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Making a Difference in the Blue Ridge Mountains: MountainTrue and Sugar Hollow Solar Join Forces

Making a Difference in the Blue Ridge Mountains: MountainTrue and Sugar Hollow Solar Join Forces

Making a Difference in the Blue Ridge Mountains: MountainTrue and Sugar Hollow Solar Join Forces

Photos: MountainTrue Executive Director Bob Wagner (left) and Sugar Hollow Solar CEO and co-founder Doug Ager (right). 

Something exciting is brewing in the heart of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains — a new collaboration between MountainTrue, an organization deeply rooted in environmental activism, and Sugar Hollow Solar, a forward-thinking solar power company. This partnership isn’t just about harnessing the sun’s energy; it’s about fostering a community committed to a greener, more sustainable future.

 

Solar Power and Community Empowerment: A Winning Combination

From now until September 30, 2024, Sugar Hollow Solar is running an inspiring referral program. For every new customer who signs a solar contract based on your referral, Sugar Hollow Solar will generously donate $50 to MountainTrue. And that’s not all – as a token of appreciation, you, the referrer, will receive $250. But if you’re feeling particularly generous, you can opt to have the full $300 benefit go to MountainTrue, further boosting their vital environmental efforts.

 

More Than Just a Business

Doug Ager, the CEO and co-founder of Sugar Hollow Solar, puts it best: “We’re more than a business. We’re part of the community, committed to our planet.” This ethos is why Sugar Hollow Solar’s partnership with MountainTrue is such a perfect match. Together, we are working towards a clean energy future, a mission that MountainTrue has championed since its early days.

 

A Legacy of Environmental Protection

MountainTrue’s journey began in 1982 with the Western North Carolina Alliance’s (renamed MountainTrue after a merger in 2015) fight against oil and gas exploration in the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests. The organization has achieved significant victories in the years since, including stopping clear-cutting in Pisgah-Nantahala National Forests, preventing a nuclear waste dump near Leicester, and playing a key role in passing essential environmental legislation.

 

A Heartfelt Thanks

Bob Wagner, MountainTrue’s executive director, expresses profound gratitude to the team at Sugar Hollow Solar. He highlights Doug Ager’s commitment to public service, green job creation, and tackling climate change – core components of MountainTrue’s mission.

 

Join the Solar Movement

Since 2010, Sugar Hollow Solar has been instrumental in helping many Southern Blue Ridge mountain households switch to solar power, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Their expertise in solar panel systems has made a significant impact across several counties — as of February 22, 2024, 977 home and business systems have been installed since 2010!

 

How to Get Involved

To be a part of this impactful program, visit Sugar Hollow Solar’s Referral Page, send an email to hello@sugarhollowsolar.com, or give them a call at (828) 776-9161. Together, we can make a difference in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond.

Press Release: MountainTrue Partners with Sugar Hollow Solar to Make a Positive Impact on the Environment

Press Release: MountainTrue Partners with Sugar Hollow Solar to Make a Positive Impact on the Environment

For immediate release: February 22, 2024

Solar Referral Program provides donations to MountainTrue — a local grassroots environmental organization.

Western North Carolina — MountainTrue, a local environmental nonprofit, is partnering with Sugar Hollow Solar to promote solar power and raise program funding to champion and protect resilient forests, clean waters, and healthy communities throughout the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. 

From now through September 30, 2024, for every new customer referral that signs a solar contract with Sugar Hollow Solar, the company will donate $50 to MountainTrue to help fund their work protecting our environment and provide the referrer with $250. Exceptionally generous referrers can have Sugar Hollow Solar contribute the full $300 referral benefit to MountainTrue. 

“At Sugar Hollow Solar, we’re more than a business,” says Doug Ager, Sugar Hollow Solar’s CEO and co-founder. “We pride ourselves on our unwavering commitment to our community and planet. That’s why Sugar Hollow Solar is thrilled to partner with MountainTrue — a grassroots organization that has been instrumental in moving our region beyond coal and toward a clean energy future. Through our referral program, we hope to raise awareness of and funding for them to continue doing their good work.”

MountainTrue was formed through a merger of three nonprofits in 2015 but has been working to protect our regions since the founding of the Western North Carolina Alliance in 1982 to fight oil and gas exploration in the Nantahala – Pisgah National Forests. Since that time, the organization has racked up an impressive list of successes, including stopping the practice of clear-cutting in the Asheville watershed and Pisgah-Nantahala National Forests, preventing the siting of a nuclear waste dump outside Leicester, NC, and helping to pass the Clean Smokestacks Act and the Coal Ash Management Act — which mandated that Duke Energy clean up its coal ash in Asheville and 13 other powerplants throughout North Carolina.    

“I want to thank the team at Sugar Hollow Solar,” says Bob Wagner, executive director at MountainTrue. “Doug Ager has a long family history of public service. With Sugar Hollow Solar, that mission has expanded to creating green jobs and tackling climate change — a central focus of our work.”   

Sugar Hollow Solar was founded in 2010 and has helped offset 21 million pounds of coal used by homes, businesses, and nonprofits, and has generated 27.95 gigawatts of clean energy — the equivalent of planting 330,000 trees. Sugar Hollow Solar serves the communities of Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. 

To learn more about how to participate in Sugar Hollow Solar’s referral program, visit sugarhollowsolar.com/introduce-a-friend, email hello@sugarhollowsolar.com, or reach out by phone at (828) 776-9161.

# # #

High Country Outreach Manager Position

High Country Outreach Manager Position

High Country Outreach Manager
Boone, NC
Apply Now

Position Description

MountainTrue is seeking an individual to fill an Outreach Manager position in our High Country Regional Office based in Boone, NC. This is a full-time position (40hrs/week). This person will be primarily responsible for community organizing, environmental outreach, and volunteer management for nonnative invasive plant (NNIP) control and other projects in the High Country region. The ideal candidate will be passionate about STEM education, community engagement, and habitat restoration. The NNIP work requires working alone and periodically coordinating/supervising volunteers to perform various control treatments on NNIP populations on public lands where MountainTrue works. The ideal candidate will have strong communication skills to train volunteers on NNIP identification, control methods, inventories, and safety. This position will report to the High Country Regional Director but will work closely with the High Country Watershed Coordinator on day-to-day activities. 

Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with community partners to conduct public education events 
  • Plan and schedule educational lessons with local school groups 
  • Support broader event planning in the High Country (livestaking, river clean-ups, river snorkeling, etc.)
  • Table at local community events 
  • Expand partnerships with local community groups across sustainability sectors 
  • Organize and plan annual volunteer appreciation event and assist with MountainTrue’s annual gathering 
  • Assist with occasional coordination needs of citizen science water quality programs 
  • Plan and host NNIP removal workdays within the New and Watauga Watersheds 
  • Foster partnerships with community leaders, organizations, and residents to build a strong network 
  • Work with other environmental organizations, NGOs, and stakeholders to form coalitions 
  • Mobilize community members for actions such as petitions and public hearings 
  • Utilize social media, newsletters, and community meetings to keep stakeholders informed and engaged 

Preferred qualifications/skills

  • Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal skills 
  • Ability to work across political, social, and economic lines
  • Experience working with communities of color is a plus 
  • Ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs
  • Comfortable speaking in front of small and large groups of diverse ages
  • Ability to meet physical demands of paddling, hiking and outdoor work (must be able to swim, or willing to learn) 
  • GIS skills for priority community mapping and project management (or willing to obtain) 
  • Wilderness First Aid and CPR Certification (or willing to obtain) 
  • NC Pesticide Applicator License (or willing to obtain) 
  • Organizing experience and training (or willing to obtain through Midwest Academy or other) 
  • Ability to learn quickly, thoroughly comprehend, and disseminate new STEM-related programmatic content 
  • Understanding of regional water quality/land use issues and connection to native biota 
  • Ability to work outdoors in a variety of conditions 
  • Fundraising experience, including grant writing and individual/business solicitations

Compensation & benefits

  • $44,720 annual salary 
  • Medical/Dental Benefits 
  • 4 weeks paid vacation 
  • Paid sabbatical after five years
  • Continuing Education 

How to Apply

Email resume, cover letter, and three references to High Country Regional Director Andy Hill at andy@mountaintrue.org

 

Application deadline: Friday, March 15, 2024

 

MountainTrue is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate among its employees or job applicants on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed, color, religion, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, marital status, pregnancy or parental status, military/veteran status, or any other class protected by applicable state or federal law.

MountainTrue’s February 2024 E-Newsletter

MountainTrue’s February 2024 E-Newsletter

MountainTrue’s

February 2024 E-Newsletter

February news from MountainTrue’s four regional offices:  

Central Region News

Click here to read

High Country News

Click here to read

Southern Region News

Click here to read

Western Region News

Click here to read

Central Region News

A message from Executive Director Bob Wagner: 

Although still in the throes of winter, January has roared into February, and we can see spring on the not-too-distant horizon. The MountainTrue team is busy planning, preparing, and organizing this winter. Even when the nights are long, our staff and volunteers are addressing critical issues — like adding more housing while minimizing environmental impact; relaunching an improved French Broad Paddle Trail website; eliminating the prevalence of single-use plastics that are clogging our waterways and threatening human health; addressing a flawed Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan so that our children can experience old growth forests and rich ecosystems; and removing dams to restore river health. These campaigns often take years to plan and accomplish, but ultimately, they’re worth it to protect our amazing forests, rivers, and mountains. We couldn’t do this work without continued support from our volunteers, donors, and advocates — thank you for joining us on this journey in 2024!

Photo: Part of the Nantahala National Forest within the scope of the Southside Timber Project. Photo credit: Will Harlan, Center for Biological Diversity, via Michaela Gregory of the Southern Environmental Law Center.

MountainTrue & coalition partners file lawsuit to protect sensitive habitat in Nantahala National Forest

MountainTrue is part of a coalition of conservation groups that filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service to prevent the agency from logging a sensitive area of the Nantahala National Forest in violation of federal law. The lawsuit was filed on the morning of January 31 in the federal district court for the Western District of North Carolina by the Southern Environmental Law Center and addresses the Southside Timber Project, which aims to log areas near the Whitewater River in the Nantahala National Forest. The landscape boasts stunning waterfalls, towering oak trees, and critical habitat for rare species. Read more in this letter by Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly.

Photo: MountainTrue Western Region Program Coordinator Tony Ward (left) and Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly (right) with a 304-year-old white oak tree at risk of logging at the Crossover Project in Cherokee County.

Protecting old-growth forests

One of the major disappointments of the new Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan was the lack of any formal protection for existing old-growth forests, so it was great news that the Biden Administration announced on December 19, 2023, a proposal to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on federal lands nationwide. This largely means making those forests more resilient to wildfire in the arid West. Here in the East, that work is also important, but logging by the Forest Service itself is more commonly a threat than fire. The proposal is to amend all 128 Forest Plans to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on National Forest land. In the meantime, all actions that could negatively impact old-growth forests would need the review and approval of the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service. The comment period for the Executive Order closed on February 2, and MountainTrue submitted a petition signed by more than 600 supporters in favor of greater protections for old growth and technical comments in partnership with the Southern Environmental Law Center. 

We’re excited to announce our 1st Native Plant & Shrub Sale in Asheville!

The sale will open online on February 15 and will run through March 31, 2024, featuring native plants and shrubs grown by Carolina Native Nursery (think azaleas and more!). Proceeds from the sale will benefit MountainTrue. Orders will be available for pickup on Thursday, April 11, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. ONLY, unless prior arrangements have been made. We hope you’re as excited about this as we are! What better way to get a head start on Earth Day than by showing your yard and resident pollinators a little local love?!

