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Sierra Nevada before they sell out.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Sept. 29: Creation Care Alliance General Meeting

Sept. 29: Creation Care Alliance General Meeting

10/29: Creation Care Alliance General Meeting

First Baptist Church
5 Oak Street, Asheville
October 29, 5:30-7pm
All are welcome.

Special Guests Greg Yost from Circle of Mercy Congregation and Steve Norris will discuss how Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) tries to inform and infuse their political and environmental action with moral and spiritual power. Most recently, BXE organized an 18-day Fast For No New Permits in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington DC.

Steve and Greg will also provide background on how the issues Beyond Extreme Energy organizes around fit into the larger climate justice picture and how others may become involved. Steve and Greg have worked together on many projects since first getting to know one another in jail following a 2012 Bank Of America protest in Charlotte. Steve is a builder from Fairview and was formerly an instructor at Warren Wilson College teaching courses in environmentalism and social justice history. Greg is from Mars Hill and is a high school math teacher.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Save the Date! Sunday, October 18: Protect Our Land Picnic

Save the Date! Sunday, October 18: Protect Our Land Picnic

Save the date! The Carolina Land Coalition is having a Protect Our Land Picnic on Sunday, October 18, 2-5 PM. Attend this family-friendly event to enjoy food, fun and take action challenging Duke Energy’s plans!

Date/time: Sunday, October 18, 2-5pm

Location: Historic Henderson County Courthouse, Hendersonville

Who should attend: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, because even if power lines won’t run through your property or community, we’ll all pay for this $1.1 billion plan through our utility rates.

Purpose: Stand in unity against Duke Energy’s Western Carolina’s “Modernization” plan and tell elected officials and utility regulators that we oppose this plan. Get up to speed on the latest developments and know all your options for making your voice heard!

Want to help? Sign up to volunteer or donate to help make this event great!


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Fall Scenery Hike with Bob Gale

10/6: Fall Scenery Hike with Bob Gale

Fall-Scenery-HileJoin MountainTrue Ecologist & Public Lands Director Bob Gale for a Fall Scenery Hike to remember. We’ll be doing a light trek on the Pilot Cove Loop up to a rock face with a beautiful vista. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see some migrating monarch butterflies surfing the warm thermal wind over the outcrop. Though monarch populations have suffered in recent years, we’ve seen a few more this year. So, keep your fingers crossed. Bob will discuss the challenges to their incredible migrating journey, and will also interpret the flora and fauna along the way.

Click here to register for the event.

This is a 3-3/4 mile round-trip loop, which begins along a creek, goes through old growth and other forest communities, and offers distant views. Bob will discuss forestry practices and guide you on walk through a beaver-altered habitat.

Hiking (and resting time): approximately 4 hours. Involves an initial short if somewhat steep climb and a couple of short uphill climbs along a ridge before descending for the second half of the trip.

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Meet at Earthfare in the Westgate Shopping Center, 66 Westgate Pkwy, Asheville
Cost: Free
Registration Deadline: Monday, October 5th at NOON

Click here to register for the event.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.