 

Save the date: cheers to trivia & good brews for MountainTrue

Beat the winter blues and join us for trivia and the River Arts District Brewing Company’s MountainTrue Beer Launch: Dream of Conscience at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. Come drink some good brews and enjoy fresh pizza from Smokees Pizza.

 

Recording available: Why should environmentalists support building more housing?

MountainTrue’s Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program recently hosted a free webinar to educate folks about the regional and environmental benefits of building small homes and multi-family buildings close to our town centers. If you missed the webinar or want to rewatch, check out the recording on our YouTube.

New French Broad Paddle Trail website

The French Broad Paddle Trail has a new website! Created and maintained by MountainTrue’s French Broad Riverkeeper program, the new website covers access, camping, and general recreation information for the French Broad River between Rosman, NC, and Newport, TN. Check it out at www.frenchbroadpaddle.com and contact Jack Henderson at jack@mountaintrue.org with questions. 

Hike with Get Outside WNC to support MountainTrue!

MountainTrue is honored to be the Winter 2024 Beneficiary of Get Outside WNC, a local organization created by West Henderson High School senior Jenna Watson. Jenna is raising money for MountainTrue this winter by leading group hikes on scenic trails. Jenna’s hikes cost $10 per person and run through March 3, so join her outside! Jenna started Get Outside WNC to expose hikers to the physical and mental benefits of hiking. She says, “By sharing the beauty of our local environment with both new and seasoned hikers, I hope to spread my passion for nature, build community, and raise awareness of the fragility of the WNC environment.” So far, Jenna has led hikes to raise money for MountainTrue at Bearwallow Mountain, Moore Cove, and Triple and High Falls. Get Outside WNC’s upcoming hikes include:

  •  Raven Cliff Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 18, near the North and South Carolina border in Caesars Head State Park
  • Twin Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, in Pisgah National Forest

Sign up and learn more about upcoming hikes here. And be sure to follow Jenna and Get Outside WNC on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube!

 

 

 

Green Sage x MountainTrue

MountainTrue is excited to be the 2024 recipient of Green Sage’s annual donation program. Bring your reusable Green Sage glass juice bottles and coffee mugs to any Green Sage location they’ll donate 10 cents to MountainTrue each time! Learn more about this program here.

 

Summer ‘24 internship opportunities

  1. French Broad Water Quality Internships: MountainTrue’s French Broad Riverkeeper and Clean Water team are hiring two French Broad Water Quality Interns for summer 2024. Both French Broad Water Quality Interns will assist our team with a variety of tasks needed to help improve ecosystem health within the French Broad River Basin. Both positions are based out of our Asheville office, with travel throughout the French Broad Watershed. Click here to learn more and apply by March 30!
  2. Western Region Water Quality Intern: MountainTrue’s Western Regional Office is hiring one Water Quality Intern for summer 2024. The intern’s primary responsibilities will be to assist with collection and analysis of weekly E. coli samples for our Swim Guide monitoring program; to manage the microplastics sampling program in the Hiwassee River basin; planning a summertime social event for all MountainTrue water program volunteers; and helping with educational events related to water quality in rivers, lakes, and streams. The intern must live within 50 miles of Murphy, NC, as the majority of their work will be within that 50-mile radius. Click here to learn more and apply by March 30!

 

Buncombe County Parks & Recreation wants your input

Buncombe County Parks and Recreation’s first systemwide plan is on the horizon. Community members can help guide the future of Buncombe County parks, recreational opportunities, greenways, trails, and open spaces.

Public community meeting: March 21 at Enka High School in Candler, NC (475 Enka Lake Road) from 5-7 p.m.

This community meeting will be interactive, so participants should come prepared to participate in various community parks and recreation, greenways, trails, and open space planning exercises. Language services will be available to Spanish-speaking community members.

 

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Buncombe, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania, and Yancey counties, as well as several other counties across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

High Country News

A message from High Country Regional Director & Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill: 

Winter is the perfect time to set the groundwork for the warmer months, and we’re so excited to have more events and outings than ever before in 2024. If you can’t wait until then, we understand, so join us on some of our upcoming volunteer workdays! We appreciate your support, whether it’s your time, money, or advocacy; you help us keep this good work going.

Photo: Part of the Nantahala National Forest within the scope of the Southside Timber Project. Photo credit: Will Harlan, Center for Biological Diversity, via Michaela Gregory of the Southern Environmental Law Center.

MountainTrue & coalition partners file lawsuit to protect sensitive habitat in Nantahala National Forest

MountainTrue is part of a coalition of conservation groups that filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service to prevent the agency from logging a sensitive area of the Nantahala National Forest in violation of federal law. The lawsuit was filed on the morning of January 31 in the federal district court for the Western District of North Carolina by the Southern Environmental Law Center and addresses the Southside Timber Project, which aims to log areas near the Whitewater River in the Nantahala National Forest. The landscape boasts stunning waterfalls, towering oak trees, and critical habitat for rare species. Read more in this letter by Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly.

Photo: MountainTrue Western Region Program Coordinator Tony Ward (left) and Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly (right) with a 304-year-old white oak tree at risk of logging at the Crossover Project in Cherokee County.

Protecting old-growth forests

One of the major disappointments of the new Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan was the lack of any formal protection for existing old-growth forests, so it was great news that the Biden Administration announced on December 19, 2023, a proposal to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on federal lands nationwide. This largely means making those forests more resilient to wildfire in the arid West. Here in the East, that work is also important, but logging by the Forest Service itself is more commonly a threat than fire. The proposal is to amend all 128 Forest Plans to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on National Forest land. In the meantime, all actions that could negatively impact old-growth forests would need the review and approval of the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service. The comment period for the Executive Order closed on February 2, and MountainTrue submitted a petition signed by more than 600 supporters in favor of greater protections for old growth and technical comments in partnership with the Southern Environmental Law Center. 

Photo: Legendary High Country Intern Emma Crider stoked on planting live stakes at a recent volunteer workday.

Livestaking season is officially back and better than ever!

This season, we’re focusing our efforts on the old Ward’s Mill Dam site for continued post-removal restoration work. The dam has been removed for over three years now, and we’re thankful to be able to continue repairing the vegetative buffer thanks to support from TVA’s Shade Your Stream program and the Tennessee River Basin Network. Bring the family out to enjoy some much-needed outside time and meet our High Country team! Upcoming live staking workdays include: 

  • Friday, February (11AM-2PM)
  • Saturday, February 17 (10AM-2PM)
  • Saturday, March 23 (10 AM-2PM) 
  • Friday, April 5 (11-2PM)

 

Save the bats!

Check out this article in the Watauga Democrat: NCWRC accepting public comments on plan for endangered species found in Watauga, Avery. Learn more about how the new Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan negatively affects several endangered bat species in this press release published by MountainTrue and our conservation coalition partners last July. Stay tuned for more news about this and other public lands issues in upcoming MountainTrue e-newsletters and on our social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter).

Photo: Middle Fork Trash Trout (left) and Winklers Creek Trash Trout (right) after recent heavy storms.

Trash Trout updates

After some wicked January storms came through the High Country, our team bundled up and got out in the water to tend to our Trash Trouts. While they all remained stable and in place, some intense log jams prevented easy passage and efficient litter collection. We cleared out both the Winklers Creek and Middle Fork Trash Trouts just in time for another storm system to move in. Thank you to all of the partners, volunteers, and community members who allow us to continue monitoring these wonderful litter collection devices!

 

VWIN sampling in the High Country

While the High Country team was ringing in the new year, we were also organizing and welcoming our new group of VWIN (Volunteer Water Information Network) volunteers into the volunteer family! We know 2024 will be the best VWIN year yet, and we thank all of our volunteers who make community science programs like this possible! With new sites added and some new friends taking over, we have a fun and busy year ahead of us! 

VWIN Volunteers directly support widespread, frequent, and long-term surface water monitoring, allowing us to keep tabs on our overall water chemistry. If you would like to donate or become a backup volunteer to support the continued monitoring of our watershed, please contact hannah@mountaintrue.org.

 

Recording available: Why should environmentalists support building more housing?

MountainTrue’s Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program recently hosted a free webinar to educate folks about the regional and environmental benefits of building small homes and multi-family buildings close to our town centers. If you missed the webinar or want to rewatch, check out the recording on our YouTube.

Southern Region News

Update: Clear Creek action alert

The NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is currently accepting public comments on Draft NPDES Permit No. NC0090247 — which would violate the Clean Water Act by allowing Henderson County to construct a new wastewater treatment plant in Edneyville that could discharge up to 200,000 gallons of wastewater per day into a stream that is already listed as impaired and significantly impacted by pollution. Take action to protect water quality by:

💧Attending the public hearing in Hendersonville, NC, from 6-8 p.m. TODAY (February 5) and asking DEQ to deny Draft NPDES Permit No. NC0090247.

💧Sending a letter to DEQ to let them know you oppose the draft permit and a separate letter to the Henderson County Commission urging them to clean up Clear Creek and connect Edneyville to Hendersonville’s existing sewer system.

Photo: Part of the Nantahala National Forest within the scope of the Southside Timber Project. Photo credit: Will Harlan, Center for Biological Diversity, via Michaela Gregory of the Southern Environmental Law Center.

MountainTrue & coalition partners file lawsuit to protect sensitive habitat in Nantahala National Forest

MountainTrue is part of a coalition of conservation groups that filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service to prevent the agency from logging a sensitive area of the Nantahala National Forest in violation of federal law. The lawsuit was filed on the morning of January 31 in the federal district court for the Western District of North Carolina by the Southern Environmental Law Center and addresses the Southside Timber Project, which aims to log areas near the Whitewater River in the Nantahala National Forest. The landscape boasts stunning waterfalls, towering oak trees, and critical habitat for rare species. Read more in this letter by Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly.

Photo: MountainTrue Western Region Program Coordinator Tony Ward (left) and Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly (right) with a 304-year-old white oak tree at risk of logging at the Crossover Project in Cherokee County.

Protecting old-growth forests

One of the major disappointments of the new Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan was the lack of any formal protection for existing old-growth forests, so it was great news that the Biden Administration announced on December 19, 2023, a proposal to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on federal lands nationwide. This largely means making those forests more resilient to wildfire in the arid West. Here in the East, that work is also important, but logging by the Forest Service itself is more commonly a threat than fire. The proposal is to amend all 128 Forest Plans to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on National Forest land. In the meantime, all actions that could negatively impact old-growth forests would need the review and approval of the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service. The comment period for the Executive Order closed on February 2, and MountainTrue submitted a petition signed by more than 600 supporters in favor of greater protections for old growth and technical comments in partnership with the Southern Environmental Law Center. 

Photo: Fresh sand deposited on Lawndale swimming beach after flooding in early January. Photo by David Caldwell.

Mother Nature brings abundance to greenway construction site

“Several years ago, the Stagecoach Greenway was just a hope and a dream. Now, the Lawndale trail is well on its way to becoming a reality. The Lawndale park, the trail’s southern terminus, is currently under construction with a tentative grand opening date in May.” Broad Riverkeeper David Caldwell visited the site during a storm on January 9 that delivered five inches of rain to the First Broad River basin. The river in Lawndale rose from 1.2 feet that morning to 16.6 feet that evening, inundating the site of Lawndale Park. The floodwaters did minor damage to some infrastructure but also brought a fresh new deep layer of white sand to the beach that will open for visitors this summer!

 

 

Welcoming our newest MountainTrue team member

Join us in giving a warm welcome to the newest addition to our Southern Regional Office team, Oliva Gray! Olivia is currently serving as our NC Climate Action Corps Community Stewardship Coordinator and will apply her knowledge of food systems to assist Green Riverkeeper Erica Shanks and the Southern Region team in accomplishing MountainTrue’s sustainable agriculture goals. Olivia graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Economics. Throughout college, she interned at a number of regenerative nonprofit farms and fell in love with the environmental nonprofit world. Upon graduating, she landed her first AmeriCorps position with the University of Hawai’i Maui College, where she focused on campus and county-wide food security efforts. Welcome, Olivia!

 

 

Hike with Get Outside WNC to support MountainTrue!

MountainTrue is honored to be the Winter 2024 Beneficiary of Get Outside WNC, a local organization created by West Henderson High School senior Jenna Watson. Jenna is raising money for MountainTrue this winter by leading group hikes on scenic trails. Jenna’s hikes cost $10 per person and run through March 3, so join her outside! Jenna started Get Outside WNC to expose hikers to the physical and mental benefits of hiking. She says, “By sharing the beauty of our local environment with both new and seasoned hikers, I hope to spread my passion for nature, build community, and raise awareness of the fragility of the WNC environment.” So far, Jenna has led hikes to raise money for MountainTrue at Bearwallow Mountain, Moore Cove, and Triple and High Falls. Get Outside WNC’s upcoming hikes include:

  •  Raven Cliff Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 18, near the North and South Carolina border in Caesars Head State Park
  • Twin Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, in Pisgah National Forest

Sign up and learn more about upcoming hikes here. And be sure to follow Jenna and Get Outside WNC on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube!

 

Summer ‘24 internships with our French Broad Riverkeeper team

MountainTrue’s French Broad Riverkeeper and Clean Water team are hiring two French Broad Water Quality Interns for summer 2024. Both French Broad Water Quality Interns will assist our team with a variety of tasks needed to help improve ecosystem health within the French Broad River Basin. Both positions are based out of our Asheville office, with travel throughout the French Broad Watershed. Click here to learn more and apply by March 30!

 

 

New French Broad Paddle Trail website

The French Broad Paddle Trail has a new website! Created and maintained by MountainTrue’s French Broad Riverkeeper program, the new website covers access, camping, and general recreation information for the French Broad River between Rosman, NC, and Newport, TN. Check it out at www.frenchbroadpaddle.com and contact Jack Henderson at jack@mountaintrue.org with questions.

 

Hendersonville Comprehensive Plan: Gen H Open House

The final Gen H Open House will be held next Tuesday, February 13, from 4-6 p.m. at the Henderson Public Library (301 N Washington Street). At the event, you can provide input on possible land use scenarios, see ideas for character areas that will describe how land uses translate into the character or the look and feel of places in the community, provide ideas for key focus areas within the city, and review the goals and vision for the Gen H plan. Learn more about the Gen H Plan here.

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Buncombe, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania, and Yancey counties, as well as several other counties across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

 

Recording available: Why should environmentalists support building more housing?

MountainTrue’s Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program recently hosted a free webinar to educate folks about the regional and environmental benefits of building small homes and multi-family buildings close to our town centers. If you missed the webinar or want to rewatch, check out the recording on our YouTube.

New French Broad Paddle Trail website

The French Broad Paddle Trail has a new website! Created and maintained by MountainTrue’s French Broad Riverkeeper program, the new website covers access, camping, and general recreation information for the French Broad River between Rosman, NC, and Newport, TN. Check it out at www.frenchbroadpaddle.com and contact Jack Henderson at jack@mountaintrue.org with questions. 

Western Region News

A message from Western Regional Director Callie Moore: 

A member recently shared a weekly reflection by Rev. Susan Sparks called “The Hidden Secret of Winter Trees,” which really resonated with me. Some people don’t appreciate our majestic hardwood forests in winter, but I love being able to see every peak and valley with a clarity you just can’t get with spring and summer foliage. The trees spend the winter months building root systems and storing up energy. Rev. Sparks stated it beautifully when she said, “We always think of the season of spring as the beginning of life, but in fact, spring is not the beginning. It’s the manifestation of the transformation happening inside those great trees right now, in the winter.” 

This winter at MountainTrue, we’re busy clearing nonnative invasive plants, installing live stakes, and preparing for spring. We’re also taking time to celebrate at our annual Watershed Gala and getting some hikes in before the weather heats up again. I hope you’ll take some time in February to appreciate those bare winter trees and join us as we build our roots in preparation for spring. Thank you for being MountainTrue!

Hiwassee Watershed Gala set for February 29, online auction begins 10 days prior

The 16th Annual Hiwassee Watershed Gala will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at the Charles Suber Banquet Hall at Young Harris College. The Gala is an upscale social gathering that celebrates good water quality still being measured in many rivers, lakes, and streams and recognizes those who work to sustain it, including the 2024 Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award winner, John Kay of Young Harris, GA. 

This year’s event will be shorter and slightly less formal, featuring a menu of heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a plated meal. The online auction that begins at noon on February 19 will transition to an in-person silent auction during the event. Popular local musician Troy Underwood will provide his bluesy, soul, and folk sound for the evening. After the award presentation, a few select items will be auctioned live by local auctioneer and entertainer Tim Ryan. 

Wednesday, February 21, is the deadline for purchasing tickets. Buy yours today! There’s still time to sponsor or donate auction items for the event, and a few volunteers are still needed (half-price tickets!). Email Callie Moore to participate in any of these ways.

Photo: Part of the Nantahala National Forest within the scope of the Southside Timber Project. Photo credit: Will Harlan, Center for Biological Diversity, via Michaela Gregory of the Southern Environmental Law Center.

MountainTrue & coalition partners file lawsuit to protect sensitive habitat in Nantahala National Forest

MountainTrue is part of a coalition of conservation groups that filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service to prevent the agency from logging a sensitive area of the Nantahala National Forest in violation of federal law. The lawsuit was filed on the morning of January 31 in the federal district court for the Western District of North Carolina by the Southern Environmental Law Center and addresses the Southside Timber Project, which aims to log areas near the Whitewater River in the Nantahala National Forest. The landscape boasts stunning waterfalls, towering oak trees, and critical habitat for rare species. Read more in this letter by Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly.

Photo: MountainTrue Western Region Program Coordinator Tony Ward (left) and Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly (right) with a 304-year-old white oak tree at risk of logging at the Crossover Project in Cherokee County.

Protecting old-growth forests

One of the major disappointments of the new Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan was the lack of any formal protection for existing old-growth forests, so it was great news that the Biden Administration announced on December 19, 2023, a proposal to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on federal lands nationwide. This largely means making those forests more resilient to wildfire in the arid West. Here in the East, that work is also important, but logging by the Forest Service itself is more commonly a threat than fire. The proposal is to amend all 128 Forest Plans to increase the protection and conservation of old-growth forests on National Forest land. In the meantime, all actions that could negatively impact old-growth forests would need the review and approval of the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service. The comment period for the Executive Order closed on February 2, and MountainTrue submitted a petition signed by more than 600 supporters in favor of greater protections for old growth and technical comments in partnership with the Southern Environmental Law Center. 

Fundraising for Lake Chatuge parrot feather treatment

MountainTrue is pleased to announce a cooperative project with SaveLakeChatuge.org to address the invasive aquatic weeds that have infested the south end of Lake Chatuge in Towns County, GA, for the past two summers. Parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) is a nonnative aquatic plant that poses a significant threat to the native flora and fauna of Lake Chatuge. It can rapidly colonize water bodies, outcompeting native vegetation, disrupting the natural habitat, and impeding recreational activities. Recognizing that professional treatment of the infestation this year is of the utmost importance to controlling the spread and recognizing that government funding may not be available to start treatment at the recommended time, MountainTrue and project partners are working to collect private donations to fund the treatment plan. Click here to access MountainTrue’s secure project donation page to help! All donations are tax-deductible.

Photo: Volunteers work to clear nonnative invasive plants along the Jackson Co. Greenway in Cullowhee, NC.

Volunteer opportunities continue in Jackson County

Volunteer workdays to control nonnative invasive plants and restore native habitat at the Jackson County Greenway continue every second Friday, and on Saturday, March 16, from 1-4 p.m. Our partners for these events include Mainspring Conservation Trust, Jackson County Parks & Recreation, and the WCU Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. No prior experience is necessary; we’ll provide tools and training. Please register in advance so that we’ll have enough tools, gloves, etc. 

We’re also in need of volunteers to collect water samples from area streams for microplastic analysis on a quarterly basis. Email AmeriCorps service member Eve Davis to volunteer.

Photo: Volunteers pause for a photo before installing live stakes at the Union Co. Farmers Market on Jan 26, 2024. Also pictured are Market Manager, Dustin Rogers, and MountainTrue’s Western Region Program Coordinator, Tony Ward, who led the workday.

Successful live staking workday at Union County Farmers Market

Volunteers, including several members of Sharp Memorial UMC in Young Harris, GA, installed approximately 1,000 live stakes of silky dogwood along a small tributary to Butternut Creek at the Union County Farmers Market in Blairsville, GA, on January 26. Live staking involves taking dormant cuttings of a living tree and planting them along the edge of a waterway. Around 80% or more of these stakes will sprout into living shrubs this spring, providing shade and erosion control for the stream. The next Western Region planting workday is set for Wednesday, February 14, at Island Park in Bryson City, NC. Click here to learn more and register.

 

Summer ‘24 internship opportunity

MountainTrue’s Western Regional Office is hiring a Western Region Water Quality Intern for summer 2024. The intern’s primary responsibilities will be to assist with collection and analysis of weekly E. coli samples for our Swim Guide monitoring program; to manage the microplastics sampling program in the Hiwassee River basin; planning a summertime social event for all MountainTrue water program volunteers; and helping with educational events related to water quality in rivers, lakes, and streams. The intern must live within 50 miles of Murphy, NC, as the majority of their work will be within that 50-mile radius. Click here to learn more and apply by March 30!

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Cherokee County and others across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Cherokee County is being prioritized because a long stretch of the Valley River is not safe for swimming due to bacterial contamination and leaking septic systems in older neighborhoods has been identified as one part of the problem. Macon County is also being prioritized based on new Swim Guide data in the Little Tennessee River in Franklin. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

 

Recording available: Why should environmentalists support building more housing?

MountainTrue’s Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program recently hosted a free webinar to educate folks about the regional and environmental benefits of building small homes and multi-family buildings close to our town centers. If you missed the webinar or want to rewatch, check out the recording on our YouTube.

Hike With Get Outside WNC to Support MountainTrue This Winter!

Hike With Get Outside WNC to Support MountainTrue This Winter!

Hike With Get Outside WNC to Support MountainTrue This Winter!

 

 

MountainTrue is honored to be the Winter 2024 Beneficiary of Get Outside WNC, a local organization created by West Henderson High School senior Jenna Watson. Jenna is raising money for MountainTrue this winter by leading group hikes on scenic trails. Jenna’s hikes cost $10 per person and run through March 3, so join her outside!

     

Jenna started Get Outside WNC to expose hikers to the physical and mental benefits of hiking. She says, “By sharing the beauty of our local environment with both new and seasoned hikers, I hope to spread my passion for nature, build community, and raise awareness of the fragility of the WNC environment.” 

When asked why she chose MountainTrue as Get Outside WNC’s 2024 Winter Beneficiary, Jenna said, “MountainTrue has left an immeasurable impact on WNC. First learning about the group at a recent showing of The River Runs On, I discovered how much they’ve contributed to the conservation efforts of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. From their involvement in the lawsuit against the problematic U.S. Forest Service management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests to their leadership of the Asheville Beyond Coal Campaign, MountainTrue has protected our local environment for over 40 years. With a passionate group of employees truly striving for change, I loved the idea of working with and raising money for this awesome group of people.” 

 

So far, Jenna has led hikes to raise money for MountainTrue at Bearwallow Mountain and Moore Cove. Get Outside WNC’s upcoming hikes include:

  • Triple and High Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 4, in Hendersonville, NC
  • Raven Cliff Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 18, near the North and South Carolina border in Caesars Head State Park
  • Twin Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, in Pisgah National Forest

 

Sign up and learn more about upcoming hikes here. And be sure to follow Jenna and Get Outside WNC on InstagramTikTok, and YouTube

It Shouldn’t Take A Lawsuit to Make the Forest Service Comply With Federal Law

It Shouldn’t Take A Lawsuit to Make the Forest Service Comply With Federal Law

It Shouldn’t Take A Lawsuit to Make the Forest Service Comply With Federal Law

Pictured above: Part of the Nantahala National Forest within the scope of the Southside Timber Project. Photo credit: Will Harlan, Center for Biological Diversity, via Michaela Gregory of the Southern Environmental Law Center.  

A letter to MountainTrue supporters from our Public Lands Field Biologist, Josh Kelly:

 

I’m writing to let you know that MountainTrue is part of a coalition of conservation groups that filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service to prevent the agency from logging a sensitive area of the Nantahala National Forest in violation of federal law. 

 

The lawsuit was filed this morning, January 31, in the federal district court for the Western District of North Carolina by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of MountainTrue, the Center for Biological Diversity, Chattooga Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and Sierra Club. 

 

The lawsuit addresses the Southside Timber Project, which aims to log areas near the Whitewater River in the Nantahala National Forest. The landscape boasts stunning waterfalls, towering oak trees, and critical habitat for rare species. 

 

The Southside Timber Project is not only massively unpopular but is also inconsistent with the recently updated Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan. Limiting logging in the Whitewater River and surrounding areas was one of the things the Forest Plan got right. Now, the Forest Service is poised to disregard its own Plan to pursue its outdated mission of turning old forests into young ones. The Forest Service believes that the new Forest Plan doesn’t apply to the Southside Project, but we insist that for the new plan to have any meaning at all, it must apply.  

 

MountainTrue does not oppose logging on principle, and we don’t take litigation lightly. However, with both the Forest Plan and this Southside Timber Project, Forest Service leaders have put commercial logging first and ignored federal law and overwhelming public support for conserving our most beloved natural areas and landscapes. Fixing these problems would have only removed 50 acres from over 300 acres of logging. They have even ignored concerns from the agency’s own scientists about the impact logging could have on the already imperiled Blue Ridge lineage of the green salamander. And don’t be fooled by the Forest Service’s claims that the project will benefit the Golden-Winged Warbler. There are no known populations of this bird in the project area, and it is well known that there must be a population within two miles of new habitat for it to become occupied.

 

There are one million acres in Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. That’s plenty of land to accommodate sustainable logging practices and create new young forest habitat for deer and grouse without destroying an area that the Forest Service itself has deemed an ‘exceptional ecological community’ with ‘features that are not found anywhere else in […] the Eastern United States.’ 

 

We have opposed the Southside Timber Project from the beginning. MountainTrue analyzed the project to assess the damage it would cause to these important habitats and filed formal objections. We even offered to pay the Forest Service for the timber rights to 37 acres to keep old-growth and rare species habitat within the project area standing and intact. The Southside Project is the only example I know of in my 16-year career where the Forest Service documented the presence of old-growth forest and chose to cut it anyway. The decision to log inside a Special Interest Area and Wild and Scenic River Corridor follows the same stubborn and short-sighted pattern. 

 

The Southside Project was a bad project when the Forest Service first proposed it, and it is still a bad project today. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to take a public interest lawsuit to get the Forest Service to act responsibly and comply with federal law. 

 

Sincerely, 

Josh Kelly, MountainTrue Public Lands Field Biologist

 

Click here to read the joint statement about this litigation released on January 31, 2024, by the Southern Environmental Law Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Chattooga Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, MountainTrue, and Sierra Club.

Support resilient forests in the Southern Blue Ridge

 If you care about the forests and public lands of Western North Carolina and the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, I hope you’ll consider donating to support this critical work.

Press Release: Logging project in Nantahala National Forest violates federal law, new lawsuit alleges

Press Release: Logging project in Nantahala National Forest violates federal law, new lawsuit alleges

Press release from the Southern Environmental Law Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Chattooga Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, MountainTrue, and Sierra Club

For immediate release: January 31, 2024

ASHEVILLE, N.C — On Wednesday, a coalition of conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service, alleging the agency’s plans to log a sensitive area of the Nantahala National Forest violate federal law.

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the challenge on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Chattooga Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, MountainTrue, and Sierra Club. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court for the Western District of North Carolina.

The lawsuit centers around parts of the Southside Timber Project that aim to log areas near the Whitewater River in the Nantahala National Forest. The landscape boasts stunning waterfalls, towering oak trees, and critical habitat for rare species. Both the Forest Service and State of North Carolina have recognized the area slated for logging as an exceptional ecological community with some of the highest biodiversity values in the state.

Because of the scenic beauty and ecological importance of the area, the Forest Service designated it as a “Special Interest Area” in the recently published Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan. Destructive projects, like logging and roadbuilding, are significantly restricted in Special Interest Areas. The agency is contradicting its own designation with this logging project.

Released last year, the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan falls short on many levels and fails to adequately protect the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. As a result, more than 14,000 people objected to the plan.

Limiting logging in the area subject to the lawsuit was one of the few things the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan got right, yet the Forest Service is poised to undermine it by plowing ahead with this reckless and unpopular timber project.

Below are quotes from conservation groups about the litigation:

“Logging in this area so harmful that it is inconsistent even with a Forest Plan that fails to protect the values that make the Nantahala National Forest exceptional,” Patrick Hunter, Managing Attorney of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Asheville Office, said. “The Forest Service must scrap this reckless logging project in order to comply with federal law.”

“The Southside timber sale shows that Forest Service leaders are more interested in logging than protecting rare and beloved landscapes,” said Will Harlan, Southeast Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The public strongly opposes logging this ecologically unique forest beside a trout stream and waterfall, but the Forest Service wants to cut it down anyway. This is a clear and heartbreaking example of the conflicts we can expect to see under the new Forest Plan.”

“The Southside Project is a case study of the Forest Service’s reckless resolve to push harmful logging onto exceptional landscapes,” said Nicole Hayler, Director of the Chattooga Conservancy. “Logging in this area along the Whitewater River is a prime example of the root of the problem: deeply flawed, perverse incentives driving the Forest Service to hit mandated timber targets, which is why the entire Southside Project should be dropped.”

“For more than a decade, conservation organizations like Defenders of Wildlife have advocated for the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan to establish clear standards and guidelines for the conservation and recovery of rare species,” said Ben Prater, Southeast Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife. “While the plan falls short in many respects, we were pleased that a Special Interest Area was designated for portions of the ecologically important habitats that were threatened by the Southside Timber Project. However, the Southside Timber Project is still being pushed forward and could damage the ecological integrity of this important area by affecting the habitats of rare species like green salamanders and cerulean warblers, as well as federally listed species like the northern long-eared bat. Allowing an egregious project like this to move forward erodes the public trust and signals that the Forest Service is unwilling to comply with its own plan.”

“With both the Forest Plan and this Southside Timber Sale, Forest Service leaders have put commercial logging first and ignored federal law and overwhelming public support for conserving our most beloved natural areas and landscapes,” Josh Kelly, public lands field biologist for MountainTrue, said. “Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are big enough to accommodate sustainable logging practices and create new early successional habitats for hunters without destroying an area that the Forest Service itself has deemed an ‘exceptional ecological community’; with ‘features that are not found anywhere else in […] the Eastern United States.’; Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to take a public interest lawsuit to get the Forest Service to act responsibly and comply with federal law.”

“Logging in this particular scenic and ecologically rich area, to supposedly accomplish management goals that can easily happen in more appropriate places, is exactly why we have longstanding concerns about the Forest Service’s planning process,” said David Reid, Sierra Club National Forest Issue Chair.

###

MountainTrue’s January 2024 E-Newsletter: Events Roundup

MountainTrue’s January 2024 E-Newsletter: Events Roundup

MountainTrue’s

January 2024 E-Newsletter: Events Roundup

Happy 2024! The MountainTrue team is ringing in the New Year with exciting events and volunteer opportunities throughout the Southern Blue Ridge. Check out our regional events listed below. We hope to see you there!

Central Region News

Click here to read

High Country News

Click here to read

Southern Region News

Click here to read

Western Region News

Click here to read

High Country

MountainTrue’s December 2023 E-Newsletter

MountainTrue’s December 2023 E-Newsletter

MountainTrue’s

December 2023 E-Newsletter

December news from MountainTrue’s four regional offices:  

Central Region News

Click here to read

High Country News

Click here to read

Southern Region News

Click here to read

Western Region News

Click here to read

A note from Executive Director Bob Wagner:

For me, this is a season of contrasts; the fallen bright yellow leaves on the trail have now faded to brown. It’s cold, the nights are long, and there’s so much despair in the world.

On the other hand, I’m much more likely to notice the sunrise (because it happens later). Amongst the bare trees, it’s easier to see the active birds. The forest’s understory is clear, enabling you to see previously hidden landscapes and majestic mountain ridges. And, when you look up, you’re greeted by a wide-open blue sky. 

During this season of festivities, my hope for you is that you take it all in. Settle into the darkness and listen. Feel the calm, quietness of the night. Daybreak will assuredly come, and when it does, take a moment to wonder and marvel at this incredible place where we live.

I’m grateful for you, and we appreciate the support you have given us this year to protect our forests, our rivers, and our mountains. 

Forever MountainTrue,

Bob

Central Region News

Madison County action alert: tell county officials to protect mountain ridges

On December 19, the Madison County Planning Board will be considering a drastic change to their Mountain Ridge Protection Ordinance that would threaten the natural beauty and environmental integrity of the county. They will then make their recommendation to the County Commission, which could consider the rule change in January. The county has received an application from a private citizen to amend the county’s Mountain Ridge Protection Ordinance and do away with a 50’ setback requirement, a key provision that protects mountain ridges from development. After nearly 200 people attended the initial hearing in November, the board decided to push the hearing to this month. Take action by:

Photos: French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson (left) collects a water sample from a drainage pipe. MountainTrue Watershed Science & Policy Manager Anna Alsobrook (right) dyeing a sewer line to ID the source of the leak.

An update on local sewage leaks from the French Broad Riverkeeper team

Three weeks ago, the French Broad Riverkeeper team received a pollution report about a possible sewage leak near Charlotte Street in Asheville. The Riverkeeper team immediately investigated by taking water samples to check for the presence of E. coli. Sampling results showed elevated levels of E. coli bacteria over 25 times the safe standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our return sampling trip two days later showed the pollution levels had doubled. 

We conducted a follow-up investigation to track the source of the pollution, which involved sampling multiple up and downstream locations and dropping colored dye into the sewer lines in hopes that the color would show up in the creek and reveal the leak’s location. As is often the case, finding the exact source of the pollution proved tricky. Another round of dyeing the sewer lines didn’t reveal the source, but our sampling data showed the E. coli pollution levels had increased to over 510 times the EPA’s safe standard. We called in the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to help isolate the source by lowering their remote camera into the sewer line to pinpoint the leak. The sewer cam found the leak, and MSD made the necessary repairs. 

Finding the sources of pollution can be frustratingly slow sometimes, but we don’t give up, and we rely on the public to report problems they see. So, don’t hesitate to reach out if you see or smell anything weird in your local waterways — we’re ready to investigate!

 

Upcoming site improvements along the French Broad Paddle Trail in Transylvania County

We’re thrilled to have just received a grant from the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Funding Program for pre-construction site design and permitting related to improvements at Lyons Mountain River Access on the French Broad River. When paired with an allocation from the North Carolina State Trails’ Complete the Trails Fund, we are all set to proceed with fulfilling the engineering and regulatory steps related to improvements identified in the Strategic Master Plan for the French Broad River Blueway.

These improvements include expanding the site in its current location and/or to the NCDOT-managed right-of-way across the river, replacing the eroding steps with a concrete boat ramp, adding picnic tables, installing a kiosk and signage, and stabilizing eroding stream banks with native riparian vegetation.

This is just one of many projects that our French Broad Paddle Trail program is currently working on. Contact MountainTrue’s French Broad Paddle Trail Manager, Jack Henderson, at jack@mountaintrue.org for more information or to get involved.

 

Give!Local 2023

MountainTrue is honored to be among the 52 local nonprofits included in the 2023 Mountain Xpress Give!Local campaign. Click here to learn more about Give!Local and click here to donate to MountainTrue through the online giving campaign, which runs until December 31.

 

Changes to MountainTrue’s Guided Adventures

Beginning in 2024, Guided Adventures will be included in our monthly e-news. In an effort to reduce the number of emails you receive from us, we will no longer have a separate email launch for these. Please make sure to pay attention to the events section to grab your tickets. Current members will receive discounted tickets to select MountainTrue events. Also coming in 2024: discounted tickets for youth AND expanded volunteer opportunities in the Central Region. We hope to see you at a MountainTrue event next year!

Photo: An iconic selfie of retired MountainTrue Ecologist & Public Lands Director Bob Gale.

Brainy Brews for MountainTrue: January 17 at the River Arts District Brewing Company

Join us on January 17, 2024, for a free educational event led by retired MountainTrue ecologist Bob Gale at the River Arts District Brewing Company in Asheville! Bob will discuss issues related to invasive plants, methods of control, and ideas for moving your yard toward a more natural ecosystem. Programming will be from 6-7 p.m., but come at 5:30 p.m. to grab a drink and get settled in. (Popcorn is available on site, and guests are welcome to bring their own food). Register here. 

Bob’s background includes landscaping, arboriculture, and wetland science, and he has worked as a forest ecologist in coastal, piedmont, and mountain regions of the Southeast. Bob wrote the natural history portions of the book A Highroad Guide to the North Carolina Mountains and co-authored A Beachcomber’s Guide to Fossils with his wife and son.

 

 

Webinar: Why Should Environmentalists Support Building More Housing?

We know that healthy communities exist within the context of a healthy environment, and right now, both are threatened. There is a housing shortage across the country, with many hard-working families unable to find a place to live. There is also a climate crisis, with greenhouse gas emissions threatening the stability of all our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Join us from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on January 22, 2024, to learn more about MountainTrue’s newest program, Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC, and about part of the solution to both these crises. This is a virtual event; registered participants will receive the webinar link prior to the event date. Register here.

 

We’re excited to announce our 1st Native Plant & Shrub Sale in Asheville!

The sale will open online on February 15 and will run through March 31, 2024, featuring native plants and shrubs grown by Carolina Native Nursery (think azaleas and more!). Proceeds from the sale will benefit MountainTrue. Orders will be available for pickup on Thursday, April 11, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. ONLY, unless prior arrangements have been made. We hope you’re as excited about this as we are! What better way to get a head start on Earth Day than by showing your yard and resident pollinators a little local love?!

 

Save the date: cheers to trivia & good brews for MountainTrue

Beat the winter blues and join us for trivia and the River Arts District Brewing Company’s MountainTrue Beer Launch at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

 

Helping more of our neighbors find homes + putting a dent in our housing shortage in 2023

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released its annual “State of the Nation’s Housing” report. The report provides a detailed summary of US housing and rental market trends. Construction of multifamily housing has increased significantly year over year, slowing rent growth and raising vacancy rates in the rental market. However, there continues to be a vast housing shortage, especially homes affordable to low-income families. Follow our Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program to learn how to help solve our housing shortage and the climate crisis.

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Buncombe, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania, and Yancey counties, as well as several other counties across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

 

Weigh in on opportunities to expand transit services across WNC

The Western North Carolina (WNC) Regional Transit Plan (RTP) is developing a transit study to evaluate current transit service in the region to identify improvements and enhance regional connectivity to the overall transit service. This survey will collect your thoughts about the community’s mobility needs and expectations for transit service, helping them shape the future of transit. 

High Country News

Celebrating tourism and hospitality partners

The Watauga Riverkeeper team attended the 2nd annual Discover Watauga Tourism Summit on November 9. This event celebrated the stakeholders and tourism partners of Watauga County and Explore Boone, who help showcase what makes our region so special. The annual summit awards and recognizes groups for their contributions to the community and our thriving tourism industry! It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends and make new ones; we can’t wait to see what we’re about to celebrate next year!

Photo: High Country Intern Emma Crider takes a selfie with volunteers from ASU’s Community Engaged Leadership cohort before cleaning out the Winkler’s Creek Trash Trout.

ASU Community Fellows Trash Trout cleanouts

Over the course of the fall semester, we’ve enjoyed working with the Appalachian State University Community Fellows group at the Winkler’s Creek Trash Trout. This dedicated group of girls has worked with us monthly on Thursday afternoons to assist with Trash Trout and streambank cleanouts, trash inventories, and educational workshops. We love working with school groups dedicated to protecting the places we share, and we learn from them as much as we teach. Thank you, ASU Community Fellows, for a great semester of keeping our rivers clean!

 

Feeling the love from the Speckled Trout and Blowing Rock

Our last pint night of 2023 was nothing short of awesome! Our friends at the Speckled Trout hosted a fun-filled evening with great folks and great food on December 7. It was a wonderful night celebrating past successes, meeting new friends in Blowing Rock, and discussing how our team can better support and monitor the Blowing Rock, NC, region. Many thanks to our friends and community partners who show us endless support year after year!

Photo: Jonathan Hartsell of Blue Ridge RC & D poses for a photo with some live stakes at a recent workday at the old Ward’s Mill Dam site.

Live staking workdays

Live staking season is officially here, and we’re ready to get back into action! The live stakes we planted last season at the old Ward’s Mill Dam site and Valle Crucis Community Park are doing great, and it will be so exciting to see their growth during upcoming workdays this spring. Stay tuned for 2024 live staking dates — we can’t wait to see you all in the New Year! Happy Holidays from our Riverkeeper family to yours!

 

Changes to MountainTrue’s Guided Adventures

Beginning in 2024, Guided Adventures will be included in our monthly e-news. In an effort to reduce the number of emails you receive from us, we will no longer have a separate email launch for these. Please make sure to pay attention to the events section to grab your tickets. Current members will receive discounted tickets to select MountainTrue events. Also coming in 2024: discounted tickets for youth AND expanded volunteer opportunities in the Central Region. We hope to see you at a MountainTrue event next year!

 

Give!Local 2023

MountainTrue is honored to be among the 52 local nonprofits included in the 2023 Mountain Xpress Give!Local campaign. Click here to learn more about Give!Local and click here to donate to MountainTrue through the online giving campaign, which runs until December 31.

 

 

Webinar: Why Should Environmentalists Support Building More Housing?

We know that healthy communities exist within the context of a healthy environment, and right now, both are threatened. There is a housing shortage across the country, with many hard-working families unable to find a place to live. There is also a climate crisis, with greenhouse gas emissions threatening the stability of all our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Join us from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on January 22, 2024, to learn more about MountainTrue’s newest program, Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC, and about part of the solution to both these crises. This is a virtual event; registered participants will receive the webinar link prior to the event date. Register here.

 

 

Helping more of our neighbors find homes + putting a dent in our housing shortage in 2023

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released its annual “State of the Nation’s Housing” report. The report provides a detailed summary of US housing and rental market trends. Construction of multifamily housing has increased significantly year over year, slowing rent growth and raising vacancy rates in the rental market. However, there continues to be a vast housing shortage, especially homes affordable to low-income families. Follow our Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program to learn how to help solve our housing shortage and the climate crisis.

 

 

Weigh in on opportunities to expand transit services across WNC

The Western North Carolina (WNC) Regional Transit Plan (RTP) is developing a transit study to evaluate current transit service in the region to identify improvements and enhance regional connectivity to the overall transit service. This survey will collect your thoughts about the community’s mobility needs and expectations for transit service, helping them shape the future of transit. 

Southern Region News

Recycle your live Christmas trees & wreaths on January 6​

Mark your calendars for another tree recycling event: January 6, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jackson Park (801 4th Avenue East, Hendersonville, NC)! As you go out to buy your live trees for the holidays, remember that you’ll be able to bring them to this event and collect mulch for your home gardens and landscaping. Also, are you planning a big appliance purchase for the season? Hold onto that foam! The Henderson County Solid Waste Department will be collecting foam to be recycled at the foam densifier.

Photo: A trail cam photo documenting a black bear utilizing a WNC wildlife crossing. Image credit: Safe Passage Coalition via smokiessafepassage.org.

Hendersonville Green Drinks returns January 11

Join us at Trailside Brewing Co. for the next installment of Hendersonville Green Drinks from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2024! We’ll hear from Dr. Liz Hillard, Senior Wildlife Biologist for Wildlands Network, who will highlight and discuss research findings from two wildlife road crossing projects in Western North Carolina. Her research includes monitoring reptile road underpasses for wildlife use in Gorges State Park and evaluating bear, deer, and elk road conflict areas along I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge. Click here to learn more.

 

 

Upcoming site improvements along the French Broad Paddle Trail in Transylvania County

We’re thrilled to have just received a grant from the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Funding Program for pre-construction site design and permitting related to improvements at Lyons Mountain River Access on the French Broad River. When paired with an allocation from the North Carolina State Trails’ Complete the Trails Fund, we are all set to proceed with fulfilling the engineering and regulatory steps related to improvements identified in the Strategic Master Plan for the French Broad River Blueway.

These improvements include expanding the site in its current location and/or to the NCDOT-managed right-of-way across the river, replacing the eroding steps with a concrete boat ramp, adding picnic tables, installing a kiosk and signage, and stabilizing eroding stream banks with native riparian vegetation.

This is just one of many projects that our French Broad Paddle Trail program is currently working on. Contact MountainTrue’s French Broad Paddle Trail Manager, Jack Henderson, at jack@mountaintrue.org for more information or to get involved.

 

 

Webinar: Why Should Environmentalists Support Building More Housing?

We know that healthy communities exist within the context of a healthy environment, and right now, both are threatened. There is a housing shortage across the country, with many hard-working families unable to find a place to live. There is also a climate crisis, with greenhouse gas emissions threatening the stability of all our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Join us from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on January 22, 2024, to learn more about MountainTrue’s newest program, Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC, and about part of the solution to both these crises. This is a virtual event; registered participants will receive the webinar link prior to the event date. Register here.

 

Give!Local 2023

MountainTrue is honored to be among the 52 local nonprofits included in the 2023 Mountain Xpress Give!Local campaign. Click here to learn more about Give!Local and click here to donate to MountainTrue through the online giving campaign, which runs until December 31.

 

 

Changes to MountainTrue’s Guided Adventures

Beginning in 2024, Guided Adventures will be included in our monthly e-news. In an effort to reduce the number of emails you receive from us, we will no longer have a separate email launch for these. Please make sure to pay attention to the events section to grab your tickets. Current members will receive discounted tickets to select MountainTrue events. Also coming in 2024: discounted tickets for youth AND expanded volunteer opportunities in the Central Region. We hope to see you at a MountainTrue event next year!

 

Helping more of our neighbors find homes + putting a dent in our housing shortage in 2023

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released its annual “State of the Nation’s Housing” report. The report provides a detailed summary of US housing and rental market trends. Construction of multifamily housing has increased significantly year over year, slowing rent growth and raising vacancy rates in the rental market. However, there continues to be a vast housing shortage, especially homes affordable to low-income families. Follow our Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program to learn how to help solve our housing shortage and the climate crisis.

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Buncombe, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania, and Yancey counties, as well as several other counties across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

 

Weigh in on opportunities to expand transit services across WNC

The Western North Carolina (WNC) Regional Transit Plan (RTP) is developing a transit study to evaluate current transit service in the region to identify improvements and enhance regional connectivity to the overall transit service. This survey will collect your thoughts about the community’s mobility needs and expectations for transit service, helping them shape the future of transit. 

Western Region News

Photo: Volunteers show off a Chinese privet stump they removed along the Tuckasegee River at the November 10 Jackson County Greenway workday.

Fun Fridays on the Jackson County Greenway start January 12

Beginning in the New Year, every second Friday from January through April will be a fun Friday afternoon on the Jackson County Greenway! Community volunteer workdays will be held from 1-4 p.m. to control nonnative invasive plants and restore native habitat at the Jackson County Greenway in Cullowhee, NC. Our partners for these events include Jackson County Parks & Recreation, Mainspring Conservation Trust, and the WCU Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. We’ll pull up roots, cut vines, and use hand tools to remove invasive shrubs (like Chinese privet) and then treat the stumps. No prior experience is necessary; we’ll provide tools and training. Please click here to register in advance so that we’ll have enough tools, gloves, etc. We have large and small tasks available, so you don’t have to be able to do strenuous physical labor to participate. Please, no pets. Email AmeriCorps service member Eve Davis with any questions.

Photo: Cuttings from living shrubs sprout new plants after being properly installed along the water’s edge.

Help protect water quality in Butternut Creek at the Union County Farmers Market

Join us at the Union County Farmers Market in Blairsville, GA, from 1-3 p.m. on Friday, January 26, to install live stakes along some small streams that flow into Butternut Creek. Live staking involves taking dormant cuttings of a living tree and planting them along the edge of a waterway. This is an easy, family-friendly event designed to get some native vegetation growing and protect water quality! The rain date for this event is February 2. Register here. Email Tony Ward for more information.

 

Save the date for the “Leap Day” 2024 Watershed Gala

Mark your calendars for the 16th Annual Hiwassee Watershed Gala set for Leap Day: Thursday, February 29, 2024! We look forward to an evening of laughter, fun, and camaraderie, and we’ll honor the 2024 Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award winner! There will again be an online silent auction starting ten days before the event on February 19. Click here to read about everything Gala-related and sign up to receive a notification when the auction begins.

Photos: Microscopic plastic fibers, films, and fragments are all found in Southern Blue Ridge water samples.

Coming soon: opportunities for microplastics sampling in Jackson & Macon counties

Our AmeriCorps service member, Eve Davis, is busily scouting locations for microplastics sampling sites in Jackson & Macon counties and adding to the list of sites that volunteers are already sampling in Swain County, NC. Water samples for microplastic analysis are collected quarterly by Western Region volunteers and dropped off at a central location in each county. If you’re interested in joining our 2024 sampling team, click here to complete our volunteer interest form. Click here to watch a 40-minute video about our microplastics sampling program.    

 

 

Webinar: Why Should Environmentalists Support Building More Housing?

We know that healthy communities exist within the context of a healthy environment, and right now, both are threatened. There is a housing shortage across the country, with many hard-working families unable to find a place to live. There is also a climate crisis, with greenhouse gas emissions threatening the stability of all our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Join us from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on January 22, 2024, to learn more about MountainTrue’s newest program, Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC, and about part of the solution to both these crises. This is a virtual event; registered participants will receive the webinar link prior to the event date. Register here.

 

Give!Local 2023

MountainTrue is honored to be among the 52 local nonprofits included in the 2023 Mountain Xpress Give!Local campaign. Click here to learn more about Give!Local and click here to donate to MountainTrue through the online giving campaign, which runs until December 31.

 

 

Changes to MountainTrue’s Guided Adventures

Beginning in 2024, Guided Adventures will be included in our monthly e-news. In an effort to reduce the number of emails you receive from us, we will no longer have a separate email launch for these. Please make sure to pay attention to the events section to grab your tickets. Current members will receive discounted tickets to select MountainTrue events. Also coming in 2024: discounted tickets for youth AND expanded volunteer opportunities in the Central Region. We hope to see you at a MountainTrue event next year!

 

Helping more of our neighbors find homes + putting a dent in our housing shortage in 2023

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released its annual “State of the Nation’s Housing” report. The report provides a detailed summary of US housing and rental market trends. Construction of multifamily housing has increased significantly year over year, slowing rent growth and raising vacancy rates in the rental market. However, there continues to be a vast housing shortage, especially homes affordable to low-income families. Follow our Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC program to learn how to help solve our housing shortage and the climate crisis.

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Cherokee County and others across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Cherokee County is being prioritized because a long stretch of the Valley River is not safe for swimming due to bacterial contamination and leaking septic systems in older neighborhoods has been identified as one part of the problem. Macon County is also being prioritized based on new Swim Guide data in the Little Tennessee River in Franklin. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

 

Weigh in on opportunities to expand transit services across WNC

The Western North Carolina (WNC) Regional Transit Plan (RTP) is developing a transit study to evaluate current transit service in the region to identify improvements and enhance regional connectivity to the overall transit service. This survey will collect your thoughts about the community’s mobility needs and expectations for transit service, helping them shape the future of transit. 

MountainTrue’s November 2023 E-Newsletter

MountainTrue’s November 2023 E-Newsletter

MountainTrue’s

November 2023 E-Newsletter

November news from MountainTrue’s four regional offices:  

Central Region News

Click here to read

High Country News

Click here to read

Southern Region News

Click here to read

Western Region News

Click here to read

Central Region News

A note from Gray Jernigan, Deputy Director & General Counsel: 

During this season of gratitude, the MountainTrue team reflects on the year and shares our appreciation for all we have to celebrate. We’re so thankful for our staff, amazing board of directors, members and supporters, and dedicated volunteers. 

Last month at the MountainTrue Annual Gathering, we got together and celebrated with many of you in person. Our Executive Director, Bob Wagner, highlighted our 2023 successes and summarized the setbacks we’re working to overcome. We presented awards to some of the most active and motivated volunteers, like my friend Beth Porter, who we can always count on to pull some trash out of the river. It’s always inspiring to get together with our friends to thank each other for a job well done and to recommit to never giving up the fight for our mountains. 

As the days get cooler and we huddle with family and friends for another holiday season, we want to thank you for being part of our MountainTrue family. We couldn’t keep going without your support. 

Celebrate #GivingTuesday at No Man’s Land Film Festival

MountainTrue, Mosaic Realty, and Altura Architects are proud to invite you to No Man’s Land Film Festival (NMLFF) – the premier adventure film festival featuring women, transgender, and gender-fluid adventurers in conservation-focused documentary shorts – at New Belgium’s Brewhouse in Asheville, NC, on Tuesday, November 28. NMLFF is free to attend, and the event will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. The NMLFF in-person screening is first come first serve, so be sure to arrive early to get your seats! 

We’re proud to partner with Cold Spring Basecamp and Second Gear to offer an exciting prize for our 2023 NMLFF raffle! One lucky winner will win a $100 gift card to Second Gear, Asheville’s outdoor adventure gear consignment store, and a two-night stay at Cold Spring Base Camp, where adventure potential is endless on this beautiful 38-acre property in Zirconia, NC.  Cold Spring Base Camp is the jumping-off point for biking, hiking, paddling, zip lining, exploring waterfalls, or just enjoying time spent camping, glamping, or relaxing above the forest floor in a treehouse (option coming soon)! 

Madison County action alert: tell county officials to protect mountain ridges

On November 21, the Madison County Planning Board will be considering a drastic change to their Mountain Ridge Protection Ordinance that would threaten the natural beauty and environmental integrity of the county. They will then make their recommendation to the County Commission, which could consider the rule change in December. The county has received an application from a private citizen to amend the county’s Mountain Ridge Protection Ordinance and do away with a 50’ setback requirement, a key provision that protects mountain ridges from development. Take action by: 

 

Join the MountainTrue team: Healthy Communities Spring 2024 internship

The Healthy Communities intern will work with Healthy Communities Program Director Chris Joyell to research issues involving housing, transportation, land use controls and health, and assist in engaging communities in designing their future. Our work is rooted in the principles of Smart Growth, and we encourage prospective interns to familiarize themselves with these principles prior to engaging with us. A background in design and/or planning is preferred, but students studying health, environmental management, geography/GIS, and economics have also found their niche in our program. This position offers flexible start and end dates and will be based out of our Asheville or Hendersonville offices (though much of the work can be done remotely). Click here to learn more + apply by November 30, 2023!

 

Holiday gifts that protect our environment

Looking for the perfect gift for the nature lover in your life this holiday season? Gift your loved ones or friends some MountainTrue Hellbender swag! Proceeds fund MountainTrue’s work to protect the places we share in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Act now before they’re gone! *No items will be mailed between December 22, 2023 and January 2, 2024 – please plan accordingly. 

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Buncombe, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania, and Yancey counties, as well as several other counties across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Property owners: click here to review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program.

 

New gov’t program offers renewable energy tax credits for low-income communities

The Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program is now accepting applications. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) established the program under section 48(e), which was added to the Internal Revenue Code by the Inflation Reduction Act, to promote cost-saving clean energy investments in low-income communities, on Indian land, as part of affordable housing developments, and benefitting low-income households. The program prioritizes:

  • Increased adoption of and access to renewable energy facilities in underserved and environmental justice communities.
  • Encouraging new market participants.
  • Providing substantial benefits to underserved communities and individuals who have been historically marginalized from economic opportunities and overburdened by environmental impacts.

Click here to learn more about the program, access helpful resources, and apply. 

 

Envisioning a new Patton Avenue

This past summer, the City of Asheville hired a consultant to conduct a corridor and feasibility study of Patton Avenue between the Jeff Bowen Bridge and Pack Square. With the redesign of the I-26 Connector, we have an opportunity to reimagine how Patton Avenue can extend to the Bowen Bridge, creating an extension of our downtown with a dense, urban corridor. On Wednesday, November 29, the project will conduct a public open house event to kick off the project. This free meeting will be held in the Banquet Hall of Harrah’s Cherokee Center located at 87 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801 from 5-7 p.m.

 

Registration is open for the 2024 CCA Retreat & Symposium

MountainTrue’s faith-based program, the Creation Care Alliance (CCA) is happy to announce its 2024 Winter Retreat & Symposium, Sacred Symbiosis: Relationships for Eco-Justice! Hosted at Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, the symposium will begin on Friday, February 2, and will run through Saturday, February 3. The presentations, workshops, and conversations will explore the relationships needed to build and nurture justice for all. We can’t wait to dive in and learn together, and we’re particularly excited to hear from this year’s keynote speaker, Mary Crow, of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). Learn more + register here. Early-bird pricing (available until December 4), group and student discounts, and scholarships are available.

High Country News

A note from Andy Hill, High Country Regional Director & Watauga Riverkeeper:

It was good to see those of you who journeyed to Asheville for our Annual Gathering this year! We realize it was a busy fall weekend, and you could’ve spent your Saturday afternoon in many ways. Special thanks to Pace Cooper, who represented the High Country Region well during MountainTrue’s very first Jeopardy game! We also welcomed new board members Trevor McKenzie, Sara Cooper, and Miller Williams at our Annual Gathering. We’re excited to have their expertise helping guide the High Country and MountainTrue. Those of you who already have your calendars can save the date of September 14, 2024, for next year’s event! 

Scroll down for ways to engage with us this fall. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Raise a glass to support your Watauga Riverkeeper

Join us for a pint at the Speckled Trout in Blowing Rock, NC, and learn about water quality in the New River from Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill and the High Country team. Mark your calendars for Thursday, December 7, from 6-8 p.m. — bring some friends and let’s raise a glass to clean water together!

Thank you to Boone’s Fly Shop for hosting a Watauga Riverkeeper pint night on Tuesday, November 7! We were thrilled to see everyone who came out. Good drinks and good conversation were flowing, and money was made. We’re so grateful for the space and opportunity to share some knowledge and connect with our community.

Photo: (from left to right) Hannah Woodburn, Andy Hill, and Emma Crider at the Boone’s Fly Shop pint night.

High Country live staking workday​

Join MountainTrue’s High Country team on Friday, December 15, for another live staking volunteer workday at Wards Mill Dam. Sign up to get outside + plant some trees!

Celebrate #GivingTuesday at No Man’s Land Film Festival

MountainTrue, Mosaic Realty, and Altura Architects are proud to invite you to No Man’s Land Film Festival (NMLFF) – the premier adventure film festival featuring women, transgender, and gender-fluid adventurers in conservation-focused documentary shorts – at New Belgium’s Brewhouse in Asheville, NC, on Tuesday, November 28. NMLFF is free to attend, and the event will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. The NMLFF in-person screening is first come first serve, so be sure to arrive early to get your seats! 

We’re proud to partner with Cold Spring Basecamp and Second Gear to offer an exciting prize for our 2023 NMLFF raffle! One lucky winner will win a $100 gift card to Second Gear, Asheville’s outdoor adventure gear consignment store, and a two-night stay at Cold Spring Base Camp, where adventure potential is endless on this beautiful 38-acre property in Zirconia, NC.  Cold Spring Base Camp is the jumping-off point for biking, hiking, paddling, zip lining, exploring waterfalls, or just enjoying time spent camping, glamping, or relaxing above the forest floor in a treehouse (option coming soon)! 

Photo: Legendary High Country Intern Emma Crider poses for a photo with one of the Tennessee Trash Trouts.

Trash Trout update

This month, our team checked in on our Tennessee Trash Trouts to prepare for the upcoming cold season. These two Trash Trouts allow us to keep tabs on macroplastics flowing through the Doe River and Buffalo Creek in Eastern TN. Unfortunately, both Trash Trouts need some extra TLC, but the much-needed maintenance work will have them back up and running as intended! We appreciate all the awesome volunteers who consistently show up to keep the Trash Trouts clean, functioning, and sturdy!

 

 

Turtle Island Preserve outreach

On October 25, we welcomed our new intern, Haley Whitley, with another day of teaching at Turtle Island Preserve! High Country Watershed Outreach Coordinator Hannah Woodburn and Haley met with a homeschool group on a beautiful fall morning to teach about native aquatic stream species, especially macroinvertebrates. The kids got to observe preserved specimens and identify them based on hints about their traits. They showed great enthusiasm and asked stimulating questions that kept the whole group engaged — many thanks to the families and our Turtle Island friends for having us back!

Photo: The view of the free-flowing Watauga River at the recently removed Wards Mill Dam site in Sugar Grove, NC.

Dam Removal Training with American Rivers

The Watauga Riverkeeper team recently joined in on a dam removal training put on by our friends at American Rivers. The training session focused on the histories, successes, and challenges of dams and dam removals nationwide. Our team is passionate about dam removal projects and their respective restorations, and we connected with many other agencies across the state dedicated to the work. Thank you to our friends at American Rivers for teaching and inspiring North Carolina folks about removing dams in our precious rivers!

 

 

Holiday gifts that protect our environment

Looking for the perfect gift for the nature lover in your life this holiday season? Gift your loved ones or friends some MountainTrue Hellbender swag! Proceeds fund MountainTrue’s work to protect the places we share in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Act now before they’re gone! *No items will be mailed between December 22, 2023 and January 2, 2024 – please plan accordingly. 

 

 

New gov’t program offers renewable energy tax credits for low-income communities

The Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program is now accepting applications. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) established the program under section 48(e), which was added to the Internal Revenue Code by the Inflation Reduction Act, to promote cost-saving clean energy investments in low-income communities, on Indian land, as part of affordable housing developments, and benefitting low-income households. The program prioritizes:

  • Increased adoption of and access to renewable energy facilities in underserved and environmental justice communities.
  • Encouraging new market participants.
  • Providing substantial benefits to underserved communities and individuals who have been historically marginalized from economic opportunities and overburdened by environmental impacts.

Click here to learn more about the program, access helpful resources, and apply.

 

 

Registration is open for the 2024 CCA Retreat & Symposium

MountainTrue’s faith-based program, the Creation Care Alliance (CCA) is happy to announce its 2024 Winter Retreat & Symposium, Sacred Symbiosis: Relationships for Eco-Justice! Hosted at Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, the symposium will begin on Friday, February 2, and will run through Saturday, February 3. The presentations, workshops, and conversations will explore the relationships needed to build and nurture justice for all. We can’t wait to dive in and learn together, and we’re particularly excited to hear from this year’s keynote speaker, Mary Crow, of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). Learn more + register here. Early-bird pricing (available until December 4), group and student discounts, and scholarships are available.

Southern Region News

A note from Nancy Díaz, Southern Regional Director:

During this month of celebrating gratitude, I want to express my gratitude for each of you for the support and encouragement you’ve given MountainTrue this year. I’ve enjoyed sharing time with you at our Annual Gathering, Broad Riverkeeper Open House, Green Drinks, and other programs this fall. I look forward to renewed engagement in the coming months. If the forest fires around us are any indication, our teamwork in protecting the places we share is crucially important. 

While the days get cooler and we huddle together with family and friends for another holiday season, we want to thank you for being part of our MountainTrue community. We couldn’t keep going without your support.

Celebrate #GivingTuesday at No Man’s Land Film Festival

MountainTrue, Mosaic Realty, and Altura Architects are proud to invite you to No Man’s Land Film Festival (NMLFF) – the premier adventure film festival featuring women, transgender, and gender-fluid adventurers in conservation-focused documentary shorts – at New Belgium’s Brewhouse in Asheville, NC, on Tuesday, November 28. NMLFF is free to attend, and the event will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. The NMLFF in-person screening is first come first serve, so be sure to arrive early to get your seats! 

We’re proud to partner with Cold Spring Basecamp and Second Gear to offer an exciting prize for our 2023 NMLFF raffle! One lucky winner will win a $100 gift card to Second Gear, Asheville’s outdoor adventure gear consignment store, and a two-night stay at Cold Spring Base Camp, where adventure potential is endless on this beautiful 38-acre property in Zirconia, NC.  Cold Spring Base Camp is the jumping-off point for biking, hiking, paddling, zip lining, exploring waterfalls, or just enjoying time spent camping, glamping, or relaxing above the forest floor in a treehouse (option coming soon)! 

Join the MountainTrue team: Healthy Communities Spring 2024 internship​

The Healthy Communities intern will work with Healthy Communities Program Director Chris Joyell to research issues involving housing, transportation, land use controls and health, and assist in engaging communities in designing their future. Our work is rooted in the principles of Smart Growth, and we encourage prospective interns to familiarize themselves with these principles prior to engaging with us. A background in design and/or planning is preferred, but students studying health, environmental management, geography/GIS, and economics have also found their niche in our program. This position offers flexible start and end dates and will be based out of our Asheville or Hendersonville offices (though much of the work can be done remotely). Click here to learn more + apply by November 30, 2023!

 

December Hendersonville Green Drinks

Join us at Trailside Brewing Co. on Thursday, December 14, in Hendersonville, NC. During this event, titled Considering Tradeoffs: A Growth & Development Mapping Exercise, City Planning Staff will lead participants through a mapping exercise where they’ll be tasked to balance housing growth and economic development with choices related to transportation, quality of life and conservation. Participants will have to earn points to unlock game pieces and strive to avoid “raising taxes” in order to “win” the game. This is an opportunity to help inform the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Gen H. Click here to learn more.

 

Save the date: Holiday Recycling 2024!

Mark your calendars for another tree recycling event: January 6, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jackson Park (801 4th Avenue East, Hendersonville, NC)! As you go out to buy your live trees for the holidays, remember that you’ll be able to bring them to this event and collect mulch for your home gardens and landscaping. Also, are you planning a big appliance purchase for the season? Hold onto that foam! The Henderson County Solid Waste Department will be collecting foam to be recycled at the foam densifier.

Photo: Folks pose for a group photo at the Broad Riverkeeper Open House on October 26 in Shelby, NC.

A message from Broad Riverkeeper David Caldwell:

We were blessed to have a big group of volunteers, supporters, and new friends join us for the Broad Riverkeeper Open House at the Biz Hub in Shelby last month! Michael Cheng served burgers on his homemade flatbread, along with delicious sides and brews from Newgrass Brewing Co. MountainTrue staff presented the victories and challenges here in the Broad River watershed. Your support keeps us working to champion clean water, resilient forests, and healthy communities!

Southern Region volunteer appreciation event

We had a great time celebrating our wonderful Southern Region volunteers at Trailside Brewing Co. earlier this month! So much of our Clean Water program relies on year-round support from our volunteer efforts and we couldn’t do this work without them. Thank you to our river cleanup, SMIE (Stream Monitoring Information Exchange), and VWIN (Volunteer Water Information Network) volunteers for keeping our Clean Water program going strong — y’all are the best!

Want to learn more about our volunteer programs? Contact Green Riverkeeper and Watershed Outreach Coordinator Erica Shanks at erica@mountaintrue.org.

Photo: (from left to right) MountainTrue Development and Engagement Manager Amy Finkler; Green Riverkeeper & Watershed Outreach Coordinator Erica Shanks; French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson; Watershed Science & Policy Manager Anna Alsobrook and her sweet pup, Poppy; and Southern Regional Director Nancy Díaz pose for a photo at the November 9 event.

Photos: (left) Tracey Baker battling a tangle of bittersweet at Double Head Knob. (right) Jason York and Pete Dixon removing a thicket of tree of heaven at Murray Branch.

MountainTrue volunteers + habitat restoration

In October, MountainTrue worked at three sites to remove nonnative invasive plants from rare habitats that support dozens of rare plants and animals. All three sites are extremely steep and associated with unusual geology. At Doublehead Knob, volunteers removed thickets of bittersweet engulfing one of the few native grasslands remaining in the mountains. At Rock Knob, volunteers worked to remove Japanese spirea, which is outcompeting numerous rare species — including shooting star — on a “mafic outcrop barren.” The Murray Branch Shale Barren is one of North Carolina’s only shale barrens and is home to plants found nowhere else in the state. Volunteers removed hundreds of tree of heaven stems from the site, and their work revealed the showy blooms of the aromatic aster. MountainTrue will continue stewarding these and other rare ecological communities. If you enjoy working in extremely rugged terrain and would like to volunteer in 2024, email Josh Kelly at josh@mountaintrue.org.

 

 

Green Riverkeeper Erica Shanks on the 2023 Green Race:

The 2023 Green Race did not disappoint! The weather was perfect, water levels were spicy, and the crowd was rowdy! Mostly good lines and fun times for the Green River Narrows race this year. The Green Race is best day of the year down in the Gorge, and I’m always grateful we get to protect a place that brings so many people together to enjoy the magic that Mama Green provides. Not only in this race, but every day to kayakers, hikers, bikers, fisherfolk, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Congrats to everyone who raced and can’t wait for next year!

 

Holiday gifts that protect our environment

Looking for the perfect gift for the nature lover in your life this holiday season? Gift your loved ones or friends some MountainTrue Hellbender swag! Proceeds fund MountainTrue’s work to protect the places we share in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Act now before they’re gone! *No items will be mailed between December 22, 2023 and January 2, 2024 – please plan accordingly. 

Photos: Lawndale Park — the first phase of the Stagecoach Greenway — under construction.

Cleveland County receives support from the Great Trails State Program

Two greenway projects in Cleveland County, NC, recently received big funding: $2,000,000 to the City of Shelby in Cleveland County for Rails to Trails projects and $1,000,000 to Cleveland County Water for the Stagecoach Greenway Recreation Trail. The City of Shelby and Cleveland County Water are working hard to open these new greenspaces for all of us to enjoy! 

The Great Trails State Program, funded with $12.5 million each year for two years, is a competitive grant program for new trail development and extension of existing trails, including paved trails, greenways, and natural surface trails for biking, hiking, walking, equestrian use, and paddling. The fund is administered by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

 

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Buncombe, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania, and Yancey counties, as well as several other counties across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

 

New gov’t program offers renewable energy tax credits for low-income communities

The Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program is now accepting applications. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) established the program under section 48(e), which was added to the Internal Revenue Code by the Inflation Reduction Act, to promote cost-saving clean energy investments in low-income communities, on Indian land, as part of affordable housing developments, and benefitting low-income households. The program prioritizes:

  • Increased adoption of and access to renewable energy facilities in underserved and environmental justice communities.
  • Encouraging new market participants.
  • Providing substantial benefits to underserved communities and individuals who have been historically marginalized from economic opportunities and overburdened by environmental impacts.

Click here to learn more about the program, access helpful resources, and apply.

 

Registration is open for the 2024 CCA Retreat & Symposium

MountainTrue’s faith-based program, the Creation Care Alliance (CCA) is happy to announce its 2024 Winter Retreat & Symposium, Sacred Symbiosis: Relationships for Eco-Justice! Hosted at Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, the symposium will begin on Friday, February 2, and will run through Saturday, February 3. The presentations, workshops, and conversations will explore the relationships needed to build and nurture justice for all. We can’t wait to dive in and learn together, and we’re particularly excited to hear from this year’s keynote speaker, Mary Crow, of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). Learn more + register here. Early-bird pricing (available until December 4), group and student discounts, and scholarships are available.

Western Region News

A note from Callie Moore, Western Regional Director:

It was good to see those of you who journeyed to Asheville last month for our 2023 Annual Gathering! We realize it was a busy fall weekend, and you could’ve spent your Saturday afternoon in many ways. Special thanks to Katherine Taaffe of Murphy, NC, who represented the Western Region well during MountainTrue’s very first Jeopardy game! Those of you who already have your calendars can save the date of September 14, 2024, for next year’s event. 

The days are getting shorter and cooler, and November marks the season of gratitude as we gather with family and friends for another holiday season. November is also Native American Heritage Month. Designated in 1990, Native American Heritage Month honors the many historic and present cultures, traditions, and achievements of Indigenous Peoples and their ancestors who have stewarded this land for tens of thousands of years. If you’re looking for ways to observe the occasion locally, I personally recommend the Museum of the Cherokee People in Cherokee, NC. Cherokee offers many other ways to experience, honor, and celebrate the Cherokee People; click here to plan your visit! 

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter this month and for being MountainTrue!

Nominations are open for the Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award​

Each year at our Watershed Gala, we present the Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award to honor the person or group that has done the most to advance the mission of sustaining good water quality in the upper Hiwassee River watershed. The award is named after Bill Holman because of his persistent, constructive leadership, accomplishments, and sincere commitment to the environment and clean water throughout his career. Submit your nominations by December 6, 2023. Read more about the Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award, see a list of past recipients, and submit your nominations here. And mark your calendars for next year’s Gala set for February 29, 2024!

Western Region Volunteer of the Year award presented at Annual Gathering

MountainTrue congratulates Jonathan Micancin, winner of the 2023 Western Region Volunteer of the Year award. Jonathan taught courses in conservation biology, ecology, environmental science, and related topics at Young Harris College (YHC) from 2019-2023. As soon as he arrived at YHC, Jonathan took the lead on MountainTrue’s Corn Creek Riparian Restoration Project. He involved his students in all aspects of the work, organizing volunteer workdays to remove nonnative invasive plants and plant native ones in the streamside corridor. Last fall, he started working with YHC to transition the plants in its landscaping to native trees and shrubs, again having his students create the plans and help implement them. They bought many plants through our Fall Native Tree & Shrub sale fundraiser. Jonathan and his students also studied the behavioral ecology, evolution, and conservation of cryptic amphibians. They discovered the decline of southern cricket frogs in the Southeast, extended the known range of Collinses’ mountain chorus frog in Georgia, and studied rare and imperiled Appalachian salamanders. Thank you for all your work to protect and improve Southern Appalachian biodiversity and support MountainTrue’s mission, Jonathan!

Photo: Callie Moore presents the 2023 Western Region Volunteer of the Year award to Jonathan Micancin.

Photo: Streambank restoration work was completed in mid-October along the Tuckasegee River at Bryson City’s Island Park.

Habitat restoration work continues at Bryson City’s Island Park​

MountainTrue and the Town of Bryson City recently completed a project to re-grade and stabilize eroding banks at Island Park on the Tuckasegee River. An area at the upstream end of the island where a portion of an old stone wall had broken apart and fallen into the river was also restored. MountainTrue received a grant from the North Carolina Land & Water Fund for the restoration work. The Town of Bryson City, MountainTrue, volunteers, and Wildlands Engineering all provided matching funds for the project. Read more about this multi-year project to restore habitat at Island Park on the MountainTrue blog. 

 

Cleaning up the Lake Chatuge shoreline

The 13th Annual Lake Chatuge Shoreline Cleanup was one for the books! This year, 48 volunteers picked up 1,050 pounds of trash from lakeside public lands on both sides of the state line. The 13-year total is now 15.5 tons of trash. Thanks to everyone who participated, and extra gratitude to Tennessee Valley Authority for sponsoring the event. Also, the US Forest Service, Blue Ridge Ranger District, Towns County Government, and Clay County Parks and Recreation for transporting the trash to appropriate disposal sites. We especially appreciate the participation of the Rotary Club of Lake Chatuge-Hiawassee again this year, as well as several students from Young Harris College.

Photos: (left) Native aquatic plants behind the pickleball courts in Towns County, GA. (right) Invasive parrot feather.

Speaking of Lake Chatuge, not all weeds are parrot feather!

Word is spreading fast about parrot feather — the invasive aquatic plant infesting the southernmost headwaters of Lake Chatuge. While this is a serious issue for the relatively small portion of the lake affected, it’s important to remember that there are several native and beneficial aquatic plants in Lake Chatuge, which fish and other aquatic life rely on for food and cover from predators. Lake Chatuge is a great lake for fishing; part of the reason is because of its native aquatic plants. If people have concerns about a weed they see in the lake, they should contact MountainTrue Western Region Program Coordinator Tony Ward at tony@mountaintrue.org or 828-837-5414 ext. 3 and he’ll help get it correctly identified. And in case you missed it last month, click here to read our blog post about the recommendations for controlling parrot feather.

Celebrate #GivingTuesday at No Man’s Land Film Festival

MountainTrue, Mosaic Realty, and Altura Architects are proud to invite you to No Man’s Land Film Festival (NMLFF) – the premier adventure film festival featuring women, transgender, and gender-fluid adventurers in conservation-focused documentary shorts – at New Belgium’s Brewhouse in Asheville, NC, on Tuesday, November 28. NMLFF is free to attend, and the event will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. The NMLFF in-person screening is first come first serve, so be sure to arrive early to get your seats! 

We’re proud to partner with Cold Spring Basecamp and Second Gear to offer an exciting prize for our 2023 NMLFF raffle! One lucky winner will win a $100 gift card to Second Gear, Asheville’s outdoor adventure gear consignment store, and a two-night stay at Cold Spring Base Camp, where adventure potential is endless on this beautiful 38-acre property in Zirconia, NC.  Cold Spring Base Camp is the jumping-off point for biking, hiking, paddling, zip lining, exploring waterfalls, or just enjoying time spent camping, glamping, or relaxing above the forest floor in a treehouse (option coming soon)! 

Holiday gifts that protect our environment

Looking for the perfect gift for the nature lover in your life this holiday season? Gift your loved ones or friends some MountainTrue Hellbender swag! Proceeds fund MountainTrue’s work to protect the places we share in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Act now before they’re gone! *No items will be mailed between December 22, 2023 and January 2, 2024 – please plan accordingly. 

 

 

Septic system repair grants available for qualifying property owners

MountainTrue has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local health departments to provide septic system repair grants to qualifying property owners in Cherokee County and others across WNC. Residents of rural areas outside of town are highly likely to have onsite septic systems. Problems with septic systems usually arise as systems age or when maintenance is neglected. Cherokee County is being prioritized because a long stretch of the Valley River is not safe for swimming due to bacterial contamination and leaking septic systems in older neighborhoods has been identified as one part of the problem. Macon County is also being prioritized based on new Swim Guide data in the Little Tennessee River in Franklin. Property owners: review eligibility requirements and apply for the repair program here.

 

 

New gov’t program offers renewable energy tax credits for low-income communities

The Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program is now accepting applications. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) established the program under section 48(e), which was added to the Internal Revenue Code by the Inflation Reduction Act, to promote cost-saving clean energy investments in low-income communities, on Indian land, as part of affordable housing developments, and benefitting low-income households. The program prioritizes:

  • Increased adoption of and access to renewable energy facilities in underserved and environmental justice communities.
  • Encouraging new market participants.
  • Providing substantial benefits to underserved communities and individuals who have been historically marginalized from economic opportunities and overburdened by environmental impacts.

Click here to learn more about the program, access helpful resources, and apply. 

 

 

Registration is open for the 2024 CCA Retreat & Symposium

MountainTrue’s faith-based program, the Creation Care Alliance (CCA) is happy to announce its 2024 Winter Retreat & Symposium, Sacred Symbiosis: Relationships for Eco-Justice! Hosted at Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, the symposium will begin on Friday, February 2, and will run through Saturday, February 3. The presentations, workshops, and conversations will explore the relationships needed to build and nurture justice for all. We can’t wait to dive in and learn together, and we’re particularly excited to hear from this year’s keynote speaker, Mary Crow, of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). Learn more + register here. Early-bird pricing (available until December 4), group and student discounts, and scholarships are available